White House: Podesta not to join Keystone XL process

Dec 11, 2013

John Podesta, a noted environmentalist who just joined President Obama’s White House advisory team,  will not be part of the decision-making process regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline, according to a spokesman.

For the Keystone XL pipeline project to go through as planned, the executive branch must approve the northern leg, because it crosses an international boundary. The southern leg of the Keystone XL, which passes through Northeast Texas, has just been completed and does not require presidential approval to be operative.

John Podesta just joined President Obama’s staff. A strong advocate of environmental causes, Podesta will be focusing on Environmental Protection Agency policy for the administration. Podesta is a former Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton and most recently led the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.

Podesta will not be involved in the decision on whether to approve the northern leg of the Keystone XL project, according to White House deputy press secretary John Earnest. Podesta reportedly told White house Chief of Staff Denis McDonough that because the review process is almost complete and his views on the issue are well known, it wouldn’t make sense for Podesta to enter the process.

The State Department is finalizing a report on the Keystone XL project. The report is to be used by President Obama to determine whether the pipeline is in the national interest.

TransCanada Corporation, which is building the project, said that it began moving oil through the southern leg of the pipeline last Saturday. The company plans to have the pipeline commercially operative either later this month or in January.