In January, President Obama rejected the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which was to run from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Texas coast. Environmentalists cheered, but labor, another key Obama constituency, was disappointed, given the thousands of jobs at stake. Republicans blasted Mr. Obama not only over the jobs but also because of the energy that could eventually come onstream for American consumers at a time of high gas prices.
Obama said he rejected the pipeline because a congressional deadline "prevented a full assessment of the pipeline's impact.” The proposed route would have gone through environmentally sensitive parts of Nebraska. On June 15, the State Department announced an environmental review of the new proposed route, with a goal of reaching a decision by next year.
But perhaps Obama could expedite the decision, if he wants to grab headlines by approving the new Keystone route in time for the Nov. 6 election. Approval of Keystone would take away a GOP talking point on energy and jobs. It would also please the labor movement. Environmentalists would be angry, but Obama may be willing to take that gamble.