To be sure, $2.4 billion is a lot of money. You could cancel a lot of gas plants for $2.4 billion. And all of this was for nothing. Do you think there might be something wrong with a “process” that takes eight years and sucks up the energy and hopes of hundreds or thousands of people, in order to reach a purely negative conclusion? Does it occur to anyone that something that sounds so clinical and neutral as an “environmental review process” is actually neither clinical nor neutral? Do people realize that behind the cogs and cogitations, it is just a political stage show, an act during which politicians can temporize and equivocate?

An environmental review process is an organized procrastination

Does the'cog' here mean 'one of a series of teeth' or 'cogwheel'? What about the 'cogitation'? Does it mean 'pondering' here? Then how should I deduce the meaning from the combination of the 'cogs and cogitations' here?

  • As a small addition to the answers already given, it's common to use the turning of cogs in a machine as a metaphor for thinking deeply about something, so in addition to being poetic it has a double meaning as well. It's actually quite a clever phrase to use here. Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 9:47

3 Answers 3


Cogs are parts of a machinery which are interlocked and turn, causing other cogs to turn which at some point produces an output. The gears in an analog watch would be considered cogs. So the author is not referring to the teeth in the cogs, but the turning of the cogs themselves, which can turn slowly.

The wheels of justice turn slowly.

The author may be using cogitations since it is reflective of the word cogs (both start with "cog"). The pondering, the thinking, and the to-ing and fro-ing would all be part of the machinations of the cogs (decision making process) which turned while the Keystone Pipeline was under consideration.


"cogs" is a reference to

"the perpetual motion machine of the review process"

in the previous paragraph. The author is very poetic and "cogs and cogitations" is used because the words start and end the same. "Cog" is a "cogwheel", the machine will have many of these. "Cogitation" means "deep thinking" which will also take a long time.


Cogitation is a process whereby electricity is sucked in through the ears and discharged back to the atmosphere by the hair follicles.

enter image description here

  • Is it a scientific fact or metaphorical description?
    – whitecap
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 18:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .