Quote of the Day:
One difference between the developed and developing worlds is honest, transparent government that treats investors fairly. By that standard, the Obama Administration’s handling of the Keystone XL pipeline shows the U.S. is sliding closer to Third World politics than Americans would like to admit.
–Wall Street Journal editorial
TransCanada Corp. has asked for halt in the State Department's umpeenth review of its the Keystone XL Pipeline plan–ostensibly to wait until the state of Nebraska finishes its review. Such a delay would put State's review after President Obama leaves office. The Obama administration, which has delayed a yes or no on flimsy pretexts, will likely now want to speed up the process.
The Wall Street Journal explains:
The company’s reasonable fear is that Mr. Obama will reject the permit in the weeks before the global climate-change fiesta in Paris in December. He would then use this as a chit to prod other countries to sign onto bigger CO2 reductions.
This triumph of politics is part of a pattern for a White House that has stretched its bureaucratic power to delay, undermine or scuttle investments in mining and energy production, especially fossil fuels. Other examples include Alaska’s Pebble Mine project, Shell’s drilling in the Arctic and liquid natural gas terminals, among others.
This is the capricious rule enforcement that companies expect in Argentina or Cameroon. But then the U.S. is no longer capitalism’s leading light. In the World Bank’s latest Doing Business survey, the U.S. ranks seventh overall. But it is 33rd in the ease of obtaining construction permits, just behind St. Kitts and Nevis but ahead of Belarus. The U.S. is 49th in ease of starting a business and 53rd in paying taxes. . . .
TransCanada deserves to have its request granted given its abysmal treatment, but the green lobbies are already demanding that Mr. Obama deny it and reject the permit anyway. In that case TransCanada would have to refile its application and start the review process all over again. America is now a country in which investors have to account for political risk as much as business risk.
Hillary Clinton has come out against the Keystone Pipeline so green light would depend on the election of a Republican. As for the present, something tells me that President Obama may finally be willing to quit stalling.