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Obama and the Politics of the Keystone XL Pipeline

The Politics of the Keystone XL Pipeline

President Barack Hussein Obama, in order to extend the payroll tax cut he favored, was forced to make a decision regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline by February 21, 2012. Legislation, passed by the Democrat-controlled Senate, required that the Keystone XL Pipeline go forward unless Obama declared that it was not in the national interest. Obama did that Wednesday, January 18, 2012. Then, in an amazing display of chutzpah, he blamed Republicans for forcing him to make the decision. He says that Republicans “forced his hand” to make the decision. Obama said, “I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision….”

Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said: “Canada is going to develop this no matter what, and that oil is either going to come to the United States or it’s going to go to a place like China. We want it here.”

After announcing his decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline that killed 20,000 jobs, Obama went to DisneyWorld to promote tourism jobs. Ironic? With Cinderella’s castle as his backdrop, Obama said: “America is open for business.” He then went up to NYC, to Manhattan, for campaign fundraisers, charging up to $38,500 per partier. On the same day he killed the Keystone project, Obama released his first campaign ad of 2012, highlighting his record on energy jobs. Even more ironically, the ad touted his ethics record. And as the outrage over the Solyndra scandal (and others) grows, Obama had the nerve to sprinkle his inaugural campaign spot with solar panels.

And here are reactions from Democrats about Obama’s Keystone XL Pipeline decision:

  • Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT): “This delay is just playing politics with American jobs and American energy security.”
  • Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA): “The rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline permit is a missed opportunity to drastically turn this economy around. This pipeline would have created thousands of new jobs and helped to ensure our energy independence.”
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): “President Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline is a major setback for the American economy, American workers, and America’s energy independence.”

Keystone XL Pipeline Rejected

Obama announced that he will deny a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and blamed Republicans for imposing a “rushed and arbitrary deadline” which he said did not give officials enough time. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the “arbitrary deadline” made an adequate review “virtually impossible.” Obama said that his decision was not based on the “merits” of the plan, but on the forced timeline. “As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama said. “As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.” But the State Department has been reviewing the initial proposal for three years.

Conservative and Industry Reaction To Cancellation

Jack N. Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said: “How can you say you are for jobs and reject the largest shovel-ready project in America today? Mr. President, what are you thinking?” Kevin Book, an energy analyst at Clearview Energy Partners, said that even an approval in 2013 could still have “important implications for North American supply” because it would establish a six- or seven-year process for approval of pipelines that cross national borders. US Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Thomas Donohue said: “This political decision offers hard evidence that creating jobs is not a high priority for this administration.” He continued, “By placing politics over policy, the Obama administration is sacrificing tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs in the short term, and many more than that in the long term.”

Keystone’s rejection will “sell American energy security to the Chinese,” a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said on January 18, 2012, that President Barack Obama is breaking his promise to create jobs by rejecting a plan to build an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said: “Keystone was an obvious choice: everybody in Washington says they want more American jobs now. Well, here’s the single largest shovel-ready project in America – ready to go… The labor unions like it. Democrats want it. It strengthens our national security by decreasing the amount of oil we get from unfriendly countries. And it wouldn’t cost the taxpayers a dime. The only thing standing between thousands of American workers, and the good jobs this project will provide is President Obama.”

Environmentalist Reaction To Cancellation

Environmental advocates, disappointed with his failure to achieve climate change legislation, and his decision to delay new smog standards, have made it clear that approval of the pipeline would weaken enthusiasm for Obama’s re-election bid. Some liberal donors even threatened to stop donations to Obama’s re-election campaign to protest the project, which they say would transport “dirty oil” that requires huge amounts of energy to extract.

Bill McKibben, a Vermont writer and environmentalist, said that the victory [Keystone XL Pipeline rejection] is a tribute to people who set aside their natural cynicism about the possibility of change, instead went to jail, wrote public comments, surrounded the White House shoulder to shoulder five deep. They managed to bring reality to the forefront, and that reality – the leaky pipeline, the oil destined for export, the carbon overload from the tar sands – managed to trump, for now, the bottomless pockets of the fossil fuel industry.

Union Reaction To Cancellation

If he rejects the pipeline, Obama risks losing support from organized labor, a key part of the Democratic base, for thwarting thousands of jobs. Brent Bookers, director of construction at the Laborers’ International Union of North America, said: “For many members of the Laborers, this project is not just a pipeline, it is a lifeline. Too many hard-working Americans are out of work, and the Keystone XL pipeline will change that dire situation for thousands of them.” weighed in on the Keystone XL Pipeline controversy, vowing not to forget Obama’s betrayal of killing 20,000 jobs. The web site continued, “For more than three years, the State Department has conducted its “transparent, thorough, and rigorous review.” However, apparently, the Obama Administration believed that three years wasn’t enough to be transparent, thorough, or rigorous enough.” Christopher Helman, in Forbes, said: “In the process of selecting the proposed route, TransCanada plotted and studied 14 different pipeline paths and submitted 10,000 pages of environmental studies. They’ve already studied this thing to death.”

Obama’s purely ideological decision does not serve the national interest at all. Obama’s decision harm – not help – the nation’s interests since China will be the likely recipient of the Canadian oil. Additionally his decision will be the destruction of 20,000 union jobs.

For a synopsis of the Keystone XL Pipeline, including several information links, see this link.

His decision harms our relationship with Canada and sends the message that the US is not serious about reducing its dependency on unstable and hostile sources of the oil that we need to power our economy.
But that’s just my opinion.

Access to other articles like this one can be found at RWNO, my personal web site.

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Rich Mitchell

Rich Mitchell is the editor-in-chief of Conservative Daily News and the president of Bald Eagle Media, LLC. His posts may contain opinions that are his own and are not necessarily shared by Bald Eagle Media, CDN, staff or .. much of anyone else. Find him on twitter, facebook and

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