In This Issue:
Energy and Climate Debate; Congress; Administration; Department of Agriculture; Department of Commerce; Department of Energy; Department of Interior; Department of Transportation; Environmental Protection Agency; Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; Fish and Wildlife Service; Personnel; State: International; and Miscellaneous.
Excerpt from Energy and Climate Debate
After concluding the year with little talk about energy, Congress and the Administration have begun 2012 by moving energy issues back into the spotlight.
On January 18, President Obama denied a presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline from Canada to Texas. Due to an agreement made during the end of the year payroll tax cut negotiations, the president faced a February 21 mandated deadline to make a decision on TransCanada Corporation’s permit application to build a $7 billion, 1,700 mile pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. During his announcement, which came earlier than many anticipated, President Obama said that his denial is not based on the merits of the pipeline itself, but on the arbitrary nature of the deadline proposed by congressional republicans. The company will file another application to keep the project going. The Administration announced November 10 that it planned to put off the decision until early 2013, but due to the mandate, the State Department, lead agency in the review process, advised President Obama to reject the permit. Subsequent to the announcement, the Administration submitted a report to Congress explaining that the project is not in the national interest because the 60 day deadline did not provide adequate time for the State Department to gain additional information and conduct the necessary analysis to make a final decision. Senate Republicans, angered with the decision, will likely try to attach Keystone-XL provisions to must-pass bills, like the payroll tax extension. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) and others are drafting a bill that would authorize segmented construction along most of the 1,700-mile route without crossing the border, skirting the issue of presidential approval until the pipeline is a reality on the ground.
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