Do Republicans Have Obama ‘Cornered’ on Keystone Pipeline Deal?

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By: Jeffrey Klein, Political Buzz Examiner
Examiner.com

This past Tuesday, in a bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives passed a bill extending the payroll tax cut for employees, and an extension of federal unemployment benefits for those who were approaching the new 99 week maximum benefit period.

However, it included a dramatically shortened decision-making period for approving a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline deal.

“The measure would give the Obama administration 60 days to decide whether to approve a permit for TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude from Alberta, Canada, to Southeast Texas refineries,” according to Jennifer A. Dloughy, in her article posted Wednesday on FuelFix.com.

Ms. Dloughy went on to report that proponents say Keystone XL would let the U.S. get more of the oil it needs from a North American ally instead of the Middle East, while simultaneously providing new transportation opportunities for currently land-locked oil produced in western states.

Further, a study commissioned by TransCanada estimated that 20,000 jobs could be created by the $7 billion pipeline project; however, other estimates put the number at around 3,000.

Armed with those job numbers, Republicans said that it makes sense to bundle the pipeline and payroll tax bills as a job creation package.

Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, said the measure represented “an opportunity to reduce our reliance on Middle Eastern oil and create thousands of American jobs.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., went further, challenging Obama to support the package … “The president said he wants to make sure that we create jobs, and he wants to be there for the middle class … [then] that’s what this bill does. It creates tens of thousands of jobs, if not more.”

President Barack Obama vowed to reject any legislation linking the pipeline and payroll tax cut, and on Tuesday the White House issued a formal veto threat. Without specifically pointing to House Republicans, the White House insisted the payroll tax cut measure had been hijacked to score political points.

Actually, it was President Obama who “hijacked” the pipeline deal…

On November 10, 2011, the U.S. State Department, who holds jurisdiction of any foreign country use of U.S. soil, which had been signaling an approval of the deal was imminent, released a statement saying that final approval of the $7 billion pipeline project would be delayed until early 2013–citing “environmental concerns” that required additional study.

Nothing could be further from reality.

Briefly, TransCanada Corp. had performed three different, independent comprehensive “Environmental Impact Studies” (EIS), on each of the three of the contemplated routes, which were submitted to the State Department, plus all seven White House Cabinet-level departments that would have input, and the governments of all six states through which the pipeline may run–beginning in March 2008–three months before Barack Obama was even elected president.

There were three additional, updated EIS submissions subsequent to that, one set with the original “Presidential Permit Application,” filed on September 18, 2008, a supplemental filing in July 2009, and the final 72 page set delivered in October 2010.

Here is what is truly going on in the White House…

Environmentalists argue:

1. The job claims are wildly inflated, and

2. Regardless, the price is too high, and

3. They say the pipeline would expand the market and demand for oil sands crude, which

4. Produces more greenhouse gas emissions than alternatives;

As broken down from Ms. Dhouly’s article.

Does this wondering list seem like a decision desperately in a search of valid reasons?

The only reason President Obama is trying to delay a decision on the “Oil” pipeline, until after the November 2012 elections, is not to preserve the votes of environmentalists–but, rather the flow of their campaign contributions and volunteers.

But, with a new AP-GfK poll finding that 60 percent of Americans want Congress to approve an extension of the payroll tax reduction, and a habitually high unemployment rate since May 2009, it would seem that Republicans have Obama ‘cornered’ on the Keystone pipeline deal.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Jeffrey Klein

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