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  • Obama’s "Forced" Keystone Decision Rejects Jobs, Energy, and Logic

    Demonstrators carry a giant mock pipeline while calling for the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline during a rally in front of the White House in Washington November 6, 2011.

    President Obama’s politically intoned decision to reject TransCanada’s permit application to construct a 1,700-mile pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to Texas refineries sent a clear message that special interest demands are of more importance than more energy and much-needed job creation.

    Building the pipeline would bring over 700,000 barrels of oil per day and directly create 20,000 truly shovel-ready jobs. The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that current pipeline operations and the addition of the Keystone XL pipeline would create 179,000 American jobs by 2035.

    Since TransCanada and Nebraska politicians have agreed to reroute the pipeline, the focus should now be on completing the reroute design and beginning construction. Congress should recognize the findings in the State Department’s “Final Environmental Impact Statement” and authorize the application submitted by TransCanada in September 2008.

    Given the need for jobs and more oil on the global market to offset high prices, the permit application had been moving along positively with bipartisan support without much attention until environmental activists made blocking the Keystone XL pipeline their issue to rally around for 2011. Although President Obama and the Department of State (DOS) said they’d make a decision at the end of 2011, they ultimately catered to a narrow set of special interests, punting the decision until after the 2012 elections.

    The payroll tax holiday legislation signed at the end of 2011 moved that decision date up to February 21. Today, however, the President rejected the permit, claiming, “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.” President Obama initially delayed the decision because he claimed that additional environmental review from the DOS was necessary.

    This is a stunning (though not unexpected) decision. At a time when unemployment remains unacceptably high, Iran is threatening the Strait of Hormuz, and Canada is looking to take this oil elsewhere, it is difficult to understand how the President could say no to thousands of jobs and an increase in energy supply from our ally.

    Environmentalists and opponents of the pipeline are blaming Republicans for forcing the President to make a decision that he was not ready to make (purportedly because additional environmental review was necessary), but this accusation is laughable. DOS has already conducted a thorough, three-year environmental review with multiple comment periods.

    DOS studied and addressed risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, wildlife, and endangered species. They concluded that the construction of the pipeline would pose minimal environmental risk. Keystone XL also met 57 specific pipeline safety standard requirements created by DOS and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The pipeline would be equipped with 16,000 sensors connected to satellite that would monitor the pressure of the pipeline.

    Much of the concern of environmentalists and Nebraska residents has focused on the original route of the pipeline, particularly the area where the pipeline would cross the Ogallala Aquifer—despite the fact that thousands of miles of pipeline already cross the aquifer today and DOS’s impact statement rated the potential for water contamination as minimal. Oil contamination of drinking water would not be likely in many instances because the soil composition prevents or mitigates the downward migration of oil. Simply put, this pipeline is environmentally sound, and even DOS has said so. Making excuses that we need additional environmental review is catering to special interests.

    But it’s a narrow group of special interests that the President is accommodating. Plenty of Obama supporters actually support the construction of the pipeline. The most glaringly obvious is the labor unions that stand to benefit from the job creation.

    Nor is this a strictly partisan project. Democratic policymakers have also voiced their support. On October 19, 2011, 22 House Democrats sent a letter to President Obama pleading that “America needs the Keystone XL Pipeline. It is in our national interest to have a Presidential Permit issued for Keystone XL as soon as possible.” The letter mentioned that “the Department of State’s Final Environmental Impact Statement reaffirmed the findings of the two previous environmental impact statements, namely, that the Keystone XL Pipeline will have no significant impact on the environment.”

    Understanding the economic implications, Senators Max Baucus (D–MT), Jon Tester (D–MT), Joe Manchin (D–WV), Ben Nelson (D–NE), Mark Begich (D–AK), and Mary Landrieu (D–LA) have all expressed support for the pipeline.

    Energy Secretary Steven Chu did not explicitly support the pipeline but did acknowledge that “it’s not perfect, but it’s a trade off” and that Canadian oil sands producers are “making great strides in improving the environmental impact of the extraction of this oil.” These are bold words from a man who has unabashedly derided fossil fuels in support of renewable energy and welcomed high gas prices. President Obama’s former “car czar” Steve Rattner also emphasized that the President should approve the pipeline permit.

