Barack Obama rejects Keystone XL Pipeline, Hillary benefits most

AP file photo

AP file photo

We have reached the “clearing the decks for Hillary’s campaign” segment of the Obama administration. From the Wall Street Journal:

“The Obama administration rejected the Keystone XL pipeline Friday, capping a politically charged review of the oil project that lasted more than seven years and escalated into a broader debate on energy, climate change and the economy.

“‘The State Department has decided that the Keystone XL Pipeline would not serve the national interest of the U.S.,’ President Barack Obama said in brief remarks from the White House. ‘I agree with that decision.’ …

“Mr. Obama, who has made environmental issues a centerpiece of his second term, had signaled deep misgivings about the pipeline project as he pursued an expansive agenda aimed at fighting climate change.

“The president said Friday that the pipeline had occupied an overinflated role in political discourse, adding that it was neither a silver bullet for the economy nor an express lane to climate disaster. The project would not have lowered gas prices, improved energy security or made a long-term contribution to the economy, Mr. Obama said.

“‘If Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it,’ he said.”

OK, let’s parse those three claims of his. Being picky about “the way to (create jobs)” is hardly something Obama can be cavalier about given that only in the last few months has the economy finally regained its pre-recession level of full-time jobs. We are now 94 months out from the previous employment peak. Compare that to the 30-31 months it took to recover all the full-time jobs lost in the 1981-82 recession, even though the unemployment rate peaked at a higher level back then (10.8 percent vs. a high of 10 percent in the 2007-08 recession) and stayed above 10 percent far longer (10 months vs. one).

Second, the part about “would not have lowered gas prices” has pretty much become a moot point because gas prices have — contrary to the wishes of climate alarmists — already sunk to about $2 a gallon in much of the country. But even when prices were higher, analysts had mixed views about what would happen. Most likely, the greater supply would put downward pressure on prices when they were high. And when do you want to do something to bring prices down: While you have time to act, as we do now, or after it’s too late because prices have already risen?

But the most brazen claim is the one about climate change. Obama’s own State Department concluded last year that U.S. approval of the project probably wouldn’t have an effect, because the Canadian oil sands in question are likely to be developed either way. That’s just common sense: The owners of those resources are going to find a way to develop them and get them to market. Pretending otherwise may fit Obama’s track record of governing in the world as he wishes it were, not as it is, but it fails the test of reality.

***

Most likely, there are two real reasons for this decision, both of them political. First is Obama’s desire to burnish the most liberal parts of his own legacy as his term approaches its end. Second is his willingness to take an issue off the table that has bedeviled Hillary Clinton. She long dithered over the issue before saying in September she opposed it. But that statement wasn’t going to end the issue as a problem for her, given labor unions’ support for building the pipeline (because, contrary to Obama’s claim, it would have meant a lot of jobs for them). By closing the door to Keystone, at least for now, Obama lessens the pressure the labor wing of the Democratic Party could have put on Hillary.

Expect some kind of (probably unlawful) administrative move to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay to be next. Congress has repeatedly included provisions to prevent Guantanamo’s closing while enacting legislation over the years. But lame-duck Obama appears unbound by the law or electoral politics, unless it’s Hillary’s politics. The next year could be a dangerous time for American interests and the rule of law.

Reader Comments 0

27 comments
Stan_Dup
Stan_Dup

"And when do you want to do something to bring prices down: While you have time to act, as we do now, or after it’s too late because prices have already risen?"

And when do you want to do something about the climate: While you have time to act...or after it's too late because the temperature and the sea level have already risen?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

We've already passed several of the left's global warming "tipping points" so why bother worrying? We're done for and might as well live it up!

Oh, right, you have to keep the hoax going as there's much more damage left to do to free market economics.

scottw_
scottw_

At least in a little over a year from now, this complete joke of a POTUS will be gone and we can begin to take out the trash and try to repair the damage this moron has caused. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@scottw_ 

This “complete joke of a POTUS” was reelected for a second tern by a majority of voters, over the candidate the opposition party was able to offer. In this country we have a system of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people, and the people have spoken. So the joke is on you and people like you.

luckjoe
luckjoe

There were an estimated 9,000 jobs tied to tied to this project and now they are gone. Also, Warren Buffet, Obama's buddy, will continue to move the oil by rail.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

Poor babies ! The route through a main aquifer that serves the Midwest was a concern. What if it broke polluting the area and the aquifer?  Where would the farms and residents get their water?


The extra oil could and probably would be sold overseas since our oil reserves are overflowing. 


If the cons were so interested in jobs, they would have passed a transportation bill years ago. Building the pipeline would provide mostly short term jobs. 


How many rail jobs would be eliminated if the pipeline existed? How would the oil thinner be separated and returned for reuse in Canada? What did those rail tanker cars haul south to be available for returning the thinner to Canada? Rail tanker cars and the pipeline would "corrode" and need maintenance to not allow leaks. Cars are easier to inspect and fix.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

You're already on the paid site ...

Whooaaaaa, Nellie.

I have free access to something others are paying for?

DANG! Does that make me a democrat?

schnirt 

Dusty2
Dusty2

Goodbye....new policy limitations.  OH well, I get AJC in print every day.  It just doesn't have my name on it..  au revoir!

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Dusty2 If you are a print subscriber, you have a subscription to MyAJC as well. And I have not been blocking your comments ... it must be some technical problem.

332-206
332-206

More soot for my children, please.

