Deep Green Obama and the pipeline wars

  • pipeline

On January 19th, President Obama announced his decision to deny an application by Trans-Canada for construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would have brought crude oil and tens of thousands of jobs from the tar sands of Alberta and North Dakota’s Bakken field to refineries in Texas and Louisiana. Despite the devastating consequences of this action, we at CFACT were not surprised.

Mr. Obama blamed Republicans in Congress, saying he did not have enough time to review routing changes through Nebraska that have yet to be finalized. The truth is that his Senate allies blocked language that would have given him until 30 days after the new route through Nebraska was finalized.

This President who talks about “shovel-ready jobs” has had, since 2008 when the application was first filed, plenty of time to “study” it. Some still hold out hope that, should Mr.Obama be reelected, he will revisit his decision and issue the permits in 2013.

We beg to differ, taking our cue from the public statements and actions of Mr. Obama and key Administration officials, for example:

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar suspended 60 of 77 oil and gas leases in Utah in 2009. U.S. News [1/13/12] reports that, despite Administration propaganda, lease sales in offshore areas have plummeted by more than $9.4 billion since President Obama took office. Deepwater permits are being issued at less than half the rate of pre-moratorium levels, and shallow water permits are down 40%.

President Obama ignored a federal judge’s ruling to continue his moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, a new American Petroleum Institute study, cited in International Business Times [1/12/12] says the moratorium [plus the longer offshore permitting processes] will cost the U.S. more than $24 billion in lost oil and gas investment over the next several years.

Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, back in 2008, stated, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” While he has yet to succeed, gasoline prices today are twice as high as when he and President Obama took office. Meanwhile, Secretary Chu defended the billions of dollars in loans to failed companies like Solyndra that have increased the national debt and done nothing to lower the price of energy.
What is President Obama’s rationale? Perhaps it is as CFACT Senior Fellow Paul Driessen put it — that Mr. Obama’s real goal is to “reduce energy supplies, raise energy prices, and destroy jobs” other than government-subsidized “green jobs” using taxpayer dollars that to date have mostly lined the pockets of campaign contributors.

The Administration, its radical environmentalist allies and major U.S.-based foundations seem to be working in lockstep to shut down the U.S. fossil fuel industry. As CFACT’s Duggan Flanakin and Redmond Weissenberger pointed out, “Killing Keystone is just one part of a grand strategy that includes closing off Asian and U.S. markets from [Canada's] oil; banning exploration and production across Canada and the United States; and even shutting down existing operations.”

Canadian journalist Vivian Krause [Financial Post, 1/17/12] exposed how the Hewlett, Packard, Pew, Sea Island, Tides and other groups funneled at least $300 million to efforts in Canada that would foreclose port construction and other economic activities, effectively returning much of our northern neighbor to First Nations indigenous peoples who have led the battle against Keystone and the Northern Gateway pipeline that would send Canadian oil toward Asia.

Canada’s Natural Resources Minister, Joe Oliver, has further denounced efforts to “exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects.” Canada, he said, needs the jobs and revenues from expanding its oil markets.

Meanwhile in Washington, President Obama tries to have it both ways: talking about the need to create jobs on one hand, while proceeding to kill every shovel-ready job in sight on the other.

NOTE:  This article is one of 15 responses to questions posed by National Journal energy and environment reporter Amy Harder:

*   Is there a future for the Keystone XL pipeline once TransCanada seeks a new permit?

*   What kind of repercussions will Obama’s decision have on the domestic and global oil industries?

*   Will the rejection help the country become less dependent on oil and more committed to renewable energy sources like wind and solar?

*   What does this augur for Congressional efforts to enact meaningful energy and environmental policy?

To read all 15 responses and AGREE with some (hopefully including Mr. Rucker’s), please go to http://energy.nationaljournal.com/2012/01/sizing-up-obamas-keystone-pipe-1.php .

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About the Author: Craig Rucker

Craig Rucker

Craig Rucker is the executive director and co-founder of CFACT.