Canadian PM: Keystone quid pro quo, Mr. Obama?

Last June, President Obama insisted in a speech that his administration still-pending approval of the Keystone XL pipeline “requires finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest, and our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. The net effect of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward.” …Which is a pretty lame punt, because as I noted earlier this week, the energy industry can and currently is finding different ways to bring their oil to market. The Keystone pipeline would still be a better, more efficient way to do it, but if that’s not to be, you can bet companies that stand to make a profit will still be moving that oil. Ergo, disapproving the pipeline will not prevent Canada from developing their resources, and net carbon emissions aren’t really the major factor here that the eco-radicals pretend they are.

As I say, though, the Keystone pipeline will save everyone a lot of money and headaches, and the Canadians are understandably way past impatient with the Obama administration’s eternal dithering. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper actually wrote to President Obama last week, wondering if they mightn’t work out a tit-for-tat of some kind:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama formally proposing “joint action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector,” if that is what’s needed to gain approval of the Keystone XL pipeline through America’s heartland, CBC News has learned.

Sources told CBC News the prime minister is willing to accept targets proposed by the United States for reducing the climate-changing emissions and is prepared to work in concert with Obama to provide whatever political cover he needs to approve the project.

The letter, sent in late August, is a clear signal Canada is prepared to make concessions to get the presidential permit for TransCanada Corp.’s controversial $7-billion pipeline, which will connect the Alberta oilsands to refineries in Texas.

But there’s a huge snag. Obama hasn’t said what he wants, or needs, to assuage environmentalists that Keystone XL is in America’s national interest, or to convince congressional Democrats facing re-election next year that it can be approved without sabotaging their campaigns.

And the White House has yet to respond to the letter.

And if they do respond, it’ll probably be the same old wishy-washy beating around the bush with which we are by now woefully accustomed. Yes, President Obama is going to need a lot of political cover if he ever approves this thing, but if he can just keep delaying it and pretending that his administration is still deliberating and completely avoid even having to deal with it at all before the 2014 midterms, why wouldn’t they?

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David Strom 6:01 PM on March 29, 2023