Obama’s Politically Motivated Rejection of Keystone XL a Hammer Blow to Economy, Energy Security
Energy experts, politicians, editorial writers and just about anyone wanting to get Indiana and the nation back on a growth path are searching for words to adequately convey their outrage at the president’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline project. That is, and still get published in a family newspaper or media outlet.
The Houston Chronicle called the president’s decision to reject pipeline builder TransCanada’s permit a “shockingly shortsighted decision” and the president’s excuse about being rushed into making the call by Congressional Republicans “pure fiction.” In fact, as the paper rightly pointed out, the project has been “studied to death” for three years. This timeline from the Heritage Foundation points out that 280,000 public comments have been gathered in that period.
USA Today called Obama’s move a “kick-the-can decision” which “leaves a confusing muddle that exemplifies the continuing fecklessness of U.S. energy policy.” The Wall Street Journal called the decision to push back the permitting until after the election “a crock.” Even the Obama-friendly Washington Post pointed out that without the 1,700-mile pipeline, Canada would develop and export its vast oil sands resources anyway because it’s “far too valuable to keep in the ground” and would go to energy-hungry China.
So no one will be surprised that Canada’s top energy official, in the wake of the Keystone punt, is already talking about diversifying his country’s oil exports – 99 percent of which now go to the United States – by selling to China. Asked about Canada’s options now, Chief Economist Fatih Birol of the International Energy Agency, very plainly explained to Bloomberg News that the world’s energy markets “will need every drop of oil” for years to come.
On the jobs front, Keystone isn’t just a potential boon for Canada and western U.S. states. Sen. Lugar said the pipeline, which would carry oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, would have created 8,000 Hoosier jobs alone by 2035 – and benefited dozens of firms here. He rightly pointed out that Obama caved into his environmentalist backers. Apparently, the working families in this state who are coping with a sluggard economy and a 9 percent unemployment rate, don’t get equal consideration.
Sen. Coats, righteously angry, called the Keystone decision “both irrational and disingenuous” and said Obama sacrificed “good paying jobs for the sake of appeasing extremist members of the environmental lobby.” The shovel-ready Keystone project would have created some 20,000 good paying jobs and supported hundreds of thousands of others jobs in the coming years.
Now think about it. Obama has blocked a project that would have given the United States a secure and safe pipeline that would have fed our economy with 700,000 barrels of oil every day – and created hundreds of thousands of jobs. And this from our most trusted and closest trading partner, Canada.
That’s nearly half of what the United States receives from the Persian Gulf, through the Strait of Hormuz, which is shaping up to be the next global flashpoint for military conflict. If that does happen, Obama will learn just how it feels to be “rushed” into a decision about energy policy. And the urgency will come from people who aren’t at all as friendly as Canadians.