No to extending America’s efforts for energy independence and no to creating jobs, all while pointing the finger at Republicans saying his decision is their fault.
According to the payroll tax cut extension passed at the end of last year, President Obama had 60 days to decide whether to approve or dismiss the Keystone XL pipeline. His final decision is clear, but it is also a punch in the gut for those Americans who could have had a job.
“This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people,” Obama said in a statement. “I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my Administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil.”
But the Keystone pipeline is not a new idea. It would carry oil from Canada to refineries in Texas, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. The administration has known about it for two years and it seems the State Department did have some time to deal with the proposal as it reported last summer that the pipeline would create up to 6,000 jobs during construction alone (though some say this is a low estimate). The pipeline also has approval from Nebraska State’s governor and senators who are open to the project as long as it steers clear of an environmentally sensitive area of the state, which a provision the payroll tax cut extension allows.
Yet the screams of opposition from the environmentalists were loud and clear. Is that why the president caved? Those speaking on behalf of the environment feared this pipeline would lead to a possible oil spill. Never mind the nation’s more than 2 million miles of other pipelines safely deliver trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of billions of ton/miles of liquid petroleum products each year.
Even with environmentalist opposition, this pipeline will be built with or without America’s help. If not through the U.S., Canada has proposed building the pipeline through its own country to the West Coast for shipment to China or other markets, so why aren’t the environmentalists fighting that idea?
Maybe Obama didn’t say no because of the environmental concerns. Maybe it was for a different reason.
President Obama’s next favored group is the unions. Where do they stand on the Keystone pipeline? They are in full support. Remember, construction workers were one of the most hardest hit groups during this ongoing recession and many of them are still left without a job. They needed this pipeline more than anyone.
So why say no, Mr. President?
Ah yes, he is up for reelection this year, and according to the polls, his chances of continuing his reign don’t look too good.
Without the heavy funds he receives from environmentalist fundraisers he might not be reelected at all. Besides why should he lose his job over a pipeline that could provide thousands of Americans a job? The political game comes before the nation in a year like this.
Maybe if he could have delayed the decision another year, when he hopes to be sitting comfortably in the White House yet again, the outcome of the pipeline would have been different. After all, that is what the State Department asked for. Go figure. Meanwhile, those without a job since President Obama took office can sit tight knowing he isn’t working for them.
Or for America.
Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) and NetRightDaily.com. You can follow her on twitter at @RebekahRast.