Adam Sieminski, who was administrator of the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration under President Obama, says with a laugh that now he's left the government, he can have an opinion again. On the sidelines of a Brookings Institution confab in D.C. on Monday, he told Axios:
One opinion I don't have to stifle anymore is that I think the Keystone XL pipeline should have been built.
Why it matters now: With Republicans in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, some Democrats might find it more politically possible to take positions that go counter to certain liberal causes, such as opposing fossil-fuel infrastructure like Keystone, which could lead to more bipartisan energy policy.
Our thought bubble: During the seven-year Keystone XL saga (which ultimately led Obama to reject it in November 2015), many Obama administration officials privately said the fight was a distraction and the pipeline should be approved. In the end though, symbolic climate politics won out over pragmatic energy policy.