AP Howler: Admin's Good Friday Timing of Latest Keystone Pipeline Delay a 'Surprise'

April 19th, 2014 1:36 AM

It either doesn't take much to surprise Josh Lederman and Dana Capiello at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, or they have very short memories.

The AP pair described the Obama State Department's Friday afternoon statement (roughly 3:30 p.m., based on the "9 hours ago" result returned in a Google search on the document's title at 12:30 a.m. ET) that it would "provide more time" for eight federal agencies involved to submit "their views on the proposed Keystone Pipeline Project" as a "a surprise announcement Friday as Washington was winding down for Easter." It's as if something like this has never happened before during the Obama administration. Well, yes it has.

I rather quickly found four examples of Friday or end of business week announcements relating to the Keystone project alone.

Earlier this year, on the Friday before the virtual secular holiday known as the Super Bowl, the State Department released its "Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement" on the project.

On Friday, June 15, 2012, TransCanada, the company which may build the pipeline if it doesn't eventually walk out in disgust, "responded to the U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) announcement today regarding its process and timeline for a final decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline." At that point, according to the release, State said that "they expect to make a decision on the project by the first quarter of 2013."

On Thursday afternoon before the Friday Veteran's Day holiday in 2011, State announced that its review process "could be completed as early as the first quarter of 2013" — the first evidence that the administration had decided to punt on Keystone until after the 2012 presidential election.

On Friday, August 26, 2011, State released what was then thought to be "its final environmental impact assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline."

The wire service should really be putting extra people on standby on Friday afternoons, especially those occurring before holiday weekends, to accommodate all of these "surprise" document dumps from State and other government agencies.

Here are a few paragraphs from the AP pair's report:



The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely.

In a surprise announcement Friday as Washington was winding down for Easter, the State Department said federal agencies will have more time to weigh in on the politically fraught decision - but declined to say how much longer. Officials said the decision will have to wait for the dust to settle in Nebraska, where a judge in February overturned a state law that allowed the pipeline's path through the state.

... President Barack Obama will almost surely have until after the November congressional elections to make the final call about whether the pipeline carrying oil from Canada should be built.

Approving the pipeline before the election would rankle Obama's allies and donors in the environmental community, but nixing it could be politically damaging to vulnerable Democrats running this year in conservative-leaning areas.

"This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable," said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, who faces a difficult re-election in oil-rich Louisiana. Landrieu said Obama was signaling that a small minority can tie up the process in the courts, sacrificing 42,000 jobs and billions in economic activity.

In an ironic show of bipartisanship, Republicans joined Landrieu and other Democrats like Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska in immediately condemning the announcement ...

Other than living in a hermetically sealed partisan Beltway bubble, there's really no reason why the AP pair would have called the bipartisan support for Keystone "ironic" ("coincidental; unexpected"). Plenty of Democrats in organized labor and in oil-industry states want the project to move forward. Based on its conduct, it's more than reasonable to believe that the Obama administration doesn't, and just won't admit it.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.