OTHER VOICES

Fast-track pipeline process

Posted Jan. 29, 2012, at 5:19 p.m.

President Barack Obama’s recent rejection of the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas certainly won’t be the last word on the project, and even Democrats are supporting the pipeline’s eventual approval.

Obama rejected the 1,700-mile pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, through parts of six states en route to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast because there was not enough time to complete a needed environmental review of changes made to the project’s route. TransCanada Corp. is making changes to the route to avoid environmentally sensitive areas in Nebraska, but the proposed changes have not been presented yet.

It’s easy to say, but politics should be set aside in this discussion. The Obama administration is seeking to put off a final decision until after the November election, a time frame that is unacceptable, while Republicans are upset about Obama postponing thousands of good-paying construction jobs.

We hope everyone realizes that the pipeline is in the country’s best interest.

Let’s let the company resubmit the changes, do the environmental study as quickly as possible, and get this project back on track before the November election.

Minot (N.D.) Daily News (Jan. 26)

Bizarre campaigning

It’s a strange state of affairs when a political candidate cannot control the campaigning that is done on his behalf and he is barred by law from directly trying to assert control.

The ads that have made the biggest news in the 2012 presidential-nomination campaign haven’t been paid for by the candidates themselves; they’ve been produced by independent-expenditure committees, commonly called super PACs (for political action committee). …

The PACs and their ads, which have been accused in several instances of presenting false information, illustrate that federal campaign-finance restrictions implemented decades ago and tweaked repeatedly over the years are producing increasingly bizarre results.

This month, Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich used an Orlando campaign speech to call on a super PAC called Winning Our Future to either fix or scrap a 29-minute video it had made criticizing rival Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. Gingrich, who earlier had sworn off attack ads, said this was the only way he had of addressing concerns raised about the video since he was not allowed by campaign-finance laws to contact the group directly.

If all campaign contributions passed from donors directly to candidates in the cold light of day, citizens could factor that information into their decisions at the polling booth. And the buck would stop with the candidate, not some faceless PAC, if campaign ads made claims that are untrue.

The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch (Jan. 26)

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