Obama Kills Keystone, The Safest Pipeline in America

President Obama announced that he will use the power of the Presidency to prevent construction of a pipeline that would carry Canadian crude oil to American refineries in Texas and Oklahoma, even though it would create tens of thousands of jobs, lower energy costs and would be the safest such pipeline ever constructed in America. Quoting the President:

As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.

The timeline below was copied from, and still appears today, on the State Department website. Don’t expect it to remain there very long because it contradicts Obama’s assertion. We added the red arrow to point out that the timeline apparently has not been updated since August.

Under current law, the company that wants to build a pipeline across an international border, TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP (Keystone) must apply for a “Presidential Permit.”  Keystone submitted it’s application 39 months ago, in September, 2008.  The permit review process shown in the timeline is set forth in a Presidential Executive Order issued by President Bush in 2004 to “expedite” approval.  President Obama has the authority to change or amend any Executive Order issued by any previous President but he has not amended this one.

The timeline shows all required processes, approvals and comment periods have been completed and a final State Department decision should have been issued in December.  But in November the President announced that he would delay a decision until 2013 to allow more time for review.  Not even the White House spin machine could silence the snorts of derision from all across the political-media establishment dismissing the delay as a cowardly act to avoid blow-back from one of two powerful, wealthy special interests whose support Obama needs in the 2012 campaign:

  1. Environmental pressure groups who always oppose any and all efforts to increase the supply of oil, and,
  2. Labor unions who would collect millions in dues from thousands of workers hired to build the pipeline.

This pipeline is the means for American oil refineries to access millions of barrels of Canadian crude oil, lowering domestic energy costs and reducing oil imports from the volatile Middle East and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela which is now an ally of Iran.  Cheaper energy in America, would help American manufacturing companies Vs their foreign competitors.

Jobs

Pipeline construction would require hundreds of millions dollars worth of equipment and materials, mostly purchased from American companies, creating an estimated 7,000 jobs.  There would be almost 13,000 direct, on-site construction jobs and thousands more ancillary jobs.

Safety and Environmental Concerns

Legislation passed in December by the Republican controlled House and the Democratic controlled Senate required Obama to make a decision by the end of February, two months past the deadline in the timeline above.  Obama claims he had to decline the pipeline permit application because the new deadline…

…prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.

However the required Environment Impact Statement was completed on schedule and published back in August.  Included is a full analysis on safety and environmental concerns.   It turns out that In 2009 Keystone applied to The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), for special permission to operate the pipeline at slightly higher pressure than allowed under existing regulations.  In response, the regulators worked up “Special Conditions.”  A year later Keystone decided to withdraw its application for the higher pressure permit, but agreed to comply with the enhanced regulations anyway.  As a result, in the words of the State Department Environmental Impact Statement, this pipeline…

“…would have a degree of safety greater than any typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system under current regulations and a degree of safety along the entire length of the pipeline system that would be similar to that required in high consequence areas as defined in the regulations.”

There are millions of miles of existing pipelines in America.  Keystone would be the safest of all.

Obviously, President Obama’s only consideration was political.   He believes preventing construction of this pipeline will benefit his reelection prospects more than allowing it to be built.

7 Comments so far

  1. Antique Jewellery on January 19th, 2012

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  2. Drew on January 19th, 2012

    It is truly a shame that such a politically motivated man could stand in the way of jobs, and in reducing a cost disadvantage that that American manufacturers have: high energy costs.

    Has he no shame?

    Just get re-elected and to hell with the Average Joe.

  3. AzTex on January 21st, 2012

    It’s the GOP who are politically motivated, willing to trash the environment for a few billion in profit to major oil corporations.

    The president did exactly what he should have. He stood up to Big Oil, and did the will of the people who demanded a stop to this dirty, dangerous oil project. The Keystone tar sands oil pipeline would bring toxic, highly corrosive tar sands crude oil 1,700 miles across six U.S. states, contaminating the drinking water of millions of Americans.

  4. NWMcCaib on January 21st, 2012

    AzTex…

    Only an idiot believes the environmental wackos. In the first place, the oil company wants ALL the oil make it to the refinery, not dribble out over 1,700 miles. No company is going to build a brand new pipeline that leaks, and gets them sued by a million people.

    Think your yourself instead of being a sheep led around by the nose.

  5. Drew on January 21st, 2012

    Lol. Aztec is asshole. Back in the real world Canada will send oil to china. American workers will stay unemployed, Canadian workers will be employed, Chinese manufacturers will keep an advantage over their US counterparts….

    And AzTex will spit or swallow whatever jism Obozo spews.

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