Bet on Obama backing the Keystone XL pipeline: John Dizard.

In the FT: “Many, if not most, of the headline-dominating Washington political fights are less significant than they appear to be. ….However, the fight between TransCanada, the sponsor of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from the Alberta tar sands to the US Gulf coast, and the North American environmental movement is a lot of noise about a very important matter.”  “And Keystone XL’s fate really does rest in the hands of one man, President Barack Obama, who gets to decide whether its construction is allowed to proceed. Mind you, he seems to be one very suggestible man. ….The tar sands have high fixed costs, but don’t deplete as rapidly as even the best conventional oilfields. Given that much, if not all, the remainder could be covered by Mexico and other western-hemisphere exporters, the US would face much less demanding military requirements to secure its sea lines of communication – as in defence budget, current account and reserve currency sustainability.
Against that view, which appeals to the strategy and finance freaks, the most committed opponents among the enviros contend that Keystone XL will lead to an irreversible US commitment to a carbon-fuelled economy. I had thought that was sensationalism pour la galerie, but now I think they have a point. ….If the president or John Kerry, the US secretary of state, really wanted to drag this out for a couple of years, they could. The president, however, has told the (largely pro-pipeline) congressional leadership that they will have his decision by the end of the year. Political leaders can change their minds, but even those enviro-activist lawyers who would like a drawn-out process believe that the presidential decision is likely to come in months, not a year. ….Goodbye permanent carrier task force in the Indian Ocean; we’ll find out how those climate models work over a longer term.”