Congressional Republicans ensured the death of the Keystone XL pipeline. By forcing Obama to decide on granting a permit within 60 days, they made it impossible to re-route the pipeline in a way that Nebraska lawmakers would find less unacceptable than the original route. Republicans did this to make an election point. On that front, I’m a little bit worried. With gas prices rising again, discontent could rise too and even though Keystone would mean nothing for gas prices in the short term, the president and his political party always suffer. On the other hand, gas was high 4 years ago and people are slowly accepting this new reality, Michelle Bachmann’s laughable pledge to get gas back to $2 notwithstanding.
So this is a pretty big victory for those trying to move us to a cleaner energy future, those opposed to massive pollution and those fighting climate change. Of course, others are upset about this. David Frum has an odd column bemoaning its failure, saying that environmentalists shouldn’t celebrate and that we need to build our way to the future, not deny permits. Yglesias retweeted this column with full his full approval: “What @davidfrum said.” You mean denying this one permit isn’t going to halt climate change and isn’t the final answer to all our energy questions? Who knew! Frum might be right that we need some carbon taxes, but it is an absolute environmental victory to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.