If you see anything different, please let me know. However, so far the only news I have seen on the Keystone pipeline is that President Obama will not sign legislation approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. Even though there are headlines reading that the President is issuing a veto threat, I have not seen anything confirming that the President will not just simply allow legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline to become law without his signature.
Updated Note: Here is video of the WH press secretary’s actual remarks. Notice how he mentions that the president would have vetoed the legislation when it was last put forward. As for this time around- Josh Earnest only said that the president will not sign it.
Man. Gas prices finally drop under $2 a gallon in my neck of the woods, and some lawmakers are already talking about taxing it back above that mark. I’ll get to that story below.
But first, with the GOP taking over control of the US Senate Tuesday- incoming Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is already planning quick action on the Keystone XL Pipeline. (The Keystone pipeline would first enter the United States through Montana…and leave millions of dollars in each of the counties along its path)
Politico’s Morning Energy has this, and adds that Senate Democrats plan to flood the process with amendments:
SENATE FLOORS IT ON KEYSTONE XL: As ME mentioned above, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski is moving quickly on the pipeline. Her committee will hold a hearing this Wednesday, with testimony coming from Association of Oil Pipe Lines President Andrew Black, Greg Dotson of the Center for American Progress and David Mallino of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. That will be followed with a markup on Thursday morning of legislation approving Keystone XL. It’s identical to the bill that cleared the committee last June, including a provision allowing for the legal issues over the Nebraska route approval process to play out. Here’s the new bill’s text: http://1.usa.gov/1zMgL0r
Also of note:
JEWELL DINGS LOCAL FRACKING BANS: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says localities should not ban fracking because it creates confusion for the industry. “I would say that is the wrong way to go,” Jewell told the radio station KQED. “I think it’s going to be very difficult for industry to figure out what the rules are if different counties have different rules.” Jewell added: “There is a lot of misinformation about fracking… I think that localized efforts or statewide efforts in many cases don’t understand the science behind it and I think there needs to be more science.” KQED: http://bit.ly/1xB64m1
Ravalli Republic: While Keystone XL debate flares, other pipelines quietly progress
Also taking shape this week on Capitol Hill- it appears key leaders are already writing off the effort to see comprehensive tax reform. However; some folks are still talking about raising gas taxes. (Just as the price finally drops below $2 a gallon.)
Fred Barnes had this in The Wall Street Journal: The Obama-McConnell Dance Begins
On tax reform, the president and Republicans are far apart. The GOP model is the 1986 reform bill, which killed tax preferences and special breaks, broadened the tax base and lowered rates. Mr. McConnell said this year’s version must be revenue-neutral and treat small businesses the same as big companies. If the corporate income-tax rate drops, he said, the rate should also be cut for small business owners taxed as individuals.
Mr. Obama wants to take $1 trillion from tax reform and spend it on infrastructure—that is, he wants a tax increase. But he appears to understand that this won’t fly. “I think an all-Democratic Congress would have provided an even better opportunity for tax reform,” he said in his year-end news conference. It would have if raising taxes is your goal.
Is there a middle ground? Both sides want to repair roads and bridges. One way is to raise the federal gas tax, currently 18.4 cents a gallon. Mr. McConnell says no. “We all know we’re not going to pass a gas-tax increase,” he told me. So much for the supposedly easy-to-negotiate issues.
And here’s what The Hill reported in their Sunday show wrapup:
NJ Dem’s advice to Obama: Veto Keystone Schumer said he would urge a veto even if Democrats are able to make amendments. http://ow.ly/GLsp0
GOP senator leaves wiggle room on gas tax “I don’t favor increasing any tax,” Thune said. “But I think we have to look at all options.” http://ow.ly/GLreX