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Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Political Pipeline

What does Obama have in common with the late Osama, besides the alliteration of their names – one letter off (b and s, ironically)?  Osama destroyed energy pipelines, blowing them up, and Obama is destroying energy pipelines by obstructing them.
The White House has said it will reject a proposed 1,700-mile oil pipeline from Canada to Texas, claiming the February deadline set by Congress doesn't allow for proper review of the $7 billion project.
According to Fox News, “For three years, the State Department has been reviewing the initial proposal to run a pipeline from Canada down to Texas through a sensitive Nebraska aquifer -- authority it has because of the transnational path the route takes.  The pipeline had been through several other federal, state and local approvals, but the department backed away from signing off on the plan last year after environmentalists and local lawmakers complained.”
Not surprisingly, in this presidential election year, Obama announced he would deny a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, run by Canadian energy company TransCanada because the Republicans imposed a ‘rushed and arbitrary deadline’ and also connected it to the short-term payroll tax cut extension.  The Republicans wanted a longer extension but the Democrats, not the Republicans stymied passage of the bill, and the Republicans settled for the shorter extension as long as the Keystone Pipeline permit was included.
Now the Democrats have gotten away with the shorter payroll tax cut extension and they’ve politically imploded a key energy pipeline that would have delivered energy independence, to say nothing of cheaper oil, to America, and allowed the U.S. to withdraw from the volatile Middle East.
But let us not forget that Obama is the Green President.  All this talk about tax-cut extensions and not leaving enough time to research the project is all the fog of politics.  It’s all about the environment, as far as Obama and his supporters are concerned.
This oil would be heavy-crude they’d be shipping down to the Gulf Coast.  That means it would need refining.  Since the 1970s, the environmentalists have managed to close down every single refinery on America’s shores.  New refineries would have to be built and up to 20,000 people would find employment.  We can’t have all that nasty, dirty oil, and we certainly can’t have independent Americans driving around in their own cars using relatively cheap gas, or trucks helping drive the Capitalist economy.  That’s not in the Agenda 21 plan.
Fox News reports, “The decision does not necessarily kill the project. The State Department said the denial "does not preclude any subsequent permit application" -- and within hours pipeline company TransCanada announced that it would reapply for a permit.   But the decision at least delays the project, one that unions and GOP lawmakers alike said would be a boon for job creation as well as energy security.”
“Until this pipeline is constructed, the U.S. will continue to import millions of barrels of conflict oil from the Middle East and Venezuela and other foreign countries,” TransCanada said in a statement Wednesday, saying it is “disappointed” by the administration's call. “Thousands of jobs continue to hang in the balance if this project does not go forward.”
Obama scrupled not to blame the GOP.
This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people," Obama said.  “I'm disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my administration's commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil.”

Industry workers and Republicans contend the project would create thousands of jobs, and Canada's prime minister warned if the U.S. doesn’t put the pipeline through, Canada will sell the oil to China, instead, with no blame to TransCanada.

Still, Fox News says, “Obama's own jobs council suggested that it agrees with the pipeline concept.  While not specifically mentioning Keystone in a report out Tuesday about improving competitiveness, the council said that when it comes to energy projects in general, the government needs to ‘expeditiously, though cautiously, move forward on projects that can support hundreds of thousands of jobs.’

"We think this all-in energy strategy can create significant economic growths and significant job creation," said Lewis Hay, NextEra Energy CEO and a member of the president's job council.

Obama, covering his political assets, maintained his environmental concerns about energy exploration, but insisted a balance could be found. 

“I think the recommendations are sound.  We see enormous potential in production of traditional fossil fuels,” he said without mentioning Keystone.

“In a purely partisan effort to score a political point, Republicans in Congress insisted on inserting an extraneous provision within a bill that had nothing to do with pipelines,” White House spokesman Carney said, adding that the ‘arbitrary deadline’  made an adequate review ‘virtually impossible.’

Newt Gingrich called the move “insanely stupid.”  The Democrats' disingenuous cries of “ridership” should be plainly called out; it’s the way of life in Capitol Hill.  The Democrats do it all the time, and generally to the detriment of Capitalism and the American way of life.

It takes two to play hardball.  But only one to renege on a deal.

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