    Moreover, just a day before the decision, the President’s own jobs council underscored the need for not only more oil, natural gas, and coal but also energy infrastructure projects. The report says:

    Continuing to deliver inexpensive and reliable energy is going to require the United States to optimize all of its natural resources and construct pathways (pipelines, transmission and distribution) to deliver electricity and fuel. The Council recognizes the important safety and environmental concerns surrounding these types of projects, but now more than ever, the jobs and economic and energy security benefits of these energy projects require us to tackle the issues head-on and to expeditiously, though cautiously, move forward on projects that can support hundreds of thousands of jobs.

    It’s ironic that the President’s first action following the release of this report is an abrupt dismissal of one of its key recommendations.

    To meet those alleged environmental concerns in Nebraska, a reroute could be managed successfully by TransCanada and Nebraska state officials to alleviate any concerns, and construction of the pipeline could commence immediately if the President approved the permit. That’s why Congress should authorize the pipeline application as submitted by TransCanada pursuant to its authority to regulate commerce with other nations. Since there is no federal entity that sites and authorizes interstate petroleum pipeline construction, the state of Nebraska could site and approve an alternative route, following the PHMSA’s construction codes.

    While the decision would again ultimately end up on President Obama’s desk, it would send a strong message that this country needs the jobs, the energy, and the economic growth.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    51 Responses to Obama’s "Forced" Keystone Decision Rejects Jobs, Energy, and Logic

    1. Edward Kimble says:

      Whats really odd, you get the same feeds, the same oil and gas, it just goes by a longer, leakier, more easily attacked, and more expensive route. Worse, for the crowd that believes reducing supply will curb global warming, not one carbon bigfoot is saved! Indeed, because of the longer route more CO2 is created to make the same fuel. Worse, because the mix is now more expensive, Arab oil is more in demand, a worst case scenario. And the effort/money that would have been saved, that could have been diverted into industry, wind and solar power, now that money goes into tanker costs and RPG's shot at our GI's. And this is not a local cost, it raises the cost and decreases the productivity of the entire planet. Swell. Obama is a/an (insert defamatory word here).

    2. roady says:

      The man has no clue!

      • guy denike says:

        You are right he has no clue at all he is the worst person in the white house ever .

      • @drm0414 says:

        It is baffling to me how the environmentalists can have this much influence, more than unions…

        • ProBiz Conservative says:

          Easy: he gave the unions the recess appointments at the NLRB so that furhter union memberships and regulations could be rammed down the throats of the US.

      • NORM SECKEL says:

        Oh sure he does,he knows he is putting the U.S.A. on the auction block ,but he doesn's care ,he is not from this country!!

      • Dolly says:

        I think it should have a vote…right now…. congress can and should over ride what makes total sense for this country……… Obama is trying his best to bring this country down….we have to stop him sooner than later……. I say he is NOT an American and doing what is best for OUR country…….

      • Frank Selig says:

        He certainly does not know how to be a leader. He should just simply quit.

    3. munciepolitics says:

      While we sit complacent believing the government and their quest for jobs, telling us of all the jobs (temporary) which have been created, we watch as the 179,000 jobs are swepr under the carpet. How many other small business will branch from the pipeline. I had hear that Canada is moving ahead on their pipeline. To be honest, I haven't followed up on that claim.

    4. munciepolitics says:

      My favorite quote and one I post often on the blog and elsewhere. Someday soon I hope people will grasp the wisdom of James Garfield as he penned:

      James Garfield
      Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. . . . [I]f the next centennial does not find us a great nation . . . it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.
      [James A. Garfield, The Works of James Abram Garfield, Burke Hinsdale, editor (Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1883), Vol. II, pp. 486, 489, "A Century of Congress," July, 1877.]

      • Vicki Joiner says:

        you are absolutly coreect, we all know what ob is about and his cronies and he cares naght for planet, naught for the welfare of this country and we all knows whose ass es he is kicking he should have been removed many years ago, but we like sheep kept going along with his plans when will this stop?

    5. Jim Conway says:

      Obama is helping the economy how ? Shaking head .

    6. Kepeli K Won says:

      Nor does he care about the American people.

    7. dd788snipe says:

      I hope all you union people are happy. The environmental wackos are more important than you are. Are you still going to let your leadership use your hard earned dues money to re-elect him?

    8. Guest says:

      What do you expect, he's just a ''Community Organizer'' used to managing Bake Sales and the like, not a country by any means but I don't know if the same voters he sold his ''Change You Can Believe In'' will swallow that line again but then again P.T. Barnum stated that there was a "Sucker Born Every Minute" so maybe if we have run out of suckers that vote by now he won't get re elected and if a new batch turns 18 by 2012 maybe he will.

