As expected, if still inexplicably, President Obama yesterday vetoed a congressional authorization for building the long-discussed Keystone XL pipeline. Obama’s decision is a dud on environmental grounds: Canada is still going to develop the oil-sands resources that would supply the pipeline, only it’ll ship the crude elsewhere (probably China) using rail, which is riskier than a pipeline. It’s a dud on economic grounds: Argue all you want about the total number of jobs created (and Democrats have no such qualms about maximizing job counts when it comes to public infrastructure programs) but the pipeline would lead to a lot of construction jobs and more permanent jobs than zero — which is what not building the pipeline will produce.
But the real whopper from Obama came in his veto statement, which reads in part:
“The Presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously. But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto.”
See that? All of a sudden, President Executive Order is concerned about one branch of government infringing on another’s powers.
What is it Obama has said time and again to explain his 180-degree turn on an executive order for immigration? Something about how Congress had plenty of time to act but didn’t. And how long has the Obama administration been stalling on the Keystone XL pipeline? Six years.
It’s the latest sign Obama intends to spend his last two years in office trolling Congress — and the rest of us — instead of seeking common ground.