Priorities: State Department might delay decision on Keystone XL until after 2012 election

posted at 1:20 pm on November 7, 2011 by Tina Korbe

In yet another large, symbolic show of stock celebrities and lively characters, tens of thousands of hand-holding protesters encircled the White House Sunday to express opposition to a proposed transnational oil pipeline. The gathering aimed to demonstrate to President Barack Obama that he has all the support he needs to reject a permit for the Keystone XL, which would flow south from the oil sands of Canada to the refineries of the Texas Gulf Coast — and, along the way, protesters say, potentially threaten the clean water supply of America’s heartland.

But the presence of thousands of people outside his house seems to have reminded the president of the opposite — of all the support he stands to lose if he approves the project that backers say will create jobs and reduce the nation’s dependence on the oil of unsavory nations like Saudi Arabia.

In many ways, Keystone XL is the ultimate contest between special interest groups. In one corner, the unlikely combination of TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, and various unions that support the project because of the jobs it will create. In the other, environmentalists who fear an “inevitable” pipeline spill someday down the road.

The Obama campaign can’t afford to lose the support of either side. So, in typical slippery fashion, the administration seeks simply to delay a decision. The Los Angeles Times reports:

The Obama administration is considering a move that could delay a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline by requiring sponsors to reduce the project’s environmental risks before it can be approved, according to people with knowledge of the deliberations.

The step might put off a decision until after the 2012 election and be a way for the White House to at least temporarily avoid antagonizing either the unions that support the pipeline or the environmental activists who oppose it as President Obama gears up for his campaign.

For a president who professes jobs as his No. 1 priority, his willingness to delay this decision is perplexing. The president has said he’s sure those who would benefit from Keystone XL employment wouldn’t want a job to come at the expense of healthy drinking water. That might be. Dispute also exists as to the number of jobs the project will actually create. But, at the very least, if the president considers jobs to be so urgent a matter as his relentless championing of the American Jobs Act suggests, his administration would surely attach a hard deadline to its request to sponsors for risk reduction.

Here’s a related-but-unrelated thought: The natural gas revolution has already created thousands of jobs and could enable the U.S. to be energy-independent in relatively short order. Perhaps the administration could concentrate its support (not talking subsidies here — just rhetoric) on a clean, affordable energy source that maybe doesn’t pay off politically so much as support for wind and solar seems to — but that logically could not invite the ire of environmentalists who oppose oil because it’s “dirty.” That’s not to say environmentalists don’t oppose natural gas. If it involves drilling, you’d better believe they dislike it. But natural gas’ clean factor does eliminate an important objection.


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The government never does big things! – Liberals

lorien1973 on November 7, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Present.

Vashta.Nerada on November 7, 2011 at 1:24 PM

There is a market for that oil. Long term contracts will be signed. Will the oil come here? Or go somewhere else? Looks like Obama wants that oil to go somewhere else.

cozmo on November 7, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Present.

Vashta.Nerada on November 7, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Not even.

tomg51 on November 7, 2011 at 1:30 PM

But the presence of thousands of people outside his house seems to have reminded the president of the opposite — of all the support he stands to lose if he approvesdisapproves the project that backers say will create jobs and reduce the nation’s dependence on the oil of unsavory nations like Saudi Arabia.

I think this is what you meant?

He’s just voting present until after the election, trying to make all sides believe he is with them when he is only with himself, as usual.

IrishEyes on November 7, 2011 at 1:31 PM

The new r president in 2012 can see to it this is started stat! And the new president better deal with the epa and all those nuts that want to go ‘green’!
L

letget on November 7, 2011 at 1:32 PM

It’s fine if the oil goes elsewhere. Because we can always buy oil from Brazil’s drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Thereby transferring more of our wealth to other countries.

/bassackward liberal logic.

rbj on November 7, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Unemployment My re-election is the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing at night.

a capella on November 7, 2011 at 1:33 PM

The “Big Inch” wouldn’t get built today.

Ward Cleaver on November 7, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Phone ringing…

American citizens: “Hello?”
Barack’s entire administration: “We’re in a ditch and just phoning it in”
American citizen: (Slurping red Slushie) *slurp*

SouthernGent on November 7, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Good. Make the pu$$y run on the number of jobs declined or destroyed.

Plus, any Republican nominee that didn’t make this, Boeing, Gibson, ect issue #1, and personally attach them to 0bama, doesn’t deserve to win.

