Cross-posted from Climate Progress.
Congressional Republicans are sticking to their attempt to force a rushed decision on the controversial Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline. Speaking on Meet the Press yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner called the need for more environmental review “nonsense,” claiming “all the studies have been done.”
As part of a package to extend the payroll tax cut as President Obama requested, Republicans have thrown in a major political and climate bomb — a mandatory 60-day decision on Keystone XL, the proposed 1,700-mile pipeline that would bring energy- and carbon-intensive tar-sands crude from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. The pipeline has been dogged by public backlash after realizations that the environmental review was conducted by a major contractor of TransCanada, the company building the pipeline. The State Department eventually ordered a new environmental review of the project.
But Boehner and his congressional colleagues aren’t interested in what’s best for the environment. They slipped the 60-day mandatory decision into the payroll tax cut bill, knowing full well that the project would be denied. The State Department has said multiple times that the two-month window would be insufficient and would virtually guarantee the project is killed.
“That’s nonsense. David, this has been going on for three years. All the studies are done. It’s gone through every part of the regulatory process,” said Boehner yesterday. (Note: Video starts with a 15-second ad.)
Along with a complete disregard for a sound environmental review process, Boehner continues to spew thoroughly debunked job creation numbers. On Meet the Press, Boehner again claimed that the pipeline would create 20,000 direct jobs — when an independent study from Cornell [PDF] found that it would only create between 2,500 and 4,650 direct jobs. Even TransCanada has downsized its figures, saying that it would create about 6,500 jobs. Boehner’s false claims were left unchallenged in the interview.
However, the fate of this legislation is uncertain — and could be near death. Boehner said yesterday that House Republicans would reject the Senate version of the package, calling for an extension of the payroll tax cut longer than two months. It is unclear if the House and Senate will be able to work through their differences.