Friday, December 2, 2011

Keystone Pipeline Not Entirely Dead--Yet

I'm happy to say that Barack Obama's big gift to the ecoweenie portion of his political base may yet be derailed. During the second week of November, Obama's State Department decided to "delay" (read "kill") the Keystone XL Canadian-American oil pipeline. The original discussion of this travesty can be accessed here: Keystone Pipeline. The Jobs President likes pie-in-the-sky, so he nixed a truly shovel-ready project to win back part of his base.

All reasonable estimates of this project (which was already in high gear in Canada) say that this pipeline would produce 20,000 new jobs "right away" on our side of the border. Tangentially, even more jobs would be created among the 1400 U.S. companies who sell products and offer services to oil transport.

Thirty-seven Republican Senators are sponsoring a bill offered by Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Indiana). The bill is called The North American Energy Security Act. The title recognizes that the miserable state of our economy and the static unemployment numbers are among the most serious security threats to America's survival as a world power. Lugar's bill specifically addresses the Keystone XL pipeline, but also contains provisions for going forward with other similar projects which have all been thoroughly vetted and have complied with all federal requirement, including environmental impact reports.

President Obama is only interested in creating government-subsidized green projects which are largely unlikely to succeed and which will take years of research and development before final approval. He is only interested in creating jobs for federal employees, jobs which depend on government largess, or jobs which involve heavy government intervention. Keystone XL fits none of those criteria. It is truly shovel-ready, and will produce both jobs and revenue almost entirely in the private sector (tax-payers rather than tax-eaters), right away.

Likewise, Obama couldn't care less about the American people or American prosperity. His only interest is his own reelection and beatification. Knowing that people who work for a living will not be voting for him anyway (union members partially-excluded). He knows that ecoweenies and big government lovers will vote for him. So he finds it politically-expedient to pander to the lefties who were beginning to drift away from him. When the left started criticizing him for not standing in the way of a project that they simply don't like, he caved in.

Obama found a way to accomplish this political stall without having to directly attack his own ecoweenies in the Environmental Protection Agency that had given the project final approval. He could babble about protecting the environment, listening to the people (the left people), and protecting America from a bad deal with Canada. That put the project under the power of the State Department instead of the Interior Department and the EPA. It was a clever dodge to avoid having to deal with a pipeline that could now be delayed until after the 2012 elections.

In fact, the ploy succeeded in the delay (so far), but is another foreign policy boondoggle. The Canadians acted in good faith, assisted in the American environmental studies, agreed to changes that addressed local concerns, and went forward with its end of the project on the assumption America would keep its word. They forgot to account for Obama. Canadians can't vote in American elections, and the longtime friendly relationship between America and Canada is far less important to the perpetual campaigner than a few thousand votes created or saved for his green constituency.

Once again, a longtime ally gets slapped in the face. Once again, large numbers of jobs in a genuinely shovel-ready project are squelched. Once again, government bureaucrats control the very life's blood of a private enterprise. Once again, the Democrats betray America by claiming to find flaws in a project that was thoroughly investigated and approved over an arduous three year process. Once again, the green tail wags the American dog. Once again, they sacrifice jobs and prosperity over a phony environmental concern. They demand perfection before approval. Ain't gonna happen. Every project is going to offend someone. Civilization always requires trade-offs. And as soon as the elections are over, the imperfections will be forgotten anyway.

The State Department was entirely unprepared for the large backlash regarding the pipeline. State Department spokesman Mark Toner was asked about the Energy Security Act and didn't have a clue what the news people were asking about. Three days later, rather than face serious questioning about the motives behind the delay, Toner issued a written statement:

"This department remains committed to ensuring a transparent, thorough and rigorous review of whether the proposed pipeline project is in the national interest. Consistent with Executive Order No. 13337 (yep, another executive order), after consultations with a broad range of stakeholders, we determined it is necessary to specifically assess alternative routes around the environmentally sensitive Nebraska Sand Hills. Based on past experience and possible total mileage of alternative routes that would need to be reviewed, we anticipate the evalutaion could conclude as early as the first quarter of 2013. We look forward to continuing to consult with Congress as this process moves forward."

