If Americans needed any further proof that the Obama Administration is one of the most political on record, or that, for all the recent demagoguing, it really cares only about re-election, not about job creation, then you need look no further than its cynical Keystone XL oil pipeline decision last week.
Over the last several months, radical environmentalists along with Hollywood celebrity activists descended on the White House in protest, urging President Barack Obama to block the construction of the $7 billion pipeline that would bring in more than 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf coast. Last week, they got their wish.
The Obama Administration on Thursday announced that it would delay a decision on the pipeline until after the 2012 election. In siding with his leftist environmentalist, big Hollywood base, President Obama’s ambition is nakedly apparent, as is his total disregard for the 14 million unemployed Americans sitting on the sidelines, waiting for Washington to get out of the way so they can get back to work. And it also shows that for him, politics is more important than achieving true energy independence for the United States.
And here’s why: The Keystone pipeline would have done what the President’s hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus spending failed to do. It would have created thousands of jobs (tens of thousands, by some predictions), while generating $5.2 billion in property tax revenue for Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas. And it would have done it all with private dollars–not taxpayer dollars.
The kicker is that despite all the hoopla from the enviro-celebrity protests, this pipeline should have been anything but controversial, even by the Obama Administration’s own findings. Heritage’s Nicolas Loris explains:
Radical environmentalists act as if this is the first oil pipeline being built in the United States. We have 50,000 miles of oil pipeline in this country that have provided massive economic benefits with minimal environmental harm.
In short, building the Keystone XL pipeline is nothing new, and it’s one of the most environmentally sensible ways to transport oil. Even the Obama Administration determined it to be safe when the State Department’s recent Environmental Impact Statement found that the pipeline would pose few environmental risks.
Another important point is that even if the Keystone pipeline isn’t constructed in the United States, the resource will still be tapped, and it’s going to head elsewhere. Heritage’s David Kreutzer explains that the development of Canada’s oil sands will be slowed (thereby increasing its cost), and it will be diverted to non-U.S. consumers, meaning that the Canadian oil will be shipped across thousands of miles of ocean to Chinese refineries. Kreutzer’s admonition to the Obama Administration?
So, block the XL pipeline if you think the environment will be better served by shipping Canadian oil an extra 6,000 miles across the Pacific in oil-consuming super tankers and then refining it in less-regulated Chinese refineries. In addition, be aware that replacing the Canadian oil means the U.S. also must import more oil by tankers, which are less efficient than pipelines.
The facts, though, don’t matter to environmentalist activists. They don’t matter to certain celebrities, and now they apparently don’t matter to the Obama Administration, either. Evidently, neither do jobs or energy independence. Following the President’s decision, actor Robert Redford applauded Obama and said, “This is American democracy at its best: a president who listens to the voice of the people and shows the courage to do what’s right for the country.” No, Mr. Redford, you’re wrong. When the President puts his job over those of tens of thousands Americans, that is politics and a presidency at its worst.