MNHawk on November 7, 2011 at 1:36 PM

There is a market for that oil. Long term contracts will be signed. Will the oil come here? Or go somewhere else? Looks like Obama wants that oil to go somewhere else.

cozmo on November 7, 2011 at 1:29 PM

But not have his fingerprints on its loss.

cthulhu on November 7, 2011 at 1:37 PM

I guess Obama thinks WE CAN WAIT for the new jobs that come with the pipeline…

My guess is that he is wrong…Some decent Repub Senator should bring the Senate to halt until Obama releases the thousands of jobs from the pipe line from their hostage cell

Hey NRC– How about a commercial showing the NC Boeing jobs, the pipeline jobs and 3 or 4 other examples of Obama holding jobs for the people hostage to the extremists

georgealbert on November 7, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Leading from behind.

tommer74 on November 7, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Sure, concentrate on natgas if necessary but we still need that oil.

The lefties, or as I am now calling them, the OWS, hasn’t yet figured out how to power so much as a toothbrush from wind or solar much less create things like shingles or plastics.

We NEED that oil. The OWS fools won’t be happy until we’re all living in peat huts.

Bishop on November 7, 2011 at 1:44 PM

The GOP should be hitting him on the head about this one 24x7x365.

The GOP has no constituency in the anti-pipeline crowd (well, maybe the occasional random Nebraskan) but a lot of Reagan Democrats on the pro side.

The anti-fossil-fuel crowd will never go GOP in numbers large enough to matter.

Natural gas is a great fuel for most power and industrial purposes – if we’ve got enough of it then it SHOULD replace coal for power generation (not only does it burn cleaner but it means more efficient power plant designs and far easier and lower cost maintenance of those plants) – but it will not replace oil as a transportation fuel.

JEM on November 7, 2011 at 1:46 PM

The “Big Inch” wouldn’t get built today.

Ward Cleaver on November 7, 2011 at 1:35 PM

Very interesting Ward Cleaver. TETCO paid $143 million and the lines are still in use after almosy 70 years. I wonder if there are any known environmental impacts. I’ve never heard of any.

DanMan on November 7, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Wasn’t this one of those truly critical decisions for the Administration?

Didn’t a decision just have to be made immediately to save the planet?

Didn’t millions and millions of jobs need this decision to be made so they could be saved….or killed, whatever?

But, getting the Emperor Obama I re-elected, is a far more important and time critical priority?

So…which priority is this, now?

Is Obama focused on it, laser-like, as he has said many times on many many issues?

Putz.

coldwarrior on November 7, 2011 at 1:50 PM

The Obama campaign can’t afford to lose the support of either side.

I see what you did there. Brilliant stuff. From here on out, I’m calling the administration the “Obama campaign”.

forest on November 7, 2011 at 1:50 PM

I don’t understand why he won’t approve it. The enviro nuts will still vote for him anyway.

Archades on November 7, 2011 at 1:51 PM

For a president who professes jobs as his No. 1 priority, his willingness to delay this decision is perplexing.

Tina: I guess it is just your style that causes you to pull your punches: None of this is perplexing. Obama is a recidivist liar; he cares about nothing except his own reelection, which he needs so that he can finish his task of killing the American economy.

GaltBlvnAtty on November 7, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Voting Present

Kini on November 7, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Rumor has it that Plan B is to build a bigger refinery in Alberta.

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on November 7, 2011 at 2:05 PM

PRESENT!

GarandFan on November 7, 2011 at 2:33 PM

Rumor has it that Plan B is to build a bigger refinery in Alberta.

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on November 7, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Apparently the greenies are worried about a possible oil spill into an aquifer in eastern Nebraska. There are several ways to avoid this:

1) Build a concrete ditch under the pipe to catch drips in the sensitive area.

2) Build a double-walled pipe over the sensitive area, with hydrocarbon detectors in the annular area between the pipes.

3) Build the pipeline further east, through Iowa, to avoid the aquifer.

4) Build new refineries along the Missouri River (how about one in Sioux City?), then send the refined products down-river by barge or tanker.

The advantage of building the pipeline all the way to the Gulf would be that this would only require the approval of a single project, and the Gulf refineries already exist, and could reduce imports in order to process the new oil from Canada.

