Krauthammer: The Keystone pipeline is the "most open and shut case I've ever seen"

Like Ed noted after Sunday’s rather underwhelming anti-Keystone XL pipeline protest in DC, the project really is a no-brainer across all imaginable fronts — and the Obama administration’s continue stalling is getting politically incorrigible. It’s completely understandable that the president would want to wait to make such a controversial high-profile decision until after the election, but the fact that the White House is still dithering and hiding behind State Department reviews is just ludicrous, and the issue is only gaining steam the longer they wait.

Preach, Krauthammer.

Look, you know, the president is in his second term. Normally, you then can put aside political or partisan considerations, you’re not going to be re-elected and you would act in the national interest. The Keystone issue is the most open and shut case I have ever seen. Not only will it reduce our dependence on Hugo Chavez, in the Middle East, we would get it from Canada, and not only would it be an insult if we sort of slam the door on Canada, our closest ally, but refusing the pipeline, or not building it would have zero effect on the environment.

The Canadians stumbled on the largest reserve of shale oil around; they’re the Saudi Arabia of shale. They are not going to keep it in the ground if we don’t input it. It’s going to go to China, they have said so. So, it has zero effect on the climate, global warming, whatever you want. The fact that Obama is still mulling over this — I can understand last year, he wanted to hold the left wing base, he wanted re-election. But now? After he has won re-election? It shows how — if he refuses it, which I think is still possible, it will really show how partisan considerations way outweigh the national interest. I think it would be shocking.

More than four years of extensive reviewing and still no decision, really? The environmentalists’ arguments against the project belie all rationality, considering that those oil sands are going to be used no matter what, and the relatively safety and efficiency of terrestrial pipelines — not to mention the jobs, energy security, economic growth, and economic growth.

At a time of rising global competition for energy resources, the pipeline would bring reliable new oil supplies to a U.S. that still imports 40% of its crude, 7.6 million barrels a day last year. And 40% of those imports come from OPEC nations such as Venezuela, Iraq and Nigeria. Keystone is expected to supply 830,000 million barrels a day, a key step toward the long-sought goal of North American energy independence, which suddenly seems attainable.

Much of the opposition to Keystone has come from critics who say running a big pipeline through the heart of the USA is too risky. Haven’t they noticed that tens of thousands of miles of oil pipelines already crisscross the United States? As long as the nation’s quarter-billion vehicles rely almost exclusively on gasoline and diesel, pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to move it.

I’m with Krauthammer on the pipeline’s fate; I thought it would have been a post-election done deal, but now I’m wondering if it isn’t actually possible the administration might be toying with nixing it as a once-and-for-all testament to their grandiose ‘climate-change seriousness.’ I’m thinking that the most likely explanation, however, is that they are looking for something major with which to couple the pipeline’s approval — for instance, I doubt we’ve heard the last about that “Energy Security Trust” initiative Obama mentioned in his State of the Union that would tax oil-and-gas companies (i.e., consumers) on behalf of funding anti-fossil fuel, renewable energy research… but good luck getting Congress to sign on for voluntarily jacking up people’s energy prices (which amounts to a wildly regressive tax, by the way!).