Free Markets, Free People

Keystone XL pipeline: How long will Obama delay this time

In the wake of sequestration, an opportunity to do the right thing for this country arises.  Unfortunately, it arises within an administration ideologically, and therefore adamantly, opposed to the idea of more fossil fuel:

Today the State Department released yet another positive environmental review for the northern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline project. The State Department approved the original pipeline route through Nebraska, which was supposedly less environmentally friendly, without any problems.

It is no surprise, then, that the State Department also seems to look favorably on this second iteration of the project in this fourth report—a report that should have been unnecessary. For the record, the pipeline also received a stamp of approval from Nebraskans.

Yes, that’s right, the Obama State Department has given the Keystone XL pipeline favorable reviews before.  It has been the executive, in this case, arbitrarily overruling the reports, inserting himself in a process he really has no business in and delaying the project.

IER senior VP Daniel Kish sums it up pretty well:

"This is, as President Obama says, ‘a teachable moment.’  It teaches us why our government’s policies continue to stifle job creation, investment and new energy sources and instead spends valuable time and increasingly limited resources studying things to death.

"While we welcome this report, we also note this is the 4th such environmental report on the Keystone XL pipeline proposal and since it is only a “draft” there will be at least 5 federal environmental studies before a decision is made by our government on the pipeline. The Canadian government made a decision in 6 months; our government has taken 54 months so far.  This is an abject lesson in why – when it comes to energy – no one wants to deal with our government.  This is evident also by continuing falling production on federal lands at the same time U.S. oil and gas production on non-federal lands makes historic gains.  It is time for our Leaders to make a decision….Canada’s did a long time ago.  Too many are hurting and too much is at stake for any more time or money to be wasted on trivial matters and long addressed and re-addressed chimeras advanced by opponents of any and all affordable sources energy."
54 months, numerous positive reports and counting.  Canada, meanwhile, has moved on, planning, while we dither, to sell it’s product to China.  Pipelines don’t have to run through other countries which make life difficult, they can run only in Canada, to their coast for shipment to the Far East.
What is Obama delaying?
The project will accommodate up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day, create some 179,000 jobs on American soil, and continue good trade relations with a close ally. The benefits won’t stop with the oil sector, though—the Keystone project will have a positive ripple effect even in areas without the pipeline that will provide goods and services to support the pipeline.
And where do we stand in the wake of this latest favorable report?
Before any real decision is made, there will be a 45-day comment period and some time for the State Department to consider the comments. Then the notably anti-carbon Secretary of State, John Kerry, will give his recommendation and the final decision will lie with the President.
Any feeling of confidence that this administration, no matter how late in the game, will make the right decision isn’t exactly surging in me right now.
More than anything, it’s just sad that the lives and livelihoods of so many Americans rest in the incompetent hands of Barack Obama and John Kerry.

19 Responses to Keystone XL pipeline: How long will Obama delay this time

  • Oh, our Not Dictator will be delayed in all things by sequestration.  He will hardly be able to get anything done at all.  He might as well just play golf or shoot hoops.  Puuuurrrr Not Dictator.

    • I can see this leading to a “civil war” in the Democratic Party.
      Obama can’t let this go without alienating lots of green-weenies.

  • Obama now has virtually no leverage with the Keystone XL pipeline.

    TransCanada has be moving forward with the bulk of the pipeline without waiting for Obama to get all his “ducks in a row.”

    Meanwhile, Canadian PM Harper’s moves with China, setting up a possible alternate market for the oil sands production, has left the State Dept. with a “moot” decision. A “yes” would cause a “carbon” release in the US, while a “no” would cause a “carbon” release in China. The net result of either choice would mean only a change in where it is used.

    Even now, if Obama says NO, the pipeline will be used to transport oil production from Montana and Wyoming to Texas.

    There is simply no leverage for Obama to exercise. 
    Obama may huff and puff, but all the air is out of this balloon.

    Frankly, I’m surprised Obama didn’t know the preliminary report from State and dispense with this before John Kerry came onboard, as it will put him, the lead on Climate Change, in an awkward position going forward.

    • Apparently, Buffet’s railroad interests are already bringing the Canadian crude here, no problem.  Which is MUCH less safe than a pipeline, btw.

      • It didn’t occur to me when I wrote it, but Obama has positioned John Kerry as the “fall guy” on this  .. and the rest of his legacy, like Arab Spring, etc.  The are Obama IM Force … “should you be caught or killed, the Secretary President will disavow any
        knowledge” …

        Do you think any of Obama’s cabinet appointees realize their unique position as “cannon fodder” ?

      • Now we have to check if Buffet has unloaded his .. um.. Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK.A) Burlington Northern Sante Fe.
        Quick check … he sold a couple of short-run railroad lines to satisfy regulators in December .. CBEC and White City Terminal Union railroads … because they bought BNSF.

    • For all the wailing by the environmental fanatics (who care by the way about the children) concerning the dirty Canadian oil and what its GHG emissions will do to Mother Gaia, rational analysis shows that the Wheel-toWheel GHG emissions, if the oil is burned in the U.S., are indeed approx 19% higher than if we continued using oil as is from the standard oil exporting countries.  However this additional CO2 adds only a pittance to our overall GHG total, given the large contribution from coal burning facilities.  And if you apply this additional amount to the IPCC models linking global temperature increase to CO2 increase (notoriously too extreme), we might add another 0.001deg of warming to whatever the model projects for the year 2100.
      China will gladly import it anyways and Gaia does not care where it is burned.  If Hansen and company think the Canadians will stop the export because they chain themselves to the White House fence, they have their heads in the oil sands.

      • On Friday, announced:  “The Times is discontinuing the Green blog, which was created to track environmental and energy news and to foster lively discussion of developments in both areas.” The reality must be that people don’t read it, and people simply don’t find global warming a scintillating subject. So much for the notion it’s the “story of the century.”

        • Last Century.
          A former ne’er-do-well commenter from the North East used to tell us we were thinking in the last century, perhaps he admonished the Times too.

  • Yeah, but Obama cares!

  • Can someone ‘esplain to me why we’re giving $450 million to Egypt when TSA will have to hire fewer people to molest us in airports and at random points on the nation’s highways.   How many janitors would that keep on the job (heh), how many teachers?   how many ‘undocumented immigrants’ could remain in ICE custody?  How many of Michelle’s vacations must be put on hold?  How many rounds of golf?  What about Joe Biden’s plane trips to tell us about shotguns?!!
    Why are Republicans so mean?

    • I’m looking forward to the next office bash in Vegas.  Watch how nobody is ever held accountable.

      • Well, you know how it is Neo, it’s ONLY $450 million.  Can’t be taken seriously unless we’re talking a couple billion you know.

  • Still have enough of a budget to go forward with purchasing 2700 MRAPs for DHS though.  Priorities gentlemen, priorities.
    Teachers, government workers furloughed (laid off, forced to take unpaid leave, whatever….), doom to the economy!!!!!!
    or MRAPS for DHS.   Such difficult decisions.

  • The delay amounts to nothing more than Barry not being able to find a way to spin this to his best political advantage.
    Because lets face it kids, Barry is far more of a community organizer than he is leader of the free world, to expect any different, is to be totally blind to the events of last four years.

  • I have my doubts if Obama does anything but stall as he appears to be more interested in the Muslim country rather than our USA

  • If you put Obama and Kerry both together to run our country, God help us all as we are doomed before they start!