The pressure is intensifying in Washington for President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline now that Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved the route through the state, with a bipartisan group of 53 senators sending a letter urging Obama's speedy approval.
-- Joseph Rago writes for the Wall Street Journal: "Well, the full assessment is in. The information has been gathered. On Tuesday Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved a new route. … In other words, over to you, Mr. President. There are no more pretexts for playing both sides of the Keystone debate.
"In corporate America there is a nearly universal sentiment that Mr. Obama was only stalling for time to placate the green lobby, and now that he's safely re-elected, the Keystone permits will materialize. But don't be so sure. The National Resources Defense Council declared that even after the Nebraska flyspecking, approval would still be 'fundamentally inconsistent with the plan to address climate change that the president outlined in his inaugural address.'"
-- "Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) is reading the tea leaves of President Obama’s climate change-heavy inaugural speech and doesn’t like what he sees," Ben German wrote in The Hill's energy and environmental blog. "He fears Obama has 'boxed himself in' on the proposed pipeline to bring Canadian oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, which environmentalists are pressuring the White House to reject."
-- ABCNews' Devin Dwyer said: "For the White House, the issue is a perfect storm of competing interests: the promise of thousands of new construction jobs and potential for cheaper energy, but with stiff opposition from environmental groups that say the pipeline would mean a toxic injection of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and heightened risk of destructive spills."
The conservative environmental group the Sierra Club and 350.org plan a massive demonstration for Feb. 17.
-- "The board of directors of the Sierra Club consider the pipeline so threatening to the globe's climate that it has for the first time ever authorized members to participate in peaceful civil disobedience," the Reason blog's Ronald Bailey reported.
-- Slate's Will Oremus writes: "Now that Nebraska is on board, the choice becomes more stark. Reject the project purely on climate-change grounds and Obama will be pilloried by the right as an environmental extremist, sacrificing the economy at the altar of environmentalism. Approve it and his strong words on climate change will ring empty once again to his supporters on the left."