Obama's Keystone Blunder
Using the fig leaf of a State Department review of the environmental impact on Nebraska of a possible pipeline rupture, Barack Obama has killed the Keystone XL pipeline project, and with it tens of thousands of good paying jobs. Aside from the oddity of the State Department acting as the protector of the environment of a landlocked state (isn't that the job of the EPA, and hasn't the pipeline already passed EPA review?), it is hard to see how the decision will benefit Obama poltically.
The conventional conservative wisdom is that killing Keystone is the key to unlocking a torrent of environmentalist cash for the campaign. But any rational environmentalist understands that the decision will actually harm the environment, because the oil will instead be piped across the Canadian Rockies, to the coast of British Columbia, for shipment to China, instead. The sad fact is that loading and unloading oil from tankers results in spills from time to time, not to mention shipwrecks. Tanker transport of oil is much more environmentally hazardous than pipeline transportation.
This decision means that waterfowl, cute little otters, and all sorts of fisheries on the "pristine" and "environmentally sensitive" coast of BC are now going to be threatened.
If pipelines transversing the Ogallala Aquifer were problematic, we would have already been inundated with stories about the damage from the existing 25,000 miles of pipelines already running through the Nebraska territory. The fact is that pipeline safety is already good (remember the predictions of disaster from the Trans Alaska Pipeline bringing Prudhoe Bay oil south? Nothing has ever happened with that pipeline, which goes through much more sensitive and difficult territory than Nebraska), and that anyone concerned for the environment already knows this.
Meanwhile, the president has now given Republicans a potent symbol of his failed energy policies. He says no to Keystone, a sure thing when it comes to jobs, energy security, and the balance of payments, and says yes to Solyndra.
This can't help him win blue collar votes in Midwestern swing states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Obama's claims of "smart diplomacy" are already in tatters, as the Arab Spring has strengthened the hand of jihadis, but now Americans are treated to the spectacle of our closest friends in the world being driven into the arms of the Chinese, and the resurrection the ancient Canadian trope that the United States cares nothing for the fate of Canada, and victimizes Canadians quite causally, when domestic American political considerations conflict with Canadian interests.
Comparatively, Canada has flourished under PM Harper's Conservative Party leadership during the 3 years of the Obama administration, with economic growth much higher than ours, and unemployment much lower.
I am left to wonder and speculate what really is at work with this horrible decision. Is there some financial interest that would benefit from this decision which has promised massive funding to the Obama campaign and super pacs? Or are there extreme environmentalists who have promised tens of millions of dollars?
This is a decision which will hurt America, hurt Canada, and I think will hurt Obama's re-election chances. I only hope that he is defeated before Canada signs away its Albertan bonanza to China, forcing us to rely on tankers coming from Venezuela, enriching Hugo Chavez.