Obama has long objected to Republicans circumventing a normal federal review process to determine the environmental and economic impact of the pipeline. His argument for the veto all along has been about process—not about the ecological merits of not building the pipeline, as some environmentalists claim. Even if Obama sounded skeptical of pro-Keystone arguments, he's made it clear that his veto is only to stop Republicans from overstepping their congressional authority.What Leber failed to do, however, was to outline where we are in that process the President's veto was meant to protect. So here's a summary:
- In January 2014 the State Department issued a report on the pipeline.
- The State Department then asked for comments on the report from the Departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security and the E.P.A.
- Earlier this month, DoD, Interior and E.P.A. released their comments. It is unclear whether the other departments have responded.
- Once that information has been compiled and studied, Sec. of State John Kerry will make a recommendation to President Obama on whether or not to approve the pipeline.
- President Obama will make a decision on whether or not to approve the pipeline.
Even among those who recognize that the President's veto yesterday is not the end of this story, almost no one is noting step #4 above. President Obama will likely approve whatever Sec. Kerry recommends. Need I remind anyone of John Kerry's commitment to addressing climate change? Nuff said.