Prospects for the on-again, off-again pipeline for bringing Canadian oil to Gulf Coast refineries took another turn for the worse this week, with more red tape blocking its path.
The pipeline route has been changed to meet environmental objections, and the State Department has provisionally found that remaining risks are relatively minor.
But on Monday the Environmental Protection Agency revived its feud with the State Department over the pipeline’s environmental impact, potentially putting President Obama in the politically painful position of having ultimately to make the decision.
Mr. Obama should recognize the importance of improving reliable access to oil that does not come from a global trouble spot. Moreover, the economic benefits in jobs and investment from the $7 billion construction project are substantial.
The State Department has signaled that it is ready to approve a license for the international pipeline. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency again finds fault with the State Department’s reasoning.
The EPA contends that the State Department hasn’t sufficiently examined the potential effect on climate change.
The pipeline proposal, strongly opposed by environmental groups, has been under review since 2008.
If the pipeline to the Gulf is blocked, the likelihood is that oil sands will be transported by Canada to refineries elsewhere — China, for example. Or they could be transported to U.S. refineries by train.
Last year, President Obama declared his enthusiastic support at the groundbreaking of another pipeline being built from Cushing, Okla., to the Gulf.
“Now, right now, a company called TransCanada has applied to build a new pipeline to speed more oil from Cushing to state-of-the-art refineries down on the Gulf Coast. And today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.”
Mr. Obama should give the Keystone XL pipeline similar support to finally “get it done.”