Hillary Clinton’s latest position of political convenience – opposition to the Keystone pipeline
As one might imagine, her opposition comes as somewhat of a surprise:
Her comments made her the last major Democratic presidential candidate to come out against Keystone, a project that has dragged through more than seven years of wrangling and several environmental reviews that appeared to favor the pipeline — most of them produced by the State Department when Clinton was secretary. Obama remains the project’s biggest wildcard: He hasn’t said whether he will grant or deny a permit for the pipeline, or when he’ll decide, even as Republicans lambaste him for repeatedly postponing the issue.
As secretary, Clinton had galvanized a nationwide activist campaign against Keystone with her off-the-cuff remarks in 2010 that the department was “inclined” to approve the $8 billion-plus project. That was her last substantive public statement on the issue until Tuesday.
But then, when poll numbers are sinking and momentum is waning, what better than to flip-flop (when you favor the candidate, it’s called a “pivot”) and throw a bone to a particular core constituency to shore up that vote? Its a move any political opportunist would surely applaud.
Why the Keystone XL pipeline has remained such a political football remains a mystery. All the past routing problems that first held up the pipeline have been satisfactorily resolved. And, after all, there are 2.3 million miles of existing oil and natural gas pipelines in the US. Why has this one remained in the news?
Simple answer? Politics. It’s about voting constituencies and keeping them happy. It certainly isn’t about what is best for the US.
As The Hill points out, it has now officially taken longer for the federal government to review the Keystone XL pipeline’s permit application than it did to build the entire transcontinental railroad 150 years ago.
Amazing and typical. As for the party that continues to tell us it is for jobs and economic growth, it blatantly turns its back on both with its opposition to the pipeline’s approval:
Consider the economic opportunity this $5.4 billion pipeline presents. The Canadian Economic Research Institute estimates it could add $172 billion in U.S. economic growth over 25 years. Meanwhile, President Obama’s own U.S. State Department estimates construction would support over 42,000 jobs. Nearly 10,000 would be skilled—aka, well-paying—jobs like steel welders, pipefitters, electricians, and heavy equipment operators.
There’s also the potential for gas prices to go even lower than they are today. According to a February 2015 report from IHS, a leading energy research firm, the “vast majority” of Keystone XL’s refined oil will stay right here in the U.S. In other words, it could further add to America’s surging oil supply that has sent gas prices plummeting over the past year.
And yes, as mentioned, that’s the US State Department estimate made while Hillary Clinton was SecState.
Environmentalists live with the fantasy that if the Keystone pipeline is blocked, the oil to be found in the oil sands of Canada and in North Dakota will simply have to be left in the ground. Of course, that’s nonsense. Instead is it is shipped by rail, a much less safe and less efficient means of transportation (but one that does amply reward a Democratic donor) than a state of the art pipeline :
This is especially so when you consider pipelines—particularly new, state-of-the-art ones like Keystone XL—are the safest mode of transportation. Ensuring we’re using the safest and most efficient methods possible only makes sense.
Indeed. So, why is Hillary Clinton opposed to safe transportation of oil and gas, the jobs and income that would come from the construction of the pipeline and economic boost it would give our economy?
Perhaps someone will ask her that at the first Democratic debate.
Yeah, I know, I’m laughing too.