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No more excuses, Mr. President; approve the Keystone XL pipeline

| Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Now that his own State Department has declared the proposed Keystone XL pipeline a climate “wash,” undercutting environmentalists' objections, President Obama has little choice but to approve its construction. But don't count on any quick decision.

The State Department has a major say because of the project's cross-border nature. While it concludes that the Canadian crude the pipeline would carry — from Alberta tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries — emits more carbon when burned than does crude oil from other sources, it's going to be used with or without the pipeline. And with fiery, often deadly accidents on the rise as producers increasingly ship Canadian crude to refineries via rail, that makes the pipeline a public safety boon.

The report triggered a 90-day comment period before State makes a final recommendation to Mr. Obama, who has final say. But he faces a tricky balancing act among his political backers. Unions, which urge Keystone XL approval for jobs, as do some Senate Democrats facing re-election in energy-producing states, are at odds with environmentalists.

That said, a White House spokesman reminds that the EPA, Department of Energy “and other federal experts” still must weigh in. Sounds like a delay tactic to us.

It's past time for the Obama administration to do what's best for America, building this bridge to a safer, more independent, secure and prosperous energy future. As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in response to the State Department report: “Mr. President, no more stalling — no more excuses.”

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