Free Markets, Free People


Obama takes ownership of Keystone XL pipeline decision

A day after the White House said that the State Department would make the call, President Obama has decided he’ll make the ultimate decision on the Keystone XL pipeline which would bring petroleum product from the tar sands of Canada to the US.

This has become a cause the “climate change” crowd has embraced and have tried to paint as one which would supposedly increase “global warming”.  Of course the actual science of “global warming” doesn’t support the contention that the earth is warming, however that is a part of the science that these folks have decided to ignore.

The fact that Obama has chosen to make the decision himself may confuse some – why not let the State Department, who makes decisions such as this when a foreign nation is involved?  Well that’s what makes me uneasy.   There’s an election coming and his environmental base has been very disappointed in him.  Read between the lines of the statement he made and the answer he provided to a question:

“We need to encourage domestic oil and natural gas production,” Obama added. “We need to make sure that we have energy security and aren’t just relying on Middle East sources. But there’s a way of doing that and still making sure that the health and safety of the American people and folks in Nebraska are protected, and that’s how I’ll be measuring these recommendations when they come to me.”

The “but” is rather pregnant isn’t it?

Then the question concerning jobs and the promise of thousands of jobs if the pipeline is approved.   Will that have an effect on his decision?

“It does, but I think folks in Nebraska like all across the country aren’t going to say to themselves, ‘We’ll take a few thousand jobs if it means that our kids are potentially drinking water that would damage their health or rich land that’s so important to agriculture in Nebraska are being adversely affected,’” Obama said, adding, “because those create jobs, and you know when somebody gets sick that’s a cost that the society has to bear as well. So these are all things that you have to take a look at when you make these decisions.”

For your information, petroleum pipelines crisscross this country.  In fact, more than 168,000 miles of petroleum pipelines have been in operation, safely, for decades. 85% of all petroleum product is moved by pipeline.

usMap

So this isn’t about “safety” – the product has been moved in safety for years.  It’s much like the fracking argument.  It is unfounded and based in fear of something that isn’t true.  And like the fracking argument, the opposition likes to try to frame the procedure as something new and dangerous.   Well it isn’t new.   Fracking has been in use since 1948 very safely and over a million wells have been developed using it.

The argument used by opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline is that the petroleum shipped in that pipeline is more corrosive and dangerous than regular petroleum product.   The Association of Oil Pipelines answers that question:

Opponents have also wrongly suggested that crude from the Canadian oil sands is somehow more corrosive than other heavy crudes, which have been moved safely for decades.  It is not.  The oil sands may be produced differently, but the product readied for pipeline transportation will be behave like any other heavy crude oil. There is simply no evidence pipelines carrying diluted bitumen behave any differently than a pipeline carrying conventional crude oil, or that diluted bitumen is more corrosive than other crude oils. Pipeline operators don’t build multi-billion dollar assets to then destroy them with a corrosive product.

So Obama gets to decide between jobs and increased energy security and politics.  We currently get 400,000 barrels a day from the oil sands in Alberta.  This pipeline promises to add another 700,000 barrels a day from a secure source.   Or will Canada be forced to build a pipeline to the west coast and ship it to China?

This should be a no brainer.   Jobs along with safe transportation of a vital commodity which powers our economy is a winner for the nation.  But this is a president in political trouble and desperately trying to shore up his eroding base.

Will he put the well being and energy security of America and Americans first? 

Or will he play the politics card?

Unfortunately, the latter is much more probable than the former, given how political Obama is.  Don’t be surprised if he turns down jobs and energy security for the promise of increased political support from his base.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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22 Responses to Obama takes ownership of Keystone XL pipeline decision

  • NASA’s “scientist” Hanson has called the pipeline a “dirty needle”.
    From some of the quotes by Bad Luck Barry, he will follow his Collectivist leanings, and let the Chinese have the Canadian oil so the “rich land” of Nebraska is safe…or something.
    Safe, and dark and cold.

  • “and you know when somebody gets sick when you elect an ignorant egotistical jackass President that’s a cost that the society has to bear as well. So these are all things that you have to take a look at when you make these decisions”
    Fixed that for the man.

  • Canada would probably build a pipeline to the west coast and ship it to Seattle most likely right now. 

    But yes, investing in a pipeline directly south would commit them to US sales in the future much more than a pipeline to their coast that could go anywhere. 

    Perhaps making the flow to China or the rest of the World more flexible is the objective and the environment is just a cover.  Just sayin’. 

  • The President approves the pipeline for obvious reasons.
    The President is attacked by the environmental lobby.
    The President is feted by the media for “decisiveness” “prudent judgment” and “making a tough decision in trying circumstances”
    The President receives campaign contributions from the unions that will build the pipeline.
    The President makes campaign appearances in the mid west touting the thousands of jobs his decision “creates”

    • The President approves blocks the pipeline for obvious reasons.
      The President is attacked celebrated by the environmental lobby.
      The President is feted by the media for “decisiveness” “prudent judgment” and “making a tough decision in trying circumstances”.  He stood up for the little guy against big oil’s corporate interests.
      The President receives campaign contributions from the unions that will build the pipeline anyway (where are they going to go).
      The President makes campaign appearances in the mid west touting the thousands of jobs his decision “creates” in alternative energy projects.  The media completely ignores the failures of this policy.

