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Keystone Should Be an Easy Choice, So What's Taking Obama So Long?


Canadian ambassador to the US Gary Doer reiterated his country’s support—and its need—for the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday. Doer appealed to North America’s desire for greater energy security, saying “it makes good sense to proceed with energy independence and go with Canada, go with your friend, your neighbor and your ally since the war of 1812…Do you want your oil from Venezuela or do you want it from Canada?”

There’s a clear economic rationale for approving the pipeline, which would transport oil from Alberta’s tar sands down to America’s Gulf Coast refineries. Building the pipeline would create jobs, and would certainly give the Canadian economy a boost by providing a cheap outlet to bring its heavy crude to the international market.

The environmental concern is the only thing standing in the way of the project, and many greens are seeing the issue as a referendum on President Obama’s commitment to green ideals. The pipeline has galvanized the green movement, and as Bloomberg reports, tens of thousands of activists are preparing for a civil disobedience campaign should the US State Department recommend the pipeline’s approval:

Rainforest Action Network, Credo Action and the Other 98% have convinced about 76,000 volunteers to sign a “pledge to resistance.” In doing so, Keystone opponents are joining anti-nuclear activists and others who have used sit-ins and other forms of non-violent protest over the years to bring publicity to a cause.

In signing the pledge, activists accept the risk of being arrested in communities along the pipeline’s path, at the State Department, or in offices of companies backing the line.

The green movement picked a poor issue on which to make a stand, because as report after report confirms, the Keystone XL pipeline will not increase greenhouse gas emissions, as environmentalists like Bill McKibben have so dramatically claimed. That’s because that oil is coming out of the ground, whether or not Obama permits the project. If not by pipeline, it will be transported to refineries by rail and by truck—more expensive and more dangerous options that themselves will actually increase emissions.

It’s an odd sort of plan, but the modern green movement is no stranger to fecklessness and willful ignorance. TransCanada, the company ready to build the pipeline, now expects the White House to delay its decision until next March. President Obama is stalling for time, but his choice seems pretty easy to us: pick your biggest trading partner and closest ally over a portion of your base that is increasingly marginalizing itself.

[Pipeline image courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • Corlyss

    Obama ain’t never gonna to okay the pipeline. His ostensible reason now is the 2014 elections. But in fact, he’s much more likely to kill the deal altogether on his last day in office, 20 Jan 2017. Dear Leader has a lot of the spiteful troll in him.

    • S.C. Schwarz

      Agreed. This President is all politics, no policy.

      • rheddles

        Au contraire, he has a policy. It is to alienate all of our allies and destroy the Pax Americana. A measure of our strength is that we will emerge an even stronger hegemon. After the war to which his policies will lead.

        • Corlyss

          I would have to agree, reluctantly, Rhed. Reluctantly not because I think so well of Dear Leader, but because I never thought I’d live to see the day when such a Fifth Columnist could be elected president with so little serious debate and that said Fifth Columnist would be allowed to do what he has done to this nation with so little effective opposition and so little responsible analysis from all the organs on which the public depends for its insights, i.e., media, academia, and apparently what used to be known as the Loyal Opposition, but which has abandoned its role in favor of theatrical clowns and babbling idiots like the ones in the Republican field in 2012. We are indeed in a sorry state.

  • JeffWeimer

    That portion may be marginalizing itself, but it likes to spend money on politicians.

    Also, he has to throw them a bone somewhere. It’s this, or fracking. This is the smaller impact.

    • USNK2

      agree – follow his fundraising tour.
      However, does he really want
      to be the American president who lost CANADA?
      The delays on the Keystone pipeline have already strained relations, which were already a bit strained over SecHilary’s fumbles with Canada over the Arctic Nations issues.
      no wonder Montana’s Brian Schweitzer
      has suggested a bid in 2016. We’ll have to get Canada back as our bff.

      • Corlyss

        “does he really want
        to be the American president who lost CANADA?”
        We have yet to plumb the depths of how little he cares about foreign affairs and allies.

        • JeffWeimer

          I just don’t think he has an appreciation for the consequences of his actions and words.

          • rheddles

            I bet he does.

          • JeffWeimer

            I think it may only be as far as it aggrandizes himself at the moment and no farther – witness the Syria Debacle.

          • rheddles

            You are assuming the guy is a stupid captive of his narcissistic ego. He’s not. He’s quite intelligent as well as charming to a certain segment.

            Mistakes are to be expected, but this uninterrupted string around the globe indicates volition as part of a larger plan. Watch what I do not what I say.

          • JeffWeimer

            Yes I do assume that. Hanlon’s Razor explains much of his actions internationally – he simply doesn’t want to be bothered other than being seen as on the “correct” side of an issue he’s dragged into. Internally, I’m almost certain it’s a passive-aggressive malevolence. Sequester and Shutdown theater are evidence of that.

