By ELANA SCHOR – 10/14/14 – Politico
The pipeline that launched so many street protests, ad campaigns and political headaches for the White House is increasingly irrelevant in the midterm elections and the energy markets — even for the groups that have fought so hard to either build it or block it.
Neither side will say publicly that the Keystone XL pipeline is less important than it once was. But after Keystone’s three-year rise to the top of Washington’s energy agenda, fueling lobbying and advertising bills well into the tens of millions of dollars, green groups and the oil industry are both moving on.
Environmental groups are happily endorsing pro-Keystone candidates, as long as they support President Barack Obama’s broader agenda of slashing greenhouse gases. Climate activist billionaire Tom Steyer, who’s spending up to $100 million to influence seven Senate and gubernatorial races, has yet to air a Keystone-focused ad in any of them. And oil companies have found plenty of other ways to get Canadian crude into the U.S., even as Keystone enters its sixth year of awaiting a permit from the State Department.
Keystone isn’t even North America’s biggest oil-sands pipeline project anymore. That title now belongs to a project most Americans have never heard of called Energy East, which would bypass the need for U.S. approval by piping Alberta’s heavy crude oil to Canada’s Atlantic provinces.
Essentially, both sides have already won: Keystone is stalled, yet oil is booming.