Keystone XL pipeline
President Obama’s “Jobs Council”, formed to take the heat out of criticism that he’s not doing enough to foster job growth, has come back with an interim report that can pretty well be distilled into three words: “drill, drill, drill”:
President Obama’s jobs council called Tuesday for an “all-in approach” to energy policy that includes expanded oil-and-gas drilling as well as expediting energy projects like pipelines.
“[W]e should allow more access to oil, natural gas and coal opportunities on federal lands,” states the year-end report released Tuesday by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
This, of course, is directly at odds with the administration’s attempt to “green up” American by pushing alternate and renewable fuels while engaging in foot-dragging, regulation and bureaucratic red-tape to slow down and sometimes stop the search for (and use of) fossil fuels.
You can almost hear the jaws of Steven Chu and Ken Salazar falling open. So what’s a President to do?
Well first, argue that what they said isn’t what they said, of course:
White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted Tuesday that the jobs council report does not endorse the Keystone pipeline.
"Well, first of all, the Jobs Council wasn’t talking about Keystone specifically," Carney said at his daily briefing. "The Jobs Council was talking about the importance of expanding domestic oil and gas production, a goal this president shares and has expounded upon at length, and has taken action as a policy matter to demonstrate his commitment to."
Nice double-talk Jay … this President “shares” the goal of expanding domestic oil and gas production about as much as al Qaeda shares a goal for peaceful secular coexistence with the West.
His administration talks the talk, but when you look at the action they’ve taken it is hard to find evidence of that “shared” goal.
The problem for him, however, is this Jobs Council was his idea and he certainly implied that its existence meant he’d listen to their findings. While he and Carney can weasel-word all they wish about the Keystone Pipeline, it does mean jobs. Just as the shale gas finds in in the Ohio and Pennsylvania area do.
But instead we see the usual suspects involved in trying to demonize fracking and stop that process with the tacit approval of the Obama administration.
The report notes that the Obama administration has called for new lease sales and said it will consider opening up new areas to drilling. But it says “further expanding and expediting the domestic production of fossil fuels both offshore and onshore (in conjunction with more electric and natural gas vehicles) will reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil and the huge outflow of U.S. dollars this reliance entails.”
Beyond oil and gas, the report calls for policies that improve energy efficiency, encourage private investment in energy research and development and expand renewable energy.
Note two things. One the Council tries to soften the blow to the administration by attempting to gild their record up to now – an acknowledgement that the administration has “called for new lease sales and said it will consider opening up new areas to drilling”.
But again, what actions have they taken to this point to do those two things? Nada. Again, all talk, no action – at least no action that conforms with what the President has supposedly called for.
And also note the council calls on policies to “encourage private investment in energy research and development and expand renewable energy”. Why? Because the possibility of another Solyndra would be vastly reduced. Sound advice that will most likely go unheeded.
Republicans, as you might imagine, have seized upon this report:
House Republicans quickly pounced on the jobs council report Tuesday, noting that the recommendations echo their "all-of-the-above" energy strategy.
"The President’s Jobs Council today confirmed what House Republicans have known all along, that American energy production will spur job creation and strengthen our national security," House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said in a statement. "Unfortunately, it appears President Obama is ignoring his Council’s recommendations, much as he has ignored the views of House Republicans on energy production, economic growth and job creation."
More broadly, the jobs report calls for expanded oil-and-gas drilling, as well as “safe and responsible” natural-gas extraction from shale formations.
So? So this is going to be a tough one for Obama to ignore, especially as his election campaign gears up. He’s voted present on Keystone by delaying a decision until after the election. But events keep going to spite him – PM Harper of Canada, tired of the delays and nonsense surrounding the pipeline is now wooing China and Obama’s own Jobs Council has now pointed to the common sense solution to creating thousands of jobs – get the government to hell out of the way.
Problem? The man just isn’t wired that way. Government is the solution in his world – never the problem, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
Let’s see how he handles this. If Carney’s statements are any indication, China will be shipping Canada’s oil sands production west in the next few years unless we manage to get this man back to Chicago in January of next year where he belongs.