Wouldn't it have been refreshing if this ultimate bureaucrat had simply said: "We already have all the reviews, we already decided on the routes (no viable new ones will be proposed), we know everything we need to know, but since we'll gain more green votes than we'll lose job votes, we decided that it was politically-expedient to delay until after the presidential election?"

I wish the sponsors of the bill all the luck and success in the world. But I also recognize that Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid knows how to kill a bill faster than almost anyone. And even if it got past him, it would still have to pick up a filibuster-proof supermajority of conservative Republicans, weak-kneed Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats to have any chance of succeeding. The Great Job-Creator Obama will probably get his victory on the issue. Whether he'll get enough votes to win in 2012 is less sure.


Tennessee Jed said...

It is a read made 2012 campaign ad waiting to happen. It would be nice if it was well done hammering, not only on the fact the studues were already done, but also that it killed jobs (pass the bill) AND screwed our ally and neighbor

Joel Farnham said...

Unfortunately the Media isn't interested in News. It is only interested in sound-bites that helps Obama, hurts the Republicans and destroys any good candidate against Obama. They prefer their sound-bites to do triple duty.

I do include Fox News in this media cluster-f#@%. Fortunately there is the internet, and this will play well on blogs that deign to actually be interested in getting the best candidate for President. The message will get out, but maybe not to the right people.

tryanmax said...

I'm glad this subject came up again. I saw an ad on TV this morning that is part of a campaign that deserves to spread around. We are the Internet, so get to work:


I’m a Nebraskan First.

I want you to know: It is impossible for crude oil to contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer.

Bill Sydow Director, Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Geological & Petroleum Engineer Hometown: Rushville, Nebraska

Crude oil doesn’t sink in the soil.

Unlike water, gasoline, diesel fuel or ethanol, crude oil will not “sink” to any appreciable degree in the soil. That’s because crude oil is, essentially, thick and sticky.

History supports what I am saying. Since oil was discovered in Nebraska in 1939, we have drilled 20,000 wells in search of oil and gas, the majority of them right down through the Ogallala Aquifer. Yet, in producing and transporting over 500 million barrels of Nebraska crude, we have never contaminated the Aquifer with oil.

Good for America. Safe for Nebraska. Keystone XL Pipeline Visit

Bill Sydow has received no consideration from TransCanada. The opinions expressed are his own.

(original emphasis)

Unknown said...

Tennessee: I certainly hope that Republicans will concentrate their message on the number of "shovel-ready" jobs this delay has killed at a time when jobs are so desperately needed. Obama's gang threw half a billion dollars at a solar energy producer that was fiscally unsound and would never produce more than 1,500 jobs some time in the imaginary future (Solyndra).

Here we have a project that was already reviewed and approved by every appropriate federal agency, that would deliver oil in a couple of provable years, and that would put 20,000 people to work immediately. In addition, it requires little or no federal money. Republicans do indeed need to hammer that point home.

Unknown said...

Joel: The MSM will always squelch a clear story like this if it can. I haven't seen any Fox coverage of the proposed bill, but when it did cover the original decision to delay, I found their coverage was relatively fair. I would like to have seen a stronger message, but they are the only news network which covered it as "jobs lost" rather than "environment saved." I think the local environmentalists are way off base, but fair news reporting has to include their concerns along with the counter-arguments that I consider overwhelming.

Unknown said...

tryanmax: Thanks for the links. Like most environmental issues since the late 60s and early 70s, it's one small sector of the community backed by big bucks from the left that wants to protect something hardly worth protecting and which wouldn't be harmed by the project in the first place.

As everyone here knows, in California one stinking, useless fish has nearly killed the greatest agricultural area in the world. Outside of the ecofreak community and the EPA you couldn't find even 20 Californians who ever heard of the delta smelt. This is all phony environmentalism designed to set up hysterical opposition to a vital private enterprise that creates real jobs for real people.

tryanmax said...

Lawhawk--you are more right than you know about the "local environmentalists" being way off base. The main group set against the XL pipeline isn't even an environmental group. It is BOLD Nebraska, a branch of ProgressNow. There has even been open speculation (though no hard evidence) of a connection between this group and Warren Buffett.

Actually, it's hard for a liberal environmentalist to gain much traction in Nebraska. We invented Arbor Day almost 100 years before Earth Day came about. We've got "new urbanism" in full swing in our large cities (which I think is actually pretty neat). And hunters do more to protect wilderness than any environmentalist could ever hope to. Frankly, the pipeline is about the only issue they've got.