      • Heh… none of the formatting worked above.  So here is what I meant (slightly edited version of the same response).

        The President blocks the pipeline for obvious reasons.
        The President is celebrated by the environmental lobby.
        The President is feted by the media for “decisiveness” “prudent judgment” and “making a tough decision in trying circumstances”.  He stood up for the little guy against big oil’s corporate interests.
        The President receives campaign contributions from the unions anyway (where are they going to go).
        The President makes campaign appearances in the mid west touting the thousands of jobs his decision “creates” in alternative energy projects.  The media completely ignores the failures of this policy.

    • I was thinking this too. If he wanted to oppose it, he’d just have State kill it quietly. The activists would know it was done and be happy. The public might not hear about it at all.

  • “Pipeline operators don’t build multi-billion dollar assets to then destroy them with a corrosive product.”
    The answer to this will be, “They don’t build multi billion dollar deep sea drilling platforms only to blow them up in the Gulf of Mexico.”
    The point being that because an accident could happen the pipeline is a danger and should not be built.  Of course, the same argument could be made for not getting out of bed in the morning because you might get hit by a bus today.  It is childish.
    Obama has a choice between his extremist base and the reality of jobs and competition with China.

    • And we should avoid building massive skyscrapers in metropolitan cities (or anywhere, for that matter) because wackjobs might fly planes into them.  Come right down to it, if we didn’t have an infrastructure of civilization, the uncivilized barbarians wouldn’t be able to destroy it and threaten thousands because they live so close together, drawing water and power and food from centralized and easily disrupted sources, so it must all come down.

      Not aimed at you TK, just saying there are plenty of risks with any major project we undertake in society, it’s rare that any project is risk free.   Course then again, that kind of thinking is contrary to the childish outlook of the Occupy Wall Streeters, and their encouraging masters at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  They live in a world where the gods deliver all the free stuff of life (food, goods, money) and they’re just trying to make sure the rich stop hijacking the supplies.

    • Its much easier to turn off a pipeline on land, clean up, repair etc.
      Its no more dangerous than a tanker truck crashing probably.
      What’s the speed the oil even moves at in the pipeline? Is it under severe pressure?

  • Here’s a theory – didn’t think he was Muslim, but Barry blocks US oil development, burns money by investing in non-feasible wind and solar that could be better used in real petro development and keeps us connected to the Middle Eastern wells.

    Couldn’t work better if he planned it no?

    • It is the Collectivist war on modernity I tells ya…!!!
      One of the several things they share with the 12th Century’s Most Happening Religion!

      • The nice thing about little Barry?  I think he’s kicking the sleeping giant.

        • I would think it is more likely that he is trying to drive up the cost of fossil fuel energy for two reasons:
          1) it makes the green alternatives competitive. Most people won’t buy solar panels for their house because the cost/benefit test currently leans heavily to staying on a coal fired electric grid.  Now, if you drive up the cost of that coal fired electric grid, by a lot, then solar panels become more practical.  Believe or not, I’ve heard this referred to as a free market solution.  I laughed.  They’re is nothing free about government intervention in a market to drive up the price of one alternative as compared to another.
          2) high energy prices would make for a ‘crisis’ and with the ‘never let a crisis go to waste’ mentality it opens up all sorts of ways for government to intervene.  Almost none of them good.

          • I don’t disagree with your thinking at all.  Barry doesn’t realize he’s kicking the giant, but he is.

  • Of course the actual science of “global warming” doesn’t support the contention that the earth is warming, however that is a part of the science that these folks have decided to ignore.

    McQ: What do you base this on? It’s clear that the earth has been warming since the Little Ice Age.  It’s not a perfectly smooth ramp, of course, and we have been in something of a lull for the past decade, but the overall trend is up, and it’s incautious to say otherwise.

      • McQ: I read Curry’s blog regularly. The BEST pre-release and Curry’s comments upon it are the source of much discussion in the climate blogs during the past week. See this topic for instance.

        Curry is saying that temperatures have gone sideways for the past ten years or so. She doesn’t believe that global warming has stopped but that it is in a lull and will pick up again due to greenhouse gases. The lull is important because it demonstrates that the climate models are inadequate, but it doesn’t disprove global warming.

        Curry is a skeptic in that she disagrees about the range of uncertainty in climate projections, she speaks out against Climateagate-style abuses of the science, and she believes that there should be more open dialog with climate skeptics and the public. Otherwise, Curry’s views are basically orthodox.

        It’s a testament to the fanatical rigidity of the climate change world that Curry is reviled for her deviations.