Obama’s Keystone Evasion

President Obama’s announcement that he will delay a decision on approval of the Keystone Pipeline until after the 2012 election typifies his feckless presidency. Torn between the need to create jobs, reduce the cost of energy and get our economy going on one hand, and the emotional biases of his environmentalist base on the other, Obama punted. I assume that if and when the time comes–post-election–Obama will do what he has wanted to do all along, and kill the pipeline.

We have written about Keystone a number of times. In this post, we quoted a study that concluded the pipeline would moderate the price of oil and create between 250,000 and 553,000 permanent American jobs. Here, we quoted at length another study of the beneficial effect of the pipeline on our economy, along with related energy development policies. There simply is no doubt that building the pipeline and transporting Canadian oil efficiently to refineries in the U.S. would give our economy a major boost.

I don’t suppose anyone remembers the speech that President Obama gave in support of his “Jobs Act” on September 7–ancient history, I know–and it is almost cruel to remind this inept president of his own words. This is what we wrote at the time:

Obama evidently has forgotten the stimulus bill and the many thousands of shovel-ready jobs that, as Obama later admitted–ha-ha–weren’t so shovel-ready after all. So, what has changed? Why will this year’s smaller “stimulus” create jobs when his previous, much larger bill was a complete failure? This was the closest Obama came to an answer:

We’re cutting the red tape that prevents some of these projects from getting started as quickly as possible.

Really? “Red tape” as in environmental regulations that block the construction of–for example–refineries and pipelines? So will Keystone be green-lighted tomorrow morning? That decision rests with the Secretary of State and requires no Congressional action.

Far from “cutting red tape” to allow the job-creating Keystone project to begin “as quickly as possible,” our Hamlet-like president will ponder the matter until some time in 2013, at the earliest. By then, the issue may be moot, Canada’s Finance Minister warns:

The U.S. State Department’s decision to delay its review of TransCanada Corp.’s $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline until after next year’s presidential election may doom the project and accelerate Canada’s efforts to ship crude to Asia, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said.

“The decision to delay it that long is actually quite a crucial decision. I’m not sure this project would survive that kind of delay,” Flaherty said yesterday in an interview at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu. “It may mean that we may have to move quickly to ensure that we can export our oil to Asia through British Columbia.”

If China does indeed replace the United States as the world’s pre-eminent economic power, the foolishness of American voters in electing Barack Obama president will be a major contributing factor.

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