Obama Plays Politics with Keystone Pipeline

Barb Wire

The Keystone XL would allow up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day into the United States. It would support 42,100 jobs in the United States during the two-year construction period. The polls tells us that 60 percent of Americans support the XL pipeline, while only 30 percent oppose it. Yet Obama refuses to approve it. Here is an excerpt from a post at American.com:

By Kenneth P. Green and Alan W. Dowd

The Obama administration’s approach to the public policy challenge of energy production and consumption ignores three important energy realities.

The Obama administration has been punting a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline for five years now, and there’s no sign the president’s kicking leg is getting tired. At various junctures in this endless drama, the White House has effectively overruled or ignored its own State Department, which in 2011 concluded that the pipeline extension poses “no significant impacts” on the environment and in 2014 basically shot down all of the supposed drawbacks. The White House response to this most recent green light was to keep the car in neutral, warning that Keystone XL will go forward only if the president determines “it does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” President Obama refuses simply to get out of the way of what should be the routine construction of energy infrastructure — why, and what might the long-term ramifications be?

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Let’s look at the why part of the equation first by eliminating some possible reasons.

We know this is not about protecting America from so-called “dirty oil” flowing in from Canada, because oil from Canada’s oil-sands fields is already flowing into the United States by pipeline — from Alberta to Oklahoma. The Keystone XL would extend one leg of the existing pipeline to the U.S. Gulf Coast and add another leg from Alberta to Nebraska.

We also know that objections to Keystone XL aren’t about safety. A recent Fraser Institute study on oil transport found that on virtually all metrics of safety — environmental, occupational, residential — movement of oil and gas is safest via pipeline, less safe via rail, and even less safe via roadway.

And we know this obstruction isn’t about “protecting” the U.S. economy. After all, the State Department concludes that Keystone XL construction “would support a combined total of approximately 42,100 jobs throughout the United States for the up to two-year construction period” and that “impact to local property tax revenue receipts would be substantial for many counties.” In other words, Keystone XL would be very much in line with the president’s commitment to “nation-building here at home.”

We know this obstruction isn’t about ‘protecting’ the U.S. economy.

To be sure, Keystone XL’s jobs impact — which the president has mocked — would be temporary, as are most infrastructure jobs. What’s telling is that the president disparages such “temporary” work when it’s proposed by the private sector in the case of Keystone XL, but he applauds it when it’s the byproduct of government “stimulus” spending he is so fond of. All those stimulus-funded wind turbines, solar panels, re-insulated homes, and re-paved highways were temporary jobs.

Read more: The American

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