Sunday, November 23, 2014

WAPO Calls Out Obama on Keystone Lies

Glenn Kessler, the so-called "fact checker" for the Washington Post has awarded the Preznit three Pinocchios for his statements on the Keystone XL pipeline, on or around the time the Senate failed to bail out soon to be ex-Senator Mary Landrieu. Specifically he objected to the repeated statements that the oil brought to the Gulf by the pipeline would not be used in the US, and would be exported:
“I won’t hide my opinion about this, which is that one major determinant of whether we should approve a pipeline shipping Canadian oil to world markets, not to the United States, is does it contribute to the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change?” – President Obama, news conference at G-20 summit, Brisbane, Australia, Nov. 16, 2014

“Understand what this project is. It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else.” – Obama, news conference, Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 14

Twice during his recent overseas trip, President Obama asserted that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline was designed to take Canadian crude oil to the world markets. The implication of the president’s words is that the United States would be simply a conveyor belt for the oil.
Sounds pretty unequivocal to me. Glenn goes on to show rather convincingly that the US would export approximately half the oil products (primarily diesel), while importing some from Europe, primarily gasoline.

It turns out the US uses a higher proportion of gasoline to diesel than Europe, so when oil is refined in the US, we have diesel fuel to spare, while Europe, which relies more on diesel, has gasoline to spare. In other words a fair exchange.
In other words, at least half of the oil that is refined on the Gulf Coast stays in the United States. Market conditions could change, of course, but there is little basis to claim that virtually all of the product would be exported. (The Fact Checker has previously noted that, contrary to the claims of advocates of the project, Keystone XL is unlikely to have much impact on gasoline prices.)
Now, given that the Preznit has the entire resources of the federal government at his disposal to get his facts right, I'm inclined to hold him to the strict interpretation of his words, and say that he knowingly flat out lied. But of course, being a liberal shill, Glenn couldn't quite make it that far:
The president seriously overstates the percentage of Canadian crude that might be exported if the Keystone XL pipeline is built. He suggests all of it would be exported, without mentioning that it first would almost certainly stop on the Gulf Coast to be refined into products. On top of that, current trends suggest that about half of that refined product would be exported. That is not insubstantial, but it is certainly much smaller than 100 percent.

All of this is laid out in the extensive report issued by the State Department earlier this year. The president might want to study it before he addresses the Keystone question again. In the meantime, he earns Three Pinocchios. We nearly made it Four Pinocchios, but it is correct that at least some of the product would be exported, based on current market conditions.
I wonder if he will give the next Republican he grades the same latitude with the facts.

Just kidding, of course.

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