After dithering on the Canada-to-U.S. oil pipeline for the entirety of his first term, the White House now says it is “highly unlikely” President Obama will sign off on the project before the November midterm elections.
The much-needed pipeline would carry Canadian tar sands oil to American Gulf Coast refineries. But the president’s convenient excuse – this time – for delay is an eminent domain case set to go before the Nebraska Supreme Court in early September. A decision wouldn’t be reached until October at the earliest.
But the fact of the matter is, Obama doesn’t have to wait for anything. He could grant the project’s construction permit at any time, allowing work to begin on sections of the 1,400-mile pipeline unaffected by the Nebraska ruling.
“This is particularly perplexing given President Obama’s use of unilateral executive power,” writes the Heritage Foundation’s Hannah Hebert. “The President’s track record demonstrates that, when he wants something, he doesn’t really care what the courts have to say.”
Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune recently told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that he believes Obama will reject the project – but that the president will probably wait until next year to do it.
Recent surveys show that Brune and others in the far left are the only Americans who don’t overwhelmingly support Keystone. A Pew Research report last month showed 57 percent of those identifying themselves as “solid liberals” opposed the project, the only such demographic to do so. Even people identifying themselves as “hard-pressed skeptics” favored the project 60 percent.
A separate Washington Post/ABC News poll showed Americans support the pipeline by a nearly 3-to-1 margin.
And why shouldn’t they? It’s a privately financed venture, which taxpayers won’t have to support; it will create high-paying jobs – about 180,000 in the construction sector and hundreds more during operation; and it will deliver 830,000 barrels of crude daily from a nonhostile exporter to American refineries.
If there’s an upside to killing the project, no one has made that case – including the president.
Blocking Keystone won’t help the environment, if that’s the issue. Whether Obama and environmentalists like it or not, Canada will extract and ship its oil one way or another. It’s already transporting 180,000 barrels a day by truck and rail, methods that are less safe and less efficient than a pipeline.
Moreover, absent Keystone, the oil likely is headed to an economic and geopolitical rival with less concern for the environment: China.
Keystone’s original application was submitted in 2008. That’s too long a time to wait on something that’s actually good for America.
But this president is more interested in
appeasing a far-left environmental minority and, apparently, providing comfortable housing and taxpayer-subsidized legal services to thousands
of Central American immigrants whose illegal trek into the southwestern United States likely will be rewarded with amnesty and permanent residency.
With just two strokes of a pen in a single sitting, this president could bolster American energy security and create jobs along the northern border, and end the wholesale invasion by poor immigrants from violent and corrupt nations along its southern border.
But he chooses to do neither. Truly amazing.