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November 11 2011

The Keystone Decision: Pivot To Politics

Charlotte Hays

Message to Obama administration: the idea is to create jobs, not kill them.  

With the decision yesterday to delay a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 election, the Obama administration once again demonstrated that it refuses to put jobs first, even in a time of historic unemployment. The Daily Caller put it well:

Roughly 20,000 oil industry construction jobs are being thrown under Obama’s 2012 campaign bus, largely because the president needs to pump up his sagging support among the environmentalists.

The pitch came Thursday when President Barack Obama put his leadership behind a State Department plan to study alternative routes for the pipeline, which is intended to bring oil from Alberta in Canada to oil refineries along the Gulf Coast.

The plan already has been studied to death. The application was filed in 2008 and in April 2008, according to the Wall Street Journal, the State Department issued environmental impact statements to the effect that there would be "no significant impacts" on the environment.

But environmental groups have sought to make Keystone a “green virtue test:”

"We'll see if [Mr. Obama] is an oil guy or a people guy," eco-agitator Bill McKibben recently warned at an Occupy Wall Street event, and the Sierra Club has threatened that it won't "mobilize the environmental base" in 2012 if he approves the [Keystone] project. Various Hollywood worthies have marched in front of the White House in protest.

The Keystone delay makes one thing crystal clear: Mr. Obama is not a jobs guy. In a time when the economy so desperately needs precisely the kind of shot in the arm Keystone would provide, the administration’s kowtowing to its environmental base is truly dispiriting. The not-so-jolly green giant job killers take precedence over the people who could go back to work if Keystone were approved.

The delay could be permanent because Canadians want to move ahead and will sell the product elsewhere.  The administration's cowardice doesn't stop the oil from being extracted and transported—it just means that the U.S. may not get any advantage.

The Daily Caller reports:

Alberta’s top official said this evening that the White House’s surprise opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline pressures the province to seek different export routes for its valuable oil.

“Alberta is an export-based economy and today’s decision is a clear reminder about the strategic importance of diversifying our export markets,” said Alison Redford, the new right-of-center premier of Canada’s Alberta province.

Her statements suggest officials will work to build alternative pipelines to Canada’s East or West Coast, bypassing the United States.

Redford, who hasn’t entirely given up on getting U.S. approval, said that she hopes the decision was based on science and not on the “hyperbole from very well-organized interest groups.”

Keystone could have been a Sister Souljah moment for President Obama. He could have said he is putting the creation of jobs front and center. Actually, he says that all the time—but approving the Keystone pipeline would shown he means it.

Here’s a headline in the Calgary Herald:

Pipeline Decision Signals U.S. Not Open for Business

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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