The question becomes, what do Nebraskans want in their back yard–a pipeline or a refinery? A pipeline would produce less damage to the local environment, although a refinery would create more jobs…

Steve Z on November 7, 2011 at 2:39 PM

The step might put off a decision until after the 2012 election and be a way for the White House to at least temporarily avoid antagonizing either the unions that support the pipeline or the environmental activists who oppose it as President Obama gears up for his campaign.

When in doubt, punt.

Steve Z on November 7, 2011 at 2:43 PM

The only reason they were going to do it was to help for his reelection. There is no plus side for BO after the election, so if he won, he could cancel it.

jeffn21 on November 7, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Hardly what you would call a fearless leader. Obama doesn’t lead from the front or the back. He continues to do what he did in the Illinois legislature. He votes present. What a totally incompetent jerk. Union leadership will push for this guy regardless of what he does. Their jobs are secure. The rank and file and the middle class are the ones paying for his incompetence with lost jobs and wages. What do Obama and his lock-step Obamacrats give the average worker? Unemployment, “job training”, millions of fictitious green jobs and food stamps. As a 31 year retired member of a national union, I have to say to the rank and file: Wake up because you’re going to be dead and starving if our nation doesn’t vote for a change in the White House.

stefano1 on November 7, 2011 at 3:33 PM

. The OWS fools won’t be happy until we’re all living in peat huts.

Bishop on November 7, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Plus, we’re a bit short on peat down here, what with the drought and all.

TexasDan on November 7, 2011 at 3:57 PM

There is a market for that oil. Long term contracts will be signed. Will the oil come here? Or go somewhere else? Looks like Obama wants that oil to go somewhere else.

cozmo on November 7, 2011 at 1:29 PM

The Canadians can either pipe the oil south into the United States, or west over the Rockies to Vancouver, to be sold to Japan and China.

Which do we want?

Steve Z on November 7, 2011 at 5:35 PM

To quote Bill Murray in Ghostbusters

It’s true..this man has no d**k.

Can’t take a position to save his life; you know he wants to reject it; he’s just too much of a pansy to admit it and risk losing support of people that could have benefitted from it. Gotta find a way to blame the GOP.

austinnelly on November 7, 2011 at 5:58 PM

For a president who professes jobs as his No. 1 priority, his willingness to delay this decision is perplexing.

There is only one job with which this president is concerned.

hillbillyjim on November 7, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Perhaps the administration could concentrate its support (not talking subsidies here — just rhetoric) on a clean, affordable energy source that maybe doesn’t pay off politically so much as support for wind and solar seems to — but that logically could not invite the ire of environmentalists who oppose oil because it’s “dirty.” That’s not to say environmentalists don’t oppose natural gas. If it involves drilling energy of any kind, you’d better believe they dislike it. But natural gas’ clean factor does eliminate an important objection.

No, it doesn’t.

Giving society cheap, abundant energy… would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.

-Dr. Paul Ehrlich, Federation of American Scientists Public Interest Report, 1978

It doesn’t make a scrap of difference if energy is “clean”; as long as it can power our technological society the environmental crowd will use any means necessary to stop it. In their minds, the very existence of our civilization is a threat to Holy Mother Gaia, and starving it of energy is the most effective way to kill it off short of nuclear war. And if they could figure out a way to use nukes without destroying their precious “ecosphere”, they would.

I have some friends who are ex-members of Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, etc. All of whom bailed when said groups started believing that lying was OK to achieve their goals, and lying about their goals was necessary to avoid being called to account by everybody else.

Their goals are basically a neo-Paleolithic, agrarian socialist culture, run by themselves. The fact that such a culture would kill 90%+ of the human race through famine, disease, and other assorted ills our “evil” technological civilization has abolished is exactly what they resent about our civilization. They think there are too many people on Earth, and want to cull the herd of everyone except themselves (the nobility) and whatever peasants they allow to live to serve them (the serfs).

Like the progressive movement in general, the “ecology” movement has become a haven and a tool for the nihilistic elements of the left who seek power over everyone else at all costs. And trying to argue them out of their delusional worldview is pointless. All they care about is recreating an Eden that never actually existed, and they do not give a single solitary d**n who dies in the process, as long as it isn’t them.

The fact that this lot supports Obama and the Democratic Party’s leadership no matter what should give everyone else pause.

clear ether

eon

eon on November 7, 2011 at 7:54 PM