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Copy_of_KeystoneXL_Map_hd_2-0x600[1]From Environmental & Energy Reporter, it sounds like Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) is engaging in bad dealmaking on Keystone XL:

A Democratic source confirmed that the state's junior senator, Michael Bennet, is one of several lawmakers involved in "informal bicameral, bipartisan discussions on a common-sense path forward to pass the Senate version of the transportation bill."

The pipeline "has been a part of that conversation, along with several clean energy provisions that might be coupled as a package to build the necessary consensus to pass a long-term transportation bill," this source added, speaking candidly on the condition of anonymity in order to address the sensitive and still-evolving discussions. While the specific clean-energy items that could pass as part of any deal remain unclear, the production tax credit for wind and solar is significant to Colorado's economy and boasts bipartisan support.

On a simplistic surface, the rationale is obvious: Republicans want Keystone XL, Democrats want the wind and solar production tax credits, so let's make a deal! However, it would be a horrible deal for both political and policy reasons.

Politically, it's a trade of highly dubious value. A number of Republicans, from Steve King in Iowa to the odious Karl Rove, have been calling for an extension of the tax credit, regardless of a Keystone deal.  The renewable energy industry is close to critical mass in Iowa and a handful of states outside California - too many jobs will be lost if the tax credit isn't extended, and politicians know this. In addition, there's been a general sense among Democrats that Republicans would rather score cheap political talking point by complaining about Keystone XL than actually, you know, building anything.

Trading Keystone XL for tax credits is an even worse deal from a policy point of view. Keystone XL will engage the carbon bomb of the Alberta tarsands. The tax credit is essential for jobs, but it won't defuse the bomb.

Solar entrepenueur Jigar Shah, a fierce advocate for for-profit solutions to the climate crisis and thus a fierce advocate for tax credits, tweets to me, when I ask him his thoughts on a Keystone-for-tax credits swap:

absolutely not, keystone needs to be stopped. Wind and ‪#solar‬ can succeed without federal incentives in 2016
Colorado folk who'd like to see a smarter deal should call:
Senator Bennet's DC office phone: (202) 224-5852
Denver office phone: (303) 455-7600
Or toll free: (866) 455-9866

Dear Senator Bennet: we want the Production Tax Credit for wind and solar extended, but we don't want you to horsetrade approval of Keystone XL to do it. Say no to Keystone AND yes to renewable energy.

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