Keystone Pipeline – how much time is needed?

President Obama announced that he will block the Keystone Oil Pipeline project. The main reason, was stated to be a lack of time to research the deal. But how long does it take to make a decision?It would appear that nearly 7 years is not enough time.

In 2005 the initial concept that would become the Keystone Pipeline project was created by TransCanada Corporation. It took another 3 years of development before there was a full fledged proposal. Construction of the pipeline, in Canada, was all but done in 2010 when it became functional in June of that year.

Keystone has had 2 EPA reviews done. One of them at the insistance of Rep. Henry Waxman and 50 members of Congress, plus Secretary of State Clinton. Each Congressmember considered the project “dirty” and extending America’s reliance on fossil fuels.

In August 2011 the EPA announced the final impact study, stating that it posed no threat to the environment assuming standard protections were put in place. It also noted that “cultural” resources could be affected. Which means that as far as the jurisdiction of the EPA is concerned the project was a go. But it left room for President Obama to say no anyway. Step in State Department and their review, under Secretary Clinton who already was opposed to the plan.

This was followed by a recommendation by President Obama’s energy advisors. They stated, in a more full explaination, ‘drill baby drill’. President Obama chose to delay any decision until 2013 – after the election. Until Republicans in Congress forced the President to make a decision by February 21, 2012 – yes or no.

We have that answer, but what are the ramifications? The beginning of that answer is already becoming apparent.

Canada has provided 99% of its exported crude oil to the U.S. It’s a relationship that has benefited both nations, and is far less expensive than oil bought from the Middle East or even South America. The geo-political friendship between both countries also stands as a glaring contrast to the relationship America has with say, Iran or Venezuela or even Saudi Arabia.

In response to President Obama’s rejection of Keystone, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has stated,

“Canada will continue to work to diversify its energy exports.”

That means selling oil to China instead of the US. This was confirmed by the statement by Canadian Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver who remarked that the,

“…decision by the Obama administration underlines the importance of diversifying and expanding our [Canadian] markets, including the growing Asian market.”

But the trip down the hole gets worse.

This is not the first slight handed to Canada since President Obama took office. There was the reinstatement of the $5.50 fee for all Canadian tourists traveling into America. Not significant to any 1 individual, but a cumulative vaccum of Canadian funds for no great reason. And there were the proposals inside the American Jobs Act that would have further restricted Canadian goods had it not been rejected by Republicans. Remember, this is our ally, neighbor and friend we are doing this to.

Plus we stated, in almost no uncertain terms, thanks for trying come back again and try later. The actual wording being more along the lines that it was not the merit of the plan that caused the rejection and Canada is free to re-apply. Perhaps they even might, under a different President.

In the meantime, the largest source of oil in the world outside of OPEC nations is in the backyard of America. Rather than seeing the good fortune in that, President Obama has shut the door in their face and ushered in China as the buyer of choice. Introducing a competition that in no way is beneficial to the US.

All this, and the potential for long-term sustained job growth isn’t even being factored in. But according to the White House, the demand from Republicans to make a decision on a nearly decades old proposal that was approved by the EPA twice, and recommended by President Obama’s own advisory board, just didn’t leave enough time to consider everything. Yes, that State Department review under Secretary Clinton who opposes the plan.

One might suspect that the only time factor that may have been truly affected was the ability of the Obama re-election campaign to poll supporters about approving the pipeline. But that is a bit of conjecture.

Still President Obama is committed to America’s energy future. The White House said as much in a tweet

“The White House – GOP decision to deny #Keystone does not change Obama Administration’s commitment to American-made energy.”

Pretty wording. Ultimately it comes down to the same thing. How long does it take a college professor to make a decision? Seemingly a long time indeed.

About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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