The Case for Keystone

On November 5, 2014, fresh off a midterm shellacking, President Obama made a conciliatory and optimistic statement:

Today, I had a chance to speak with John Boehner and congratulated Mitch McConnell on becoming the next Senate Majority Leader.  And I told them both that I look forward to finishing up this Congress’ business, and then working together for the next two years to advance America’s business.

He’s so willing to work with Congress, in fact, that he’s threatened to veto one of the Republicans’ primary initiatives: the go-ahead for Keystone XL, an oil pipeline running from Canada to the United States that is already 40 percent completed. A final stretch of less than 1,200 miles has recently come under intense debate.

The pipeline would create nearly 50,000 jobs and ensure the flow of cheap oil into an energy-hungry U.S.

Why on Earth would the president threaten to veto such a no-brainer? Pure politics, apparently. When examined closely, there is simply no good reason for Obama to use his veto power. Warning: the following analysis contains graphic examples of liberal, logic lacking largesse.

The most prominent criticism of Keystone comes from, you guessed it, environmental groups that willingly ignore facts in favor of a return to the Stone Age. Just don’t touch their private planes.

The green argument is primarily that Keystone would ship crude from Canadian oil sands, which are dirtier and more difficult to extract, and when burned facilitate even more “climate change.” But this argument has been refuted by Obama’s own State Department, which released a lengthy report concluding that Keystone would have a zero-to-negligible effect on climate change because whether or not the U.S. decides to build Keystone, the oil will come out of the ground, period. There is simply too much money to be made.

Why on Earth would Obama ignore such a huge effort from his own State Department? Probably for the same reason he ignored his own Simpson-Bowles committee: the truth doesn’t fit his philosophy, or more likely, that of his green energy cronies.

The other environmental argument is that pipelines leak, posing great risk to our land and water. Who wants to live in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez? Not in my backyard!

Once again, facts are pesky things. There are more than two-and-a-half million miles of oil and gas pipeline operating every day in this country (with the latest Keystone line coming in at less than 1,200 miles, it’s hard to understand why its construction is an issue in the first place). Yes they leak, and sometimes the results are not good. But pipelines have been demonstrated to be environmentally safer than the other primary transport method, rail.

Whereas pipelines leak, trains spill, and the recent demand put on the rail system due to increased oil extraction has resulted in record spillage.

So clearly Obama’s concerns aren’t environmental. How could they be? The data are clear.

But for those that refuse to acknowledge the necessity of oil in our energy portfolio, there are a few, even more feeble, arguments. The Left has increasingly begun to evoke these following the collapse of the environmental case.

The first is that the aforementioned nearly 50,000 jobs are “temporary.” Well, many certainly are.  But how do they differ from the jobs that Obama has dedicated billions to in the past? After all, once roads and bridges are built and repaired, do the workers not go home? All jobs, besides God’s, end by definition.

And despite all this, there is one final, flickering talking point parroted across the leftist blogosphere: that the recent drop in oil prices makes drilling in Canada’s oil sands unnecessary, because that type of oil is more expensive to extract.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that oil prices are extremely volatile. They may be low now, but wait until Israel bombs Iran, or Saudi Arabia cuts production for whatever reason. This line of reasoning ignores history in the most vulgar sense, and is hardly worth considering.

And if, by Obama’s royal decree, we do not allow for the construction of Keystone, consider this: it is highly likely that the oil will still be extracted and shipped to China.

China. That’s right; the world’s number one polluter of greenhouse gases could get one of the world’s filthiest fuel sources. How’s that for environmentalism?

Obama’s opposition to Keystone defies logic. It is, by this amateur psychologist’s examination, little more than an “I lost, I’m taking my ball and going home” childhood stubbornness. The midterms were particularly unkind, and he will see to it that his executive power stymies any and all Republican progress.

Which party is obstructionist again?

Greg Jones currently runs the Drunk Republican blog at