    9. Dan says:

      It occurred to me today as I was pondering the issues facing our nation while doing some manual labor that our elitist President is (Politically) owned by a person or persons. He is on a short leash in someone’s tight grip. He is not Free. Has he ever taisted Freedom?

    10. John says:

      Wonder what the government will do when gas is $7-$10 per gallon? Guess we will need to buy one of those cars that will get 100 miles per gallon but might burn your house down when you plug it in. Oh and it only cost about $40.000 to purchase it. What a Deal

      • Lloyd Scallan says:

        John – Like so many others you do not recognize "the government" (Obama) wants $7-$10 gas. By making fuel prices so high we cannot afford gas to get to work, the economy will begin to faulter and collapse. That's Obama's plan to drive this nation into socialism.

    11. Centrust says:

      If it involved packing another $600 billion on to the deficit, Obama would be all for this. Instead, when he has the private sector ready to stimulate the economy he stalls the project when it would cost the government little money. This individual is so eminently unqualified to be president it is almost scary. Truly Clueless!

    12. hope Obama is real happy with himself he has become a weak leader

    13. so Solyndra is good, but Keystone is bad?…what more does the State Department need to evaluate since the final federal environmental impact assessment was issued in 2008?…I'm not sure I understand this President's Energy Policy…lobbyists are good, jobs are bad?

    14. Jeff, Illinois says:

      I'm sure there are no factors that went into his decision. I think he just woke up and said, heck let's kill some jobs today. Environmental issues . . hah! Temporary jobs at best . . Hah! The fact that this nation was not going to get any of the gasoline refined and that at present we're actually exporting gasoline to keep the supply down and prices high . . hah! Let's see maybe he can next try to rebuild the nation's infrastructure and put hundreds of thousands to work . . oh wait . . he did try to do that . . and the GOP blocked it! . . Well there must be something else he can capriciously try. Absolutely clueless!!

      • Stirling says:

        Sorry Jeff, you've bought into the DNC propaganda talking points, and don't understand supply/demand economics 101. A Government job for infrastructure is TEMP (since you build then it's done.) and it's taken from Tax dollars to pay for it (which takes money from those who could of spent it on their families). A pipeline project is a private sector job which supports itself financially and provides temp and long term jobs (to maintain) which pay very well. and doesn't take money out of the pockets of taxpayers.. If you want $10/gallon gas please move to Europe and see how a lack of supply will affect your wallet..

      • Nancy, OH says:

        Uh, the XL Pipeline IS infrastructure, shovel ready. Sheesh. But I see you're from IL. That explains it.

    15. bocajode says:

      This must all be apart of the Presidents new, "Free Enterprise Prevention Program." Krauthammer's editorial is right on. The environmental studies have been going on for three long years and found it not to hurt the enviornment. Oil companies like Schlumberger and Petrofac are leading the way. President Obama just stopped them dead in their tracks. America needs to become energy independent.

    16. steve h says:

      I love it – thank you President Obama! Way to stand up to the oil barons and the likes of the Koch brothers over something that would create next to no jobs. 6,500 jobs a year would do nothing. We need real vision and real change – not the same old reliance on outdated ideas and foreign oil.

    17. Terry says:

      I cannot imagine anyone voting Obama back into office. He is the worst President in the history of the United States. With a record like that, why would a person stoop so low as to run for re-election? He doesn't have a clue.

    18. Melvin says:

      How munch more can we take of this crazy way his is doing to the american way of life ? if he can,t do his job dh needs to go to china

    19. jon says:

      Environmental wackos? Tell that to the people living on the Gulf coast, or the people who used to live in Chernobyl.

    20. Bradley A Harris says:

      In three years Obama has brought this country to its lowest level in this nation's history. Everyday he proves that he is the most unqualified man to hold the esteem office of president. He wants to create jobs and end our foreign oil dependency, then puts an end to something that would do both. He is oblivious to the damage he has done to this nation. He is a captain that is on a sinking ship, he will bail before it sinks.

    21. WedgieFever says:

      Debt is already too high. The game is already over. It no longer matters.

    22. Paul Terry Stone says:

      It should be evident by now that Obama is this country's worst enemy and that he is doing his best to destroy this country.

    23. ldf says:

      Obama is hoping that stories like this are swept away by the lamestream media with other stories like…"breaking news" from the ex-wife of Gingrich! He will not have to deal with any of this if things go as planned! He doesn't care how it looks as he'll never have to answer for any of it! Tearing hair out now.