          • Kavanna

            He doesn’t know and doesn’t care. He’s a massive narcissist who’s heard nothing but praise from sycophants, flunkeys, major media, and … oh yes, the campus affirmative action office.

  • Kevin

    Canadians aren’t going to vote for Deomcrats in 2014 no matter what Obama does. Greens may or may not depending on what he does.

  • Mark Michael

    Dr. Judith Curry posted about an interesting new poll, the “Golden State Poll,” done by the Hoover Institute, from which she quotes, “respondents were concerned about climate change — and that concern crossed party and ideological lines. But not a single liberal in our survey dismissed climate change as a ‘not at all serious ‘problem,’ and a scant 4 percent were open to the idea that global climate change might be a ‘not very serious’ problem.” See:

    In other words, 24 out of 25 liberals are totally convinced that man’s CO2 emissions are a grave threat to mankind’s future and merit spending huge sums of money – trillions of dollars over decades – to counter those emissions. That’s after a 15-year pause in the increase in the average global temperature that even the UN IPCC reluctantly admits to in the 9-27-2013 5th Report.

    I was listening to the Jim Lehrer NewsHour last night (20-24-2013) and Judy Woodruff was interviewing Obama’s nominee for the EPA Gina McCarthy (I think that’s her name; she may already be approved by the Senate; forget). Between the two of them, it was clearly “settled science” that even something as problematic as carbon sequestration for coal-fired electric utility power generation plants and even natural gas power plants was taken for granted. It’s my understanding that carbon sequestration is proving to be much more expensive than they had projected at the start of several experimental projects. This Hoover Institute Golden State Poll tells us why I now understand. It also tells us why GOP politicians in “blue” states almost invariably mumble something about pro-AGW being their position. (Think Chris Christie, Kelly Ayotte, Susan Collins.)

    • Kavanna

      There’s little science, “settled” or otherwise, behind the climate hysteria.

      This just demonstrates that liberals have withdrawn into a cocoon of self-brainwashing. They’re wrong, and someone needs to break it to them.

  • Mark Michael

    A further quote from Dr. Judith Curry’s website in turn quoting from a Hoover Institute Golden State Poll:

    “Conservatives were far more open-minded about climate change, with 39 percent considering it a somewhat or very serious problem and only 31 percent saying it was not at all serious. This view was far closer to the view of political independents, who presumably have no partisan axe to grind in the climate wars. Fifty-one percent of them thought climate change was a very or somewhat serious problem, while 41 percent felt that it was not very or not at all serious.


    “Taken as a whole, the Golden State poll suggests that many liberals have a deeply ideological view of energy and climate and policy, one in which certain ‘truths’ must be accepted to show one’s moral virtue while genuinely inconvenient truths are ignored. Conservatives, always appropriately skeptical of liberal utopianism, have reacted against that by redoubling their skepticism. While the media and liberal politicians attack them, conservatives know that it is hard to have a rational argument with a fanatic about the subject of his fanaticism.

    “JC comment: I’m just about to leave for travel, so little time for posting, but I thought this is something the denizens would find interesting.” LINK:

  • tarentius

    The Canadian Ambassador is either deliberately lying or is totally ignorant of history. Canada never became an ally of the United States until after WW2. Although the US and Canada were allies in WW1 there has been nothing but antagonism towards the US by Canada for almost all of our history. Has one forgotten the execrable Jean Chretien and his liberal party whose one consistent policy during the decades it ran Canada was anti-Americanism?

    • Douglas Levene

      The border between Canada and the US is the longest undefended border between sovereign nations in the world. That says something about the level of trust and friendship between the two nations.

      • free_agent

        Canada and the US are like two squabbling brothers who live in neighboring houses. Both are acutely aware of every tiny item of disagreement between them, and barely aware that they are more like each other than they are to anyone else.

        • Bill_Woods

          It’s a lot more asymmetrical than that. Few Americans know, or care, as much about Canada as Canadians do about America.

          • Kavanna

            Well, yes, we’re gigantic, they’re the little brother in the corner. Right now, the big brother is one confused M-F, and he worries the little brother.

      • tarentius

        No it doesn’t. The border between the US and Mexico isn’t defended either.

  • ljgude

    If I were Canada I would build it right up to the border and then install a bright red plug in the end of it. It’s either that or turn down a seat on the security Council.

  • free_agent

    True greens are idealists and to an idealist consenting to anything evil is a sign of moral degradation.

  • avery12

    So many years and still speculating if the pipeline will ever be approved. This administration is not about solutions and problem solving. This administration is like a rich old tyrant with a lot of dependents, spending all day sowing strife among the interests and vowing to alter his will in favor of this one or that one.

  • Vernon Ray Davis

    I do not want this pipeline built just so Canada can ship oil to China they need our ports and don’t care about damage this will cause to Americas heartland not on drop will be for our use DON’T BUILD IT.

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