Friday, November 11, 2011

Obama Votes Present on Keystone Pipeline Decision

In a blatantly political and cowardly move, President Obama has chosen to vote "present" on approving the Keystone Pipeline. You may remember that then Illinois state senator Obama held the all-time record of "present" votes instead of a "yea" or "nay".

Showing an utter abdication of leadership, Obama is unable to risk offending either the unions - who want the construction jobs - or the environmental extremists - who threatened to not support his re-election bid. So, in true cowardly fashion, Barack Obama has announced that he will just wait until after the November 2012 election to come to a decision and publicly announce that decision. He claims more research must be made. Already 18 months of research and decision making actions have been made but this is Obama's excuse.

It might be a good example of excessive red tape from the behemoth government that slows the decision making process so much. But, in this case, this is pure, raw politics.

How does Canada feel about this cowardly punt?

The U.S. State Department’s decision to delay its review of TransCanada Corp.’s $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline until after next year’s presidential election may doom the project and accelerate Canada’s efforts to ship crude to Asia, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said.

“The decision to delay it that long is actually quite a crucial decision. I’m not sure this project would survive that kind of delay,” Flaherty said yesterday in an interview at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu. “It may mean that we may have to move quickly to ensure that we can export our oil to Asia through British Columbia.”

The deferral on Keystone XL is a blow to the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who called U.S. approval of the pipeline a “no brainer.” Canadian officials underestimated the strength of resistance to the project by Nebraska farmers and environmentalists, political and foreign-policy experts said.

The State Department said yesterday it will study an alternative route to avoid environmentally sensitive areas in Nebraska. Nebraskan farmers, officials in the state and some members of Congress argue the proposed route across the Sandhills area risks contaminating the Ogallala aquifer that supplies water to 1.5 million people.

The geography has been studied and found to be sound. We know how to do pipelines. The huge pipeline through Alaska has performed just fine, thank you very much, without any major incidents. Much like the bogus claims that Alaskan wildlife would suffer from oil and gas production, the pipeline would be done scientifically sensitive and environmentally aware of its surroundings.

The first clue that the opposition was full of straw men was when the Hollywood celebs began speaking out in disapproval. They are usually on the wrong side of an argument, especially if it has to do with an alleged environmental issue.

This pipeline project will provide thousands upon thousands of jobs. This is one project that is truly shovel-ready, unlike the others that were promised in the first spending stimulus debacle from Team Obama. Environmental issues are but an asterisk in polling today as Americans focus on jobs and economic issues.

After the postponement was announced, two big environmental groups declared they can now support Obama in re-election endorsements. Swell. Barack Obama asked for this job. He begged for votes like all other candidates do on the campaign trail. He has failed this country miserably.

House Speaker John Boehner issued the following statement after the Obama administration called for consideration of a new route for the Keystone XL pipeline, triggering a new environmental review and delaying a final decision on approval of the project into 2013.

“More than 20,000 new American jobs have just been sacrificed in the name of political expediency. By punting on this project, the President has made clear that campaign politics are driving U.S. policy decisions – at the expense of American jobs. The current project has already been deemed environmentally sound, and calling for a new route is nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt to avoid upsetting the President’s political base before the election. It’s a failure of leadership.

“The production of American-made energy has a direct link to American job creation. That’s why House Republicans will soon introduce and pass jobs legislation that ties the permanent expansion of American energy production to an increase in new infrastructure projects. Today is another reminder that the President’s energy policy is destroying American jobs while Republicans are focused on using American resources to put people back to work.”

NOTE: Last week, Speaker Boehner announced that House Republicans will formally introduce an energy & infrastructure jobs bill, and move it through the House before the end of the year. The bill will link expanded American energy production with initiatives to repair and improve infrastructure, permanently removing barriers to private-sector growth.

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