Pipeline project falls victim to election politics

Canadians should know by now that it takes our political system about a year to elect a new president.

Until that happens, our federal government’s small capacity for rational decision-making evaporates entirely.

All that became painfully apparent last week when the Canadian government’s desire to run an oil pipeline across the U.S. was rejected by the Obama administration.

The proposed Keystone pipeline extension would move crude oil and diluted bitumen from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northern Alberta to refineries in Illinois and along the Gulf Coast. Along the way, American crude oil would also enter the pipeline.

This project was first proposed in 2005, so it’s not as if U.S. regulators have not had time to think about its environmental and economic implications.

But it does pit two groups within President Barack Obama’s base against each other, environmentalists, who would like to kill the project entirely, and unions, which would like to see it begin as soon as possible.

So, like a savvy politician, Obama decided this decision would best be made after the 2012 election to avoid angering either group of supporters.

Republicans, meanwhile, sought to force the issue, voting to give Obama 60 days to decide.

Obama decided all right, rejecting the pipeline project application and blaming Republicans for creating an unrealistically short time frame for consideration.

The company behind the line, TransCanada, immediately said it would apply for a new permit.

So a good project became the victim of election-year politics. In this case, Obama made the wrong decision.

The Canadian oil will find its way to market, in Asia if not in the U.S.

And every drop of Canadian oil means the world is one drop less dependent on oil from unstable and often unfriendly Mideast oil states.

While the project would have created 1,300 miles of new pipeline in the U.S., there are already 200,000 miles of pipeline here. TransCanada, meanwhile, had proposed eight routes to avoid important natural features and underground aquifers.

If the pipeline is not built, it simply means the same quantity of oil will reach the same refineries via oil tankers, and the tar-sands oil will reach Asian refineries by the same means.

While pipelines do not have a perfect record, moving millions of gallons of crude oil by ship is more costly and creates even more environmental risks.

In the short run, the pipeline would have provided about two years of work for several thousand construction workers, providing some badly needed jobs.

Unfortunately, none of that will happen for at least two years.

This project seems nearly certain to move forward. Unfortunately, it won’t be until after the next election and until our government regains its senses.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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Comments

Brian Allen Small's picture

Why Am I Not Surprised?

That the Obamaites would rush to defend another foolish and costly decision on the part of the Nobama administration? Dont worry about new jobs with Obama its never going to happen

2012 the end of an error

Steve  Dosh's picture

Pipeline project falls victim to election politics

Thanks Rex , 12.01.2 9:30 am-ish
" Obama decided all right, rejecting the pipeline project application . . ..yet . ," This project seems nearly certain to move forward. "
The party of " Just Say No ," getting angry over our President just saying no ? Oh , the irony ! We aren't proud or tired , either . Our President will stand on his record of accomplishments . Adios , Osama Bin Forgotten . Adequate health for all ? How can we simply afford not to . Childhood obesity ? http://www.letsmove.gov/ Think education is expensive ? Try ignorance
Seeing the Republican party as fractionalized as it is at this juncture is a momentous occasion . It happened to the Democrats in the early 1980's , also . It harks back to the reunification of Germany and the fall of the wall in 1986 and the dissolution of the U S S R ( now the C I S ) . Did anyone see - t h a t - coming ?
Whatever arise from from the ashes - like a phoenix - will most certainly be more evenly tempered and stronger for it , thank goodness . Fire does that . It tempers composite metals and they emerge stronger than pure metals and when forged as a sword stronger and sharper . Composites : like hybrids & hybrid vigor commonly found in nature
Will the Republicans let go of their reactionary , somewhat seemingly bigoted one-dimensional holier-than-thou tendencies ? God is on most everyones' side and haters surely gonna' hate . Hope and good does prevail over time , otherwise we'd all be most assuredly dead by now . Having a drivers license and speaking English should not be a pre - condition for being American . Our ancestors didn't and couldn't . My kids can't drive and babies to babble
Please pardon my pontifications , it's Sunday !
Will Republicans discard their shout-radio angry , dis-spirited , mostly mean & cynical male , hockey mom-ish reputations and embrace others such as African American blacks , Spanish American browns , Indian olive and American Indian red skinned peoples and other minorities as the G L B T ? They are all sentinent , caring individuals , too , and believe in a loving God . When added together , these groups form the new majority in these very united polyglot and hetrogenous states of ours'
Time will only tell... Alo'ha from windy Ma'ui :) Steve and ohana

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

A little pineapple juice with

A little pineapple juice with my Kool-Aid, please.

Steve  Dosh's picture

. .Editor - duplcate post -

. .Editor - duplcate post - :)

Steve  Dosh's picture

Pipeline project falls victim to election politics

Thanks Rex , 12.01.2 9:30 am-ish
" Obama decided all right, rejecting the pipeline project application . . ..yet . ," This project seems nearly certain to move forward. "
The party of " Just Say No ," getting angry over our President just saying no ? Oh , the irony ! We aren't proud or tired , either . Our President will stand on his record of accomplishments . Adios , Osama Bin Forgotten . Adequate health for all ? How can we simply afford not to . Childhood obesity ? http://www.letsmove.gov/ Think education is expensive ? Try ignorance
Seeing the Republican party as fