Would the Obama administration really reject the Keystone XL pipeline?

posted at 10:01 pm on February 11, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

This entire time, I thought that there was hardly a real chance that the Obama administration would ultimately reject the Keystone XL pipeline when it really came down to it. Sure, they’ve been stalling out the wazoo — presumably hoping the PR furor over the proposal would die down a bit, and/or to think up some other tantalizing climate-focused projects with which to quell the green lobby’s inevitable anger — but there is too much bipartisan, international, high-profile and widespread support for the project as both a job creator and energy-security enhancer for the president to really shut it down in the end (the thing is already halfway built, for goodness’ sake). Just today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee launched a new campaign touting all of the benefits the pipeline’s construction would bring and highlighting the administration’s many delays:

 

President Obama might talk a big game of climate hawkishness and grandiose sweeping ambitions, but he can’t avoid political realities and economic pragmatism — and while we’ll surely still be treated to the usual costly regulations, green-energy “investments,” and feel-good efficiency standards to which the White House likes to point as evidence of their environmental seriousness, this pipeline is too big a deal to sacrifice (and doing so would only be a shallow symbolic gesture, anyway, seeing as how those oil sands will definitely still get used; they’ll just be shipped off to China instead).

Or is it? The green lobby is throwing everything they have at this thing, and there’s the lingering possibility it might really be enough to put off the Obama administration. Brand-new Secretary of State and longtime self-promoted climate-change champion John Kerry met with his Canadian counterpart at the close of last week, and isn’t offering many hints about which way the administration is leaning nor updates on a precise timeline for the decision:

Secretary of State John Kerry and his Canadian counterpart refused to offer hints Friday about the biggest economic decision facing their countries: the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline.

But they stressed that the U.S. and Canada agree on a host of economic and environmental causes — including climate change, the same issue that has motivated many of Keystone’s green opponents to try to kill the project.

“Canada and the United States share the same values, the history and heritage of our people,” Kerry told reporters at the State Department after a closed-door discussion with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on issues that included Keystone. …

Kerry said Canada and the U.S. will continue to cooperate “to meet the needs of a secure clean-energy future on this shared continent.”

Trying to work out some kind of supplementary allied climate-change agreement they can simultaneously introduce along with the pipeline’s approval to make it more palatable for the enviros, or the precursor to letting Canada down easy? Keeping the pipeline under review before the election made all the political sense in the world, but now… I’m kind of nervous.

Here are President Barack Obama’s words from his second inaugural address: “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Thence followed 10 sentences about climate change.

In Edmonton and Ottawa, where governments had grown confident that Mr. Obama, once re-elected, would give the green light to the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta’s bitumen oil deposits to the Gulf of Mexico, those sentences were at least worrisome, if not menacing. …

With so many other priorities – the budget deficit, gun control, immigration – why did the President spend so much of his inaugural speech on an issue the Alberta and Canadian governments figured had disappeared from his radar screen. Maybe he was just playing to history, in which case the sentences will disappear into the political ether. Or maybe he actually believes what he said.


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Quite simply, if it makes sense and would help the economy, JUGEARS WON’T DO IT!

GarandFan on February 11, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Administration, that’s a good one, Erika.

Rusty Allen on February 11, 2013 at 10:08 PM

President Obama might talk a big game of climate hawkishness and grandiose sweeping ambitions, but he can’t avoid political realities and economic pragmatism

So, in other words, you think that he will act differently than he has since he took office. Right?

He’s ignored political realities and economic pragmatism since he’s been President. There’s no reason to expect him to act any differently.

Resist We Much on February 11, 2013 at 10:12 PM

Good Lord.

Of course they would.

It’s what Obama himself wants to do.

You really doubt one of his main goals as President isn’t to damage the fossil fuel industry as much as he possibly can?

It’s not the “environmentalists” that want the pipeline killed, it’s Obama himself, he just put it off until after the election, and now he’s just waiting for an opportune moment to finish it off.

Typhoon on February 11, 2013 at 10:12 PM

but he can’t avoid political realities and economic pragmatism

Not only can he ignore them, ignoring them got him re-elected. There is no reason for him to agree.

RoadRunner on February 11, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Secretary of State John Kerry

… I had to stop there.

MT on February 11, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Obama thinks the economy is doing just fine, and 8% unemployment doesn’t bother him unless he’s up for re-election. So the usual arguments for the pepeline don’t interest him much.

What interests him is shutting down fossil fuels, subsidizing his green energy cronies and pet projects, and energizing his base.

petefrt on February 11, 2013 at 10:17 PM

I thought this insane clown show has made it abundantly clear that they’re focused like a laser on rejecting it.

locomotivebreath1901 on February 11, 2013 at 10:19 PM

Please. The Greenies would have us all living in mud huts and scrounging for acorns to eat, and Bark knows his high-end lifestyle is immune from their criticism, so of course he will eff this all up.

All this pondering on whether Dog Eater will do something economically sensible went out the window one week after his first inauguration. The man couldn’t run a lemonade stand without spilling half the liquid, giving wrong change for a quarter, and somehow managing to burn down the stand itself.

Bishop on February 11, 2013 at 10:19 PM

Secretary of State John Kerry

… I had to stop there.

MT on February 11, 2013 at 10:16 PM

I’ll help. :)

Kerry said Canada and the U.S. will continue to cooperate “to meet the needs of a secure clean-energy future on this shared continent.”

. . . a continent never invaded by jen-jis khan; a continent of abundant opportunities and opportunistic opportunists, a shared continent of incontinent continental unicorns and pink-pony farts more than capable of providing abundant energy — a continent too many times falling beneath its own values, but often enough able to grope its way, melee, hey-hey, up its own buttocks and back into greatness.

(– to music)

Axe on February 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM

*I think that’s what he said. It’s what I hear when he talks anyway.

Axe on February 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM

*I think that’s what he said. It’s what I hear when he talks anyway.
Axe on February 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Spot on interpretation.

MT on February 11, 2013 at 10:33 PM

The only pipeline this administration gives a hoot about is the one they’re building between Mexico and the US, via amnesty legislation.

fogw on February 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM

But they stressed that the U.S. and Canada agree on a host of economic and environmental causes — including climate change, the same issue that has motivated many of Keystone’s green opponents to try to kill the project.

Think again:

“They publicly announce their commitment to dealing with climate change and acknowledge that it is a serious issue, but then they go ahead and do the exact opposite,” said Andrew Weaver, a climate modeler at the University of Victoria and a lead author of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“They’ve closed virtually every funding avenue for climate and atmospheric science. They are deceiving the Canadian public.”

http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20121114/climate-change-scientists-global-warming-stephen-harper-canada-skeptics-oil-sands-budget-cuts-muzzling-protests

can_con on February 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Kerry said Canada and the U.S. will continue to cooperate “to meet the needs of a secure clean-energy future on this shared continent.”

…what goes on south of our border…who cares?

KOOLAID2 on February 11, 2013 at 10:43 PM

I can’t understand why there are so many people in our own country who hate it so much that they want to destroy it. After that, then what do they have? A hellhole. We need a divorce.

Mirimichi on February 11, 2013 at 10:45 PM

This entire time, I thought that there was hardly a real chance that the Obama administration would ultimately reject the Keystone XL pipeline when it really came down to it.

well, sadly your premise is wrong. I used to think, years and years ago, that all this global warming would go away once NYC had a foot of snow on the ground (like say in March/April).

You see the wrongness of the premise? The climate agitprop groups were much more agile and quicker and cynical that i thought. So they came up with, most recently, Extreme Climate. Now, utterly anything fits into their model.

Deeply depraved and non-scientific of course, but that is how they destroyed my premise.

These people have different goals than normal people do. So even if it is not CAGW it is still Dirty, Polluting junk…and no doubt at some point a small rare sub-arctic lesser ant will be found which will throw out the whole thing

r keller on February 11, 2013 at 10:54 PM

You think the opposition is stiff now? Wait till you see how the tree-huggers react when we start nuking the oil sands:

The output of Toshiba’s new small reactor will be 10,000 kilowatts to 50,000 kilowatts, about 1 percent-5 percent that of a regular nuclear reactor, according to the sources.

Steam generated in the reactor will be sent to strata located at a depth of about 300 meters, where oil sands are found, to turn the sand into slurry. The slurry will then be extracted from the strata using a separate pipe.

To ensure the reactor’s safety, Toshiba reportedly plans to construct a nuclear reactor building underground, while the building itself will be equipped with an earthquake-absorbing structure.

The firm has completed a basic design for the reactor and has already started approval procedures for construction in the United States. After getting the official go-ahead from the U.S. government, Toshiba will then undergo safety checks in Canada.

Currently, oil sands are mined using boiler-generated steam. However, as this method requires natural gas to fuel the boilers, it is necessary to transport the gas as needed. Also, carbon dioxide emissions from burning natural gas is seen to be a problem.

By contrast, the planned small reactor would not require refueling for up to 30 years after construction or release any carbon dioxide. Furthermore, nuclear reactors would also be cheaper should the general price of natural gas increase.

Alberta_Patriot on February 11, 2013 at 10:55 PM

When one is a hybrid of man and horse, one can get away with nonsense.

Horseface loves the Warren Buffett and his choo-choo trains. Btw, energy prices need to necessarily skyrocket…MOAR QQ, not high enough yet. This is a backpocket thing, we’ll see what happens in April with the ‘debt ceiling/open air stadium’. Nothing before then.

Push stuff, then yell they’re taking your s#!t away. Delay everything else till your enemies relent.

John Kettlewell on February 11, 2013 at 10:58 PM

Would the Obama administration really reject the Keystone XL pipeline?

Yes, he will. How often do you have to get kicked in the head over 4 years before you figure it out?

woodNfish on February 11, 2013 at 11:02 PM

We need a divorce.

Mirimichi on February 11, 2013 at 10:45 PM

They won’t grant a divorce because they know full well they can’t afford the house and car payment without us. And if we just leave, well they will stalk us, vandalize our property, and make our lives miserable.

What we actually need is a wall between them and us.

Bishop on February 11, 2013 at 11:14 PM

He won’t do it.

COgirl on February 11, 2013 at 11:23 PM

Of course they’d stop it. They’d love to stop it. They probably have dreams about stopping it.

Those rusty sections of disused pipe laying around. Those potential pipeline workers lined up for their foodstamps. Then, they wake up with sticky sheets.

trigon on February 11, 2013 at 11:46 PM

What would this moron know? He knows about about energy as he knows the rivers of Cambodia.

pat on February 12, 2013 at 12:19 AM

Would the Obama administration really reject the Keystone XL pipeline?

When are we going to start to believe that he means what he says? He said he will bankrupt coal companies, he’s doing it.

He wants green energy to be more cost-effective than eeeevil oil, so he will do whatever it takes to increase the cost of oil until green energy is cheaper.

He does not care about hurting working people. I think he secretly relishes and takes joy in it, because he knows we don’t like him.

JustTruth101 on February 12, 2013 at 4:06 AM

It will be ‘perfect’ when John Kerry makes the rejection decision in French…

Khun Joe on February 12, 2013 at 4:22 AM

“We don’t need any thinking Canadian oil, we take the bus.”

clippermiami on February 12, 2013 at 7:03 AM

Does the pipeline help bring America to its knees?
If yes, then yes.
If no, then it’s a no-go.

vityas on February 12, 2013 at 7:17 AM

We don’t need any thinking Canadian oil, we take the bus.”

clippermiami on February 12, 2013 at 7:03 AM

We don’t need any thinking canadian oil, we takes the bus to collect ours welfares checks, pix up our obamaphones, gets our free maternal and pediatric healthcare, goes to stores to use our food stamps and free lunches, gets our free childcare and gets our ripple and cigs after a tough day on the porch.

Some minor corrections.

acyl72 on February 12, 2013 at 7:54 AM

With so many other priorities – the budget deficit, gun control, immigration – why did the President spend so much of his inaugural speech on an issue the Alberta and Canadian governments figured had disappeared from his radar screen. Maybe he was just playing to history, in which case the sentences will disappear into the political ether. Or maybe he actually believes what he said.

There is no “maybe” about it. You are dealing with The One’s core beliefs here, and that is one of the few situations where he will actually tell the truth. When he says “No Keystone pipeline”, he means it.

As for the rest of his (actually the Democratic Party’s) agenda, it’s a classic political strategy of “social reformers” to launch broad-front offensives against all their pet bete’ noirs as soon as they gain power. The objective being to overwhelm “the enemy” and force surrender. Or at least keep the opposition running around trying to stop them, thus diluting their strength in any one area.

Unfortunately for sanity, most of their opposition (what Codevila refers to as the “country class”) have actual lives, and actual jobs. So they can’t spend all their time stopping the “activists”, who tend to congregate in groups that pay them to be… activists. Or at least allow them to bask in the mutual admiration of like-minded fanatics.

The progressives are convinced they will win because everyone else has other things to do while they are “focusing like a laser beam” on making the world over to their own liking. And also because when they have power, they are not afraid to use it to impose their will on everyone else.

Or just hurt and/or kill them for the sheer hell of it.

clear ether

eon

eon on February 12, 2013 at 8:10 AM

After all we’ve been through and seen… are you really telling me that anyone is still surprised by what this man is capable of? I have to ask – are YOU serious??? Dude, wake up!

Ukiah on February 12, 2013 at 8:37 AM