Unknown said...

tryanmax: Nebraska politics always seemed very sensible to me. As a young political science student, I was fascinated with your unicameral legislature. Why have two houses when both are elected directly anyway? One less layer of redundant government eliminated entirely.

I had read a few articles about BOLD. It does seem that they are pretend environmentalists who are really just cover for the progressive agenda.

I would have to rely on your Nebraska expertise as to how the pipeline would affect the look and feel of that part of Nebraska. But if it's anything like the California Water Project, the mitigation portions of the project would be an improvement over the land in its natural state. Pipelines may not be very pretty, but what's so beautiful about sand hills (or Delta smelt, for that matter)?

Individualist said...

When he was a Republican I was helping Mark Little in his run for congreess against Corrine Brown in 1994. He sent me as moral support for my friend Todd who was his representative on the panel to a Greenpeace environmental meeting. we basically did not say very much to anyone.

I sat there and listened as some woman literally suggested we ban all ocean fishing for a period of 10 years with everyone else cheering her on. People stood up and gave testimonials on how they survived cancer that they were certain they got from chemicals the Water department put in the drinking water.

I remember leaving there thinking all of these people are crazy. This is what the environmental groups are made of. People with very little sense who have decided corproations are behind the issues in their lives who won't listen to facts and want to dictate to everyone else what to do.

How else can nonsense like this occur.

AndrewPrice said...

As I said before, this is what you get when you vote for Democrats.

Unknown said...

Indi: I encountered the envirowackos more than once over the years. One suggested that all fishing should stop because of mercury poisoning. I suggested that they make great homemade thermometers. All I got was a blank stare.

As a planning commissioner back in the 80s, one project we were preparing to approve was up for public hearing. I was still a naive Democrat at the time, and when an environmental group showed up to oppose the project because it would ruin the habitat of the red-tailed hawk, I listened. We put the public hearing over for two weeks for further study. The argument was that the raptor would become extinct with homes and streets being built on a particular hillside (called Indian Hills because of the Chumash Indian caves that we had already decided had to be preserved).

Two weeks later I knew a whole lot more about environmentalism. The red-tailed hawk loves civilization. The more people there are, the more it likes the suburban environment. In fact, we found out that its favorite nesting place was over the median strips under the overpasses of the Simi Valley Freeway (now called the Ronald Reagan Freeway). I never again took the claims of environmentalists at face-value.

After leaving Southern California to return to San Francisco, I also found out that the red-tailed hawk is much-beloved by the locals. It nests mostly in nooks and crannies of the tallest skyscrapers, and sweeps down to make a meal of the not-so-beloved pigeons. Without those man-made mountains, the hawks would be a lot hungrier.

Unknown said...

Andrew: But we have to protect the endangered RINO. LOL

tryanmax said...

That occurred to me while I was trying to recall exactly what the legislation was supposed to be about. I gave up, the only reason I remember it had something to do with the environment is because I remember what the guy looked like. He looked like he was himself recycled! LOL!

Unknown said...

tryanmax: It never matters what the legislation is, the mantra of brain-dead environmentalists is always the same: "Mother nature, blah, blah, blah. Save the XXXXXX, blah, blah, blah. Republicans want us to drink poisoned water and breathe polluted air, blah, blah, blah."

Everything they say, do and are is recycled.

tryanmax said...

The view? Here is what sandhills look like: PIC Aren't you just itching to go see some in person, now?

Unknown said...

tryanmax: View or the aquifer. But I like your version better. LOL

tryanmax said...

The only good thing I can say about the sandhills, and this is as a lifelong Nebraskan mind, is that they are almost completely privately owned. I guess no one would buy preserving them for their natural beauty. But hey, at least it ain't Kansas. I didn't understand what "flat" meant until I drove through Kansas.

Unknown said...

tryanmax: Privately-owned? The feds must be slipping. Beautiful scenic lands like that (t.i.c)should be owned by Big Brother in DC, not by local private property-owners. I'll have to send a note off to Barack Obama and suggest he make it a national monument, and pay a dime on the dollar for the confiscation. LOL

Post a Comment