Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Obama Kills Keystone Pipeline

Forced to chose between his base support among union employees working for private enterprise (as opposed to public employee unions) and environmental extremist, President Obama came down sharply on the side of the environmental lobby and denied permission to build the Keystone Pipeline, intended to bring oil from Alberta oil sands to the the US Gulf Coast for refining and sale.  
In a decision that quickly re-ignited a fierce energy debate, the Obama administration on Wednesday rejected the controversial Keystone XL pipeline because the 60-day deadline imposed by Republicans did not allow adequate time to review an alternate route through an ecologically sensitive area in Nebraska.

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns made the announcement on President Obama's behalf on the project that would carry oil from Canada's carbon-heavy tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast. TransCanada, the company seeking to build the $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline, will be able to reapply with a new route avoiding an ecologically sensitive area of Nebraska, sources told National Journal.

Put more simply, the Obama administration hit back at Republicans by saying no because of their forcing him to decide on the project in just 60 days. Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail promptly painted the decision as a rejection of thousands of American jobs purely for political reasons.
The pipeline is estimated to produce about 250,000 jobs, many of them permanent. The Canadians were happy to sell the oil, and many of us, dare I say most of us? were more than happy to buy it. As for Obama's argument that there wasn't sufficient time to evaluate it, lets review the record:

In August,  the State Department gave the pipeline the go ahead:
State Department official Kerri-Ann Jones said the report concludes there would be “no significant impacts to most resources along the proposed pipeline corridor,” according to a transcript of a press conference.
Protests immediately broke out among the environmental zealots, including James Hansen and Daryl Hannah, largely over the issue of CO2.  CO2 which will be produced  regardless of who buys the oil. In fact, if China buys the oil, the oil will be used less efficiently because of the greater transportation required. 

In November, the State Department "saw the error of its ways", and, under pressure from the Obama Administration and the environmental lobby, decided to re-review the approval:
Harold W. Geisel, the senior official in the inspector general’s office, told top agency officials in a memorandum dated Friday that he would open the review “to determine to what extent the department and all other parties involved complied with federal laws and regulations” relating to the pipeline permit process.
Almost immediately thereafter, as predicted, Obama put off the decision until after the 2012 election, presumably after both the environmentalists and trade unionists had time to support him (or at least not oppose him) for re-election.  Pretty damn convenient.

As part of the recent budget deal, Congress gave the President 60 days to decide on the pipeline, and that is what he is saying is too soon.  It may be too soon for him politically, but in the real world, we don't get to push off doing the work until after the election.  Of course, if he had ever intended it to allow it, he had the means to do so back in August.  To undo the August approval, he was forced to assume corruption in the State Department.  I assume he'll be busy rooting that out....

He is also on record today as saying that unemployment will provide more jobs than the pipeline, proof of Obama's deepest ignorance of economic fundamentals:
"However many jobs might be generated by a Keystone pipeline," he said, "they're going to be a lot fewer than the jobs that are created by extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance."

A Canadian Response:

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