    24. Richard Awtrey says:

      Obama has done nothing but try to destroy our nation and our Republican leadership in so neutered that they just stand by and let him.

      • Vicki Joiner says:

        our republican party does nothing it is witten in the constitution get rid of tyrants, but no we do nothing, we sit and moan and groan and stay asleep i think it too late to wake up he should have been thrown out or removed in what fashion you like with his cohorts when he started his illegal activities a long time ago we should have got off our collected butts and thrown him out then and there first time

      • rocky says:

        This is correct – well said

    25. Deb says:

      Oh come on…all he did was listen to his people…the ones that stood outside his home day after day telling him what a bad idea this pipeline was. And I am 100% sure that if you asked each and every one of them how they arrived at his home in Washington, DC they would ALL tell you that they took electric planes and drove in electric cars or rode bikes or walked. I am sure not one of them arrived using a means of transportation that required any gas or oil at all! How could they based on what they are demonstrating against…after all, wouldn't that be a little hypocritical??

    26. vicki says:

      If Obama can make illegal appointments while Congress is NOT in recess, why can't we over rule his decision on this pipeline and do it anyway. Fair is fair

    27. Brad - Detroit says:

      Can't wait for the new Obama bumper stickers ! Think they'll say something really cool like "Don't judge me on my leadership skills." – or – "I'm not as bad as that other guy. . . ." Or, better yet . . ."Blame Bush or the GOP, I really, really tried !"

      Obama would be the least-experienced person in the room in 99% of employee staff meetings anywhere in the US, and this guy is running our country ? Does he make any decisions that are NOT political ?

    28. Nick, great post. As you note, the president is rejecting the advice of his own Council on Jobs and Competitiveness that the U.S. needs an “all-in” energy strategy that pursues more American oil and natural gas, as well as the means to deliver those resources. One point that is regularly overlooked is that the Keystone XL is in its fourth year of review, well beyond the 18 months to two years the approval process typically takes. During that time the project has successfully cleared three consecutive environmental reviews conducted by the State Department — including multiple public hearings, consideration of 14 different routes and 57 special conditions exceeding current federal pipeline regulations that were agreed to by builder TransCanada. In other words, an additional 60 days was more than enough time to finish the National Interest Determination. The deadline was sound, the benefits are clear – the only thing arbitrary here is the decision to reject jobs, security and energy from a strong ally.

      Mark, EnergyTomorrow.org

      • pcj says:

        If there is a choice between what is good for Americans and what will benefit his special interests/donors and buddies, he will always choose the second option and blame the Republicans for whatever he can…but then the Dems have absolutely nothing they can brag about so they have to blame someone to deflect any bad points against them…

    29. cynthia tully says:

      Two analogies:
      1. What can you expect from a pig but a grunt!!!
      2. This IDIOT doesn't has sense to come in out ofthe rain. He is an idiot!!!!!!

    30. Steven A. Sylwester says:

      President Obama did the right thing in rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, and he displayed courage in doing so. If I must stand alone in applauding him, then I will clap my hands long and hard until others finally stand with me.

      Our difficult time in history can never be our excuse. We must not fall into stupidity in our haste to create jobs. Stop and think! Get out of the present moment and ask yourself: What do we owe the past? and what do we owe the future?

      In asking myself those two questions, I found my answer in writing a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which can be read at: http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2012/01/wa

      My entire proposed amendment has seven sections, the first four of which are the following:

      Proposed Amendment: Water, Sun, and Underground Natural Resources Management
      Re: Article. IV. Section. 3. Paragraph. 2.

      Section. 1.
      The Congress shall have presiding jurisdiction over all public waters in the United States. Public waters shall be all waters:
      1) from groundwater springs or from headwaters, snow melt, or runoff that combine to form brooks, creeks, and streams that flow into an ocean or gulf or that become tributaries to rivers that flow into an ocean or gulf;
      2) from aquifers accessed or potentially accessed by human-made wells and/or pumping mechanisms; and
      3) from lakes of any size and any origin that serve as water sources for any life-sustaining human uses, including fishing and agricultural uses.
      The States shall be responsible for all waters of any sort originating in the States until the waters first cross a State boundary or until the waters begin to define the boundary between two States or two nations, at which point the federal government shall become wholly responsible for those waters thereafter.

