Our Voice: Bureaucracy bogs down decision on Keystone XL oil pipeline

Farm Forum

The latest news on the Keystone XL pipeline isn’t news at all, but more of the same old, same old.

The pipeline is delayed yet again.

TransCanada Corp. announced last week that the pipeline, which runs from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, will be operational months later than expected, according to The Associated Press. The price tag will also balloon past its current $5.3 billion estimate.

What is holding the pipeline back? Permitting, of course.

We won’t argue, in this space today, the merits of mining tar sands for oil vs. renewable energy sources, and we won’t suggest this pipeline will have negative or no effects on the environment.

What we will say is that this is yet another example of the U.S. government holding back business by not making decisions.

Recall the end of 2012, when the Production Tax Credit was to expire. That credit, with a wind-energy component for producers, was held off to the point that Aberdeen’s Molded Fiber Glass plant decided to cut back its work force and scale back production.

At the time, we said, right or wrong, make a decision. The hesitation to decide is probably more damaging to all the parties involved than a rejection would be.

It seems that the phrase “it is being studied” has become the ultimate excuse for government efficiency. Study takes time, you see, and who can argue with studying?

Keystone XL has had years of study. If it is a threat to the environment or it will not offer the benefits as advertised, then reject it. It’s that simple.

But no one’s ever accused the government of being too simple.

— American News editorial board