I Was Wrong about Obama and the Keystone Pipeline

I Was Wrong about Obama and the Keystone Pipeline February 25, 2015

For several years, as the Obama administration kept kicking the Keystone pipeline can down the road, I said over and over again that there’s no way in hell he doesn’t approve the pipeline. I was sure he was just waiting until after the election to do it. Turns out I was absolutely wrong:

President Barack Obama on Tuesday swiftly delivered on his vow to veto a Republican bill approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, leaving the long-debated project in limbo for another indefinite period.

The Senate received Obama’s veto message and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell immediately countered by announcing the Republican-led chamber would attempt to overturn the veto by March 3.

I thought there was no way he would veto it because there’s a big moneyed interest that wants it and no moneyed interest that opposed it. Environmental groups don’t have even a small fraction of the money that the Koch brothers and other oil companies have and that is almost always a reliable predictor of the outcome of a fight over public policy. If there’s big money on one side and not on the other, the big money side wins nearly every time. But apparently not this time, at least not with Obama.

Congress will now try to override his veto, which isn’t entirely farfetched because a lot of centrist Democrats support the project along with virtually every Republican. They don’t need all that many Democrats to buck the president to override the veto. I think the votes will be close but will ultimately fail by a slim margin. But it’s clear I was wrong about Obama. He wasn’t waiting until after the election to green light the pipeline, he was waiting until after the election to kill it.

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