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Burwell: The Tea Party Faction’s Keystone XL Mistake

The most ironic result of attaching Keystone XL to the transportation bill will be the demise of the tea party’s greatest contribution to good governance — a permanent ban on earmarks. The transportation bill codifies this wise policy into law with zero earmarks allowed.

And if Keystone XL is truly a non-negotiable condition of House approval, the bill is doomed.

This means that the present law, enacted in 2005, will be extended for a 10th time. It contains 6,229 earmarks, more or less, including the famed “Bridge to Nowhere.” States will continue to receive earmarked funds in direct proportion to the number and cost of earmarked projects.

The tea party is endangering these benefits to energy independence, job creation and global competitiveness for a project that will almost certainly be approved within a year pending environmental review of a new pipeline location.

Attaching Keystone XL approval to the transportation bill serves no other purpose than to kill a good transportation reform bill outright.

David Burwell is the director of the energy and climate program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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