Celebrity protesters and other critics objected to the underground Keystone XL oil pipeline because, they said, the pipeline posed environmental risks. Chief among those risks was the possibility that the pipeline could leak or spill, which could in turn threaten the water supply and the survival of — you guessed it! — endangered species.
For the leisure class, those concerns trumped the creation of thousands and thousands of jobs — and, for Obama, beholden to competing special interests, the support of that class ultimately trumped the support of blue-collar workers. He said “no” to the pipeline.
Now, belatedly, we all begin to remember that his “no” won’t stop the transportation of oil across the country anyway. Keystone XL was designed to transport oil from the Canadian tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico, but it would apparently also have enabled oil producers in the booming oil fields of North Dakota to ship their product to the GOM more cheaply, as well.
Without the pipeline, oil producers will rely on an older method to ship the crude — low-speed rail transportation. That’s right — I’m talking about good old-fashioned trains. Not only is it more expensive to ship crude by rail, but it’s also — get this — more dangerous. Here’s a confirming quote from a Sierra Club spokesperson, via John Hayward of Human Events:
“There is no question that [transporting] oil by rail or truck is much more dangerous than a pipeline.”
So, great: In the environmentalists’ quest to preserve the environment from Keystone XL, they’ve effectively ensured the environment will be exposed to the risks associated with transporting crude by rail. (They also effectively imposed higher shipping prices and, presumably, higher gas prices for us all, but we’re not supposed to talk about that.)
But that’s not all: Guess who owns the rail line that handles 75 percent of North Dakotan oil shipping? Ah, yes! The Oracle of Omaha! Warren Buffett himself!
Hayward summarizes perfectly:
For some reason, nobody from BNSF or Berkshire Hathaway would return the AP’s telephone calls, but oilman Harold Hamm told them he was sure this was just a wonderful “lucky break” for Barack Obama’s favorite billionaire, who is “certainly favored by this decision.” I’ve heard Buffett’s famously overtaxed secretary will be a guest at the State of the Union address tonight. Maybe someone could ask her about it.
The “tax me more” refrain from liberal billionaires is one of the oldest sucker games in the book. For the well-connected, the money that can be made through government power – whether by influencing corrupt politicians, or merely predicting what they’re going to do – dwarfs whatever income they offer to cough up.
All of this confirms what we already knew about President Obama’s Keystone XL decision: It betrays the two devastating hallmarks of his energy policy, in general. Can you say “crony capitalism” and “unintended consequences”?