Democrats cheer Keystone pipeline setback, but it could hurt them in … – Los Angeles Times

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders may oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, but that doesn’t mean either potential Democratic presidential nominee wants to be talking about it once their primary is settled.

They are probably breathing a sigh of relief now that White House and State Department officials signaled Tuesday they may not have to.

The Obama administration appears poised to deny a request from developer TransCanada that threatened to drag the deliberation over its proposed oil pipeline into the next administration. The prospect of punting the issue that far into the future and making it a key point of debate during the presidential election worries Democrats.

For Democrats eager to capture key swing states in the Rust Belt and Rockies, Keystone is dangerous. The loud, persistent and growing opposition in Democratic strongholds like California hasn’t taken hold in the parts of the country where the election will be hardest fought. In fact, support for the project remains strong among many of the voters who will be up for grabs next year.

In the swing state of Colorado, opposition to Keystone became an albatross to Sen. Mark Udall, who lost his bid for reelection last year. Other Democrats in swing states – including Virginia and Pennsylvania – decided it would be too politically toxic to stand in the way of an effort in Congress to force approval of the project. They joined Republicans in attempting to override President Obama’s veto.

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