      Section. 2.
      Presiding jurisdiction and responsibility shall be to guarantee pure and clean water:
      1) that is free from human-made or human-caused pollutants that are toxic or harmful to any living creatures and/or plant life in nature and
      2) that is treatable to be made safe for human drinking, cooking, and hygiene in every case, including in the case of pregnant women, except when natural flooding or other polluting disasters occur.
      The Congress shall provide remedy if necessary when pollutions occur in public waters and shall legislate the fines and punishments to be levied when municipalities and/or companies are found guilty of polluting. The Congress shall act when new scientific discovery reveals that existing standards are insufficient to protect good health and when new technology invention allows for the affordable improvement of existing standards.

      Reckless and/or negligent polluting of public waters shall be a felony, and willful polluting of public waters for profit that causes either human death or at least a yearlong loss of use of a public waters source that had been potable for an established population of more than 5,000 people shall be a capital offense. Corporate executives shall be held personally accountable for any polluting of public waters done by their companies when foreknowledge can be proven.

      Section. 3.
      Municipal water treatments shall include only those substances and processes that are used solely for water purification purposes. No municipal water treatments of any sort that are intended to be either medicinal or health promoting as additives in human drinking water shall be allowed.

      Section. 4.
      Nowhere in the United States shall public waters be controlled by a private citizen or by a corporation that is not a municipality. Public access to free drinking water shall be a human right at all times in every municipality in the United States. The legal owner of all public waters shall be the United States of America.

      * * *

      Anyone who does not know that the coming water crisis in America will make all other national concerns insignificant by comparison is someone who is not paying attention. We cannot afford to be ignorant about this truth: clean potable water is more valuable than oil or gold or anything else on Earth.

      The only acceptable measure is zero tolerance when clean potable water is at risk. When words like "minimal" and "not be likely in many instances" and "no significant impact" and "not perfect" and "trade off" and "improving the environmental impact" are used in pro-pipeline articles, then the answer to whatever is being proposed must be "No."

      Understand: If you cannot drink the water, then you cannot live on the land. And if you cannot live on the land, then you cannot farm and ranch on the land. How much of America do you want to permanently designate as uninhabitable — a land of poisoned water? That is the question.

      If you want America to be energy self-sufficient, do this: http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2009/11/or

      If you want to create an abundance of permanent American jobs, do this: http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2011/12/th

      God help us.

      Steven A. Sylwester

    31. Christian says:

      The man needs to know THE SAVIOR and read THE HOLY BIBLE to have a bibical world view and lead us in THE WAY OF LIFE!!!

    32. mike swann says:

      If any of you voted for O you have no right to complain. If you didn't vote in 08, don't complain. Most Americans arfe in the dark about Obama and his ilk. Before his Presidency, there was (is) CCX, Chicago Exchange. Money was filtered to CCX by Obama. MOney from Fannie & Freddie. Franklin Raines, Clinton's first thief he made in cahrge of F&F, filtered his illegal gains in CCX. The Goldman Sacks employees are in it big. This is in England now. Gore is in on it. There are billions to be made. So, frillling oil here is out of the question.

      Americans should find out who the Bilderburgs are, history of ACORN, Valerie Jarrett (Obama's top advisor) an old pal from Chicago. Her father wasw a member of an American Communist group. She wiped out thousnad of Habitat for Humanity money, and build no homes for the poor blacks in Chicago. George Soros has $10 billion of our money that O invested in his Petrobas Oil Corp

    33. Mary E says:

      This makes perfect sense from Obama's viewpoint. The companies that will be working on the pipeline have not given him any financial support so in his mind it would not be ethical to allow them to get busy and hire thousands of American workers. The support jobs that would be created by this construction would be enormous, but once again none of the support companies have not given him enough if any financial support. These companies are not his cronies so therefore the jobs created are not important. A tyrant only cares about his needs and wants, the peasants such as ourselves are dispensable and only there to work and provide to his glory.

    34. Steve Richmond says:

      What a shame. I heard on Rush that another plan was in the works. They would build the pipeline from the U.S. Northern border to Texas. Since they would not be crossing international borders, they wouldn't need Obama's approval. Canada would be losing many jobs, however. Is there anything we can do to make this worth it to Canada?

    35. John says:

      A President that would in danger our future and well-being with this cheap political act is not deserving of our support.

    36. What I find amazing is some still think POTUS is ignorant instead of the truth: He WANTS to bring this country to it's knees. #tcot #teaparty

    37. Pingback: Obama Can’t Summon the Energy

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