Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Keystone Kops Would Run America's Energy Policy Better Than Obama

There's been much written in the past few days about Obama's disastrous Keystone decision.  There is little doubt that Obama is simply punting on this decision and attempting to appeal to his environmental base.  The thing you need to know about the Keystone decision is that the environmental threat doesn't exist and that Obama's own DOS cleared the way for it to go forward.

Jonah Goldberg:

The environmentalists to which Obama is pandering have an understandable, if at times irrational, fear of oil spills and a religious faith in the dangers of global warming. The only problem is that blocking the pipeline will, if anything, increase the likelihood of oil spills because Canada will still bring the oil to market.

The project has been studied for three years (much longer than the Solyndra bailout took) and to be sure would not be a project that creates new pipeline over virgin territory:

The Keystone pipeline had already been essentially cleared by environmental bureaucrats. Adding the pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf wouldn’t scar some pristine wilderness; it would be more like adding just one more string to a spider web, given how many pipelines already crisscross the region.
Take a good look at this map that shows all the pipelines running through the Ogallala Aquifer.

That's some 21,000 miles of pipeline there.  Jonah Goldberg again:

Opponents say it would threaten the groundwater in Nebraska, where some 21,000 miles of pipeline already exist. But, as the American Enterprise Institute’s Kenneth Green notes, any spilled oil would have to flow uphill to reach the Ogallala Aquifer.

So you've got three things going on here that are all now debunked.

The first is that the big evil Republicans imposed an arbitrary deadline on the president forcing him to decide prematurely.  Bunk:

The President’s claim that the State Department needs even more information before it can make a sound decision is equally ridiculous. State didn’t start reviewing the project last month when Congress set a sixty day deadline on making a decision. The review process has been going on for over three years now. The State Department has studied thousands of pages of detailed reports, data, maps and studies, and his issued thousands of pages of its own reports, including a massive eight volume environmental impact statement.

The President wants the public to believe that Congress imposed an arbitrary, impossibly short deadline on it. In fact, what Congress did was force the administration to end the years of dithering and an actual decision for a change. The President had more than enough information to make the right decision, but – sadly and all too predictably – he choose to appease the environmental fringe once more.

The second fallacy is that this pipeline would cross virgin territory and threaten previously unspoiled ground.  Bunk. Look at the maps.

The third fallacy is that the administration needs more time and information.  Bunk again.  Obama's own State Department has already cleared the way for the pipeline to go forward:

DOS studied a number of alternative routes to minimize or completely avoid the pipeline crossing over Sand Hills. The department worked with the Bureau of Land Management and state agencies where the pipeline passes through and made more than 340 minor realignments to the pipeline route.

There is absolutely no reason to delay the entire project when DOS explicitly signed off on additional route variations that could occur throughout the construction process.

Clearly it is Obama, and not the Republicans, who are making this decision a political one.  In fact, Obama phoned Prime Minister Stephen Harper to explain that the merits of the project were not the issue but that the evil Republicans are:

Obama called Prime Minister Stephen Harper to explain that the decision on Wednesday was not on the merits of the pipeline but rather on the “arbitrary nature” of a Feb. 21 deadline set by Republican legislators as part of a tax measure he signed, Harper’s office said.

Canada will grow weary of Obama's shenanigans and turn to China:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a telephone call yesterday, told Obama “Canada will continue to work to diversify its energy exports,” according to details provided by Harper’s office. Canadian Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver said relying less on the U.S. would help strengthen the country’s “financial security.”

The “decision by the Obama administration underlines the importance of diversifying and expanding our markets, including the growing Asian market,” Oliver told reporters in Ottawa.

Why not?  Brazil already has:
Less than a month after President Obama visited Brazil in March to make a pitch for oil, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was off to Beijing to sign oil contracts with two huge state-owned Chinese companies.

The deals are part of a growing oil relationship between the two countries that, thanks to a series of billion-dollar agreements, is giving China greater influence over Brazil’s oil frontier.

Obama has made it perfectly clear that he's not interested in developing United States energy reserves.

Mark Whittington:

Obama's policy in regard to oil and gas has been a study in incompetence driven by an ideological mania against hydrocarbon fuel in favor of more politically correct forms of energy production. This has not only led to what amounts to a campaign against oil and gas production in the U.S., but embarrassing scandals such as Solyndra, brought on by unwise federal loan guarantees to dubious green energy companies. 

This is occurring at a time when Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz through which much of the world's oil passes from Persian Gulf fields. The very threat has led to a spike in the price of oil and of gasoline. 

Between shutting down the industry in the Gulf of Mexico for months, killing hundreds of jobs and auxiliary small businesses that go along with that, and now the Keystone decision, it's clear that Obama would rather tilt at windmills and solar panels.

So now we don't get Canada's oil, we don't get Brazil's oil, and we're stymied at nearly every turn in trying to get to our own oil  (When's the last time you saw a rig in ANWR?).


(Photo/Map credit:  PennWell MAPSearch)

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