Waxman: Keystone XL 'small' piece of climate puzzle

But green groups have made the Keystone project the centerpiece of recent pressure on Obama to tackle climate change.

Those groups are organizing a Feb. 17 demonstration urging Obama to axe the pipeline, which is under review by the State Department. The White House has final say on the pipeline’s northern leg because it crosses into Canada.

Waxman said he would be “disappointed” if Obama approves the project, but he acknowledged the president has more than just the climate angle to consider.

“I know there are a lot of different factors, including our relationship with Canada, that’s on his mind,” Waxman told reporters.

Some members of Obama’s party have lined up in support of the project as well.

A handful of Senate Democrats joined a group of 53 senators Wednesday that called on Obama to greenlight the project. They said the pipeline would be a boon for the economy in the handful of states along its planned route.

And some unions want the project to go forward, because it could provide jobs for many of their members.

Waxman said he has made his disagreement to the Keystone pipeline known. But he also said he must be practical about the battles he picks.

“Well I should ask you what would you like me to do? Should I say to the president, ‘If you don’t agree with me on Keystone, I’m not going to work with you on solving the climate change issue’? That would be a little bit childish and counterproductive,” Waxman said.