This week President Obama rejected a permit for the Keystone pipeline, which would bring oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the gulf coast. More environmental studies were needed, said Obama, his decision thus nixing an estimated 6,000 to 20,000 jobs along with the loss of a secure supply of oil from a neighboring ally country.
Given that bureaucrats have been studying the project since the application 3 ½ years ago, this excuse is less than flimsy. A more reasonable assumption is that this flawed decision was made either on policy or political grounds.
Even the left’s Washington Post and Newsweek’s Robert Samuelson question the merits of Obama’s refusal to ok the new supply of oil. Even they understand that justifying the pipeline denial on the proposition that it would be environmentally injurious is not supported by the facts:
-Only a small portion of the 1,661 miles of pipeline would cross Nebraska, compared to the 21,000 miles of pipeline that cross Nebraska today. Prudence dictates that the new pipeline is more secure than the non-leaking old pipelines.
-If spills are of concern, have more spills resulted from tanker mishaps or leaking pipelines?
-Rejection of the pipeline will not stop or limit production of the tar-sand oil–unless, that is, Obama sends troops to seize and shut down the Canadian fields.
-If one accepts the man-made global warming hypothesis, shipping crude to Asia and refining it in less efficient plants will actually increase carbon atmospheric contamination.
-The $7 billion of funding for the pipeline will come from private sources. No Solyndra-type loan guarantee will be needed.
-An improbable international dispute with Canada is unlikely to cause them to close the St. Lawrence Seaway, let alone the Strait of Hormuz.
-The Canadians are neither attempting to build a bomb and threatening a friend (Iran), financing schools spewing hatred of the West (Saudi Arabia), or carousing with Communist dictators (Venezuela)
As the often-stated number-one priority of this administration is JOBS, the decision is incongruent with its stated goals.
If policy goals do not justify the decision, it must be politically based. But where lies the political gain? Antagonizing union supporters to satisfy extreme environmentalists who have nowhere else to go politically? Will Robert Redford be so upset that gas prices don’t get high enough to clear the roads for his limo that he will vote for a conservative? A leader like Obama, with such a flare for the ominous in his communication skills, should have no trouble explaining the decision to his ardent supporters.
The decision also renders fodder to opponents (“right-wing kooks”) who will seize and recycle the issue this summer when gas prices climb above $4/gallon. Frankly, it will invigorate the opposition’s base and handicap efforts to win the middle.
If my analysis is correct and it was not a policy or political decision, it exemplifies an overriding question about this president and his tenure. Americans must ask themselves, just what are Obama’s core values or the underlying predisposition which generated this decision?
Have a fulfilling and profitable day,
WC (Bill) Augustine