Stephenson_Billings
Stephenson_Billings

Union: Obama threw workers 'under the bus' in Keystone decision


"The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) is one of the few labor unions that broke with the majority of Democrats and supported the project, which Obama rejected Friday after a seven-year review.


“We are dismayed and disgusted that the President has once again thrown the members of LIUNA, and other hard-working, blue-collar workers under the bus of his vaunted ‘legacy,’ while doing little or nothing to make a real difference in global climate change,” Terry O’Sullivan, the union’s general president, said in a statement. “His actions are shameful.”


The group’s statement cited a State Department report that Keystone could reduce greenhouse gas emissions when compared with oil transportation by rail.

“But facts apparently mean as little to the president as the construction jobs he repeatedly derided as insignificant because they are ‘temporary,’ ” O’Sullivan said. “Ironically, the very temporary nature of the president’s own job seems to be fueling a legacy of doing permanent harm to middle- and working class families.”


http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/259395-union-obama-threw-workers-under-the-bus

Billy2121
Billy2121

Keystone will be approved within the first week of the new Republican President! 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Billy2121 It would be yes. Right after the huge tax cuts for the top 5 percent or so. That comes first. 


5 of the last 6 elections the Dems have gotten more votes and Demographics aren't working in the GOP's favor moving forward.


The only remaining question ? How much further right can Republicans go before they have to move back to the center ?


We’re left, in other words, with the challenge of reconciling Wehner’s impressions and quantifiable evidence, such as these DW-NOMINATE scores, which clearly help prove the opposite of the Republican’s intended conclusion.


http://www.msnbc.com/sites/msnbc/files/styles/embedded_image/public/2015-05-27_1622.jpg?itok=8MSUGkNy


Kyle will tell you its the Democrats that have moved left. Not the other way around. But it just ain't so. 


Two examples off the top of my head. Obama has continued the drone strikes and the Bush tax cuts. Meanwhile the GOP had a speaker run out of town because of the freedom caucus. Which party is more extreme again ?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Elections have consequences. If the GOP can get someone elected in 2016 this thing will get built. If not, it won't.


Personally I don't think it really does anything for our long term energy independence. 


The marketplace has already made the pipeline irrelevant anyway. Oil refiners have already figured out moving it via rail cars is better because then the oil goes where there is refinery capacity. 


Prices where they are they are losing money every barrell on this stuff now. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

The Keystone pipeline decision is not a momentous one and would not be if it went the other way. But it is consistent with the President’s environmental policy, and the criticisms of it is the usual political drivel.

The job issue is the conservatives’ standard argument, not matter how ridiculous it is. “,,,contrary to Obama’s claim, it would have meant a lot of jobs for them” [labor unions]. Lots? Why not spell out what that “lots” means, preferably as a percentage of the labor force.? There would be perhaps about 40,000 jobs during the one or two years of construction, but after that? About 50 jobs per year, has been estimated.

That the project would not lower gas price is a valid argument, and it does not matter what the current gas price is. How differently would conservatives handle it if it might increase the gas price!

But perhaps the falsest argument, even if supported by the State department, is that the US approval would not have any effect with respect to climate change. “The owners of those resources are going to find a way to develop them and get them to market.” That ignores the very principles of the free market. The owners wanted the pipeline for a simple reason, as the most economical – say cheapest – way to move their dirty oil out of Canada. Any alternative route will be more expensive, making the stuff less competitive on the current market, and therefore have a lower impact on the emission of the pollutants

HDB0329
HDB0329

....interesting in that Republicans wanted to risk polluting the largest FRESH WATER REPOSITORY for TEN STATES - the Oglalalla Aquifer - in order to continuing subsidizing the oil companies!! Today, the GOOD GUYS won!!


Also....if this was such a good thing, why did TransCanada suddenly ask to suspend consideration?? (They knew is wasn't the best thing to do......why didn't they run a PARALLEL pipeline to the already-existing Keystone pipeline?? That would've solved the right-of-way AND pollution issues, wouldn't it??)

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Obama gives new meaning to the term, "Bully Pulpit", emphasis on the word, BULLY!

When elected, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but Ryan was right when he said...

"This president (Obama) cannot be trusted." 

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

I agree with your assessment of the Keystone Pipeline.  It was a purely political decision. 

After the EPA and state regulatory agencies gave the ok, the president should have cleared it. 


For Guantanamo, it should have been closed years ago. It's a black spot on American policy regarding the indefinite detention of people without recourse to trial.  I'm shocked that congress has blocked the closing of the prison there as this remains another recruiting tool used by terrorists worldwide to show that we are not about justice. JUST CLOSE IT. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@LogicalDude as this remains another recruiting tool used by terrorists worldwide to show that we are not about justice.


That reason alone is enough to justify its closing. People will say. They are terrorists!  They will give us no quarter !


Since when did we define ourselves based on what barbarians do ?

Dusty2
Dusty2

May I post here?  Got "red lined"  on the last one.   Is "nouveau" a bad word or what?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Dusty2 I didn't see that one. I expect we'll still have technical glitches over here.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Kyle_Wingfield @Dusty2 I missed the news about the changeover. Rumors are that you and Jay will be paid only blogs soon. 

Can you clarify the news so I don't rely on rumor? 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@LogicalDude You're already on the paid site ...

(If you came from a link on ajc.com or had my blog bookmarked, it forwarded you automatically.)

But yes, our blogs are hosted on MyAJC.com as of yesterday.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

The recurring theme of the Obama regime, particularly in the next year, is "If it's good for Real Americans, fuhgeddaboutit. If it grows government or dependency or perverts American or family values, we're on it".