Obama Denies Keystone Pipeline Permit — Abandoning U.S. Recovery for Reelection

By: Jeffrey Klein, Political Buzz Examiner
Examiner.com

At this moment, it appears as though the Obama Administration is going to accept the State Department’s recommendation that a permit for building the Keystone XL Pipeline [extension] should be rejected.

This is in accordance with the language Republicans had inserted in the Democrat “two-month” payroll tax holiday, which passed in a Senate [do nothing] “pro forma session,” just before the end of the year, which mandated that President Obama himself–not the State Department–make the final decision, on or before February 21st, according to a developing FOXNews article today.

[Oil] Industry sources say that the State Department will contend that 60 days is not adequate time to perform the environmental impact assessment of the pipeline route.

This excuse is a total farce of galactic proportions.

First, the State Departments, and seven other Secretary-level departments that would have even a possible jurisdiction in this matter, each received the original “Presidential Permit Application” (fact and detail links here) from pipeline owner, TransCanada Corporation, one of the largest oil and pipeline companies in North America, including the initial environmental impact study on the entire route, exactly 3 years and 4 months ago today–September 18, 2008.

For a clear, equally scaled contextual understanding, the State Department has had approximately 1,215 days, not just 60 days, to process this application–about the same amount of time that it took to develop the NASA Space Shuttle design (began in 1969, with final design approved by President Richard Nixon in 1972).

Second, the original environmental impact document was supplemented, which in general are produced to address and clear comments and questions, in July 2009, with the final 72 page document submitted [to all] in October 2010.

Third, these voluminous and expensive submissions, embodied the results of hundreds of charrettes the oil company held with government officials and citizens in the towns along the pipeline route, which no doubt began at least a year before the original submission. Initial route planning, engineering and internal feasibility studies most likely took a year or more prior to that to complete.

Fourth, the same oil company already has a precedent setting [smaller diameter] “Keystone” pipeline in operation, running through all of these same states, including a section that runs across the very same Nebraska aquifer in question. The “XL Extension” refers to running a straight line of larger diameter pipe that will bypass severe angles of the existing pipeline, in order to deliver a greater volume of crude product, more quickly, to the pre-existing refineries in Texas.

Finally, the so-called “environmentalist groups” who “complained” about possible oil spill accidents, and any other perceived negative aspects to building the pipeline, have not, to my knowledge, delivered any equivalent independent study–paid for by them–that contradicts the above described extensive and expensive environmental impact study provided by TransCanada.

But yet, it was enough for Barack Obama, who no doubt feared losing their campaign volunteers–and campaign contributions, to stop the project from going ahead.

The environmentalists’ true motives and objectives were clarified today, by the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, whose prime argument was that the pipeline doesn’t make the U.S. anymore energy secure–just because it would get oil from a close neighbor and friend…

What?

Here it comes…

Instead of carrying common crude oil, the Keystone XL pipeline would carry thick, toxic bitumen for refining in the Gulf States, effectively transporting pollution from Canada to the United States,” reads the NRDC report.

“It is not in the national interest to lock the United States into supporting an expensive and dirty form of oil for many years to come. Also, additional capacity for tar sands oil perpetuates America’s addiction to oil, and undermines the clean energy alternatives that would bring genuine energy security,” the NRDC report continues.

We have now learned that TransCanada Corporation has received formal notice from the Obama State Department that their Presidential Permit Application for the Keystone XL Pipeline has been denied.

Russ Girling, President and CEO of TransCanada Corporation released these statements on their corporate website (“formal notice” link above):

“This outcome is one of the scenarios we anticipated. While we are disappointed, TransCanada remains fully committed to the construction of Keystone XL. Plans are already underway on a number of fronts to largely maintain the construction schedule of the project,”

“We will re-apply for a Presidential Permit and expect a new application would be processed in an expedited manner to allow for an in-service date of late 2014.”

[TransCanada expects that consideration of a renewed application will make use of the exhaustive record compiled over the past three plus years.]

“Until this pipeline is constructed, the U.S. will continue to import millions of barrels of conflict oil from the Middle East and Venezuela and other foreign countries who do not share democratic values Canadians and Americans are privileged to have.”

“Thousands of jobs continue to hang in the balance if this project does not go forward. This project is too important to the U.S. economy, the Canadian economy and the national interest of the United States for it not to proceed.”

TransCanada will continue to work collaboratively with Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality on determining the safest route for Keystone XL that avoids the Sandhills. This process is expected to be complete in September or October of this year.

Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, had this to say to Fox News Radio … “Unfortunately, Prime Minister Harper of Canada, just this week said, because of the volatile indecisiveness on the part of this president, that they feel they are being held hostage and they will take their energy elsewhere specifically to Asia and China.”

Obviously, Mr. Gerard’s comments, and those of Canadian Prime Minister Harper, were made prior to Mr. Girling, TransCanada’s Chief Executive, who obviously does not want to “write-off” the tens of millions of dollars, or more, and the time and effort in pursuing this pipeline through the heart of America.

This obvious political, reelection-year tactic by President Obama and all Democrats is setting the stage for what is clearly going to be the most important and hard-fought political campaign, since Lincoln was elected in 1860–as pointed out last night by Bill O’Reilly.

In light of President Barack Obama’s comments regarding America becoming soft, and his regularly pointing to the amazing growth of the Chinese economy, he has now made it eminently clear that he has chosen the narrow ‘campaign trail’ over the broad ‘American Recovery trail.’

Copyright (c) 2012 by Jeffrey Klein

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