Keystone Put in Hibernation?

I was curious whether the election of Justin Trudeau in Canada might mean the end of the Keystone XL pipeline, since Trudeau holds orthodox views about climate change. But no—he expressed his support for Keystone, which means he isn’t going to let the Obama Administration off the hook for its shameful disrespect for our northern neighbor and largest trading partner.

Yesterday TransCanada asked the U.S. government to suspend its review of the Keystone permit application, citing the need for “more time” for Nebraska to sort out its local controversy over the route the pipeline should take. Surely the real reason is that TransCanada understand that the only prospect for approval of the pipeline is a Republican president in 2017. The Wall Street Journal gives away the real reason in a paragraph buried down in the body of the story:

TransCanada’s move comes as the State Department was in the final stages of review, with a decision to reject the permit expected as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the matter.

The State Department had previously concluded that there would be no adverse environmental impact from Keystone (because that oil is going to go somewhere—probably with higher total greenhouse gas emissions because of more difficult train and tanker transport), but because of the slavishness of liberals to rich environmentalists, they’ve had to force the State Department to reverse course and find against the pipeline. The Journal reminds us of this with a handy timeline:

  • Oct. 15, 2010: Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the administration was “inclined” to approve the pipeline, comments that galvanized environmentalists to protest.
  • Aug. 26, 2011: The State Department released its first final environmental review of the project, concluding it wouldn’t add significant amounts of greenhouse-gas emissions to the atmosphere.

But once the permit has been denied, subsequently reviving the permit may pose additional legal challenges. Better to halt now in hopes of a more sensible administration a year from now.

Exit question: How is it that liberals won’t support something called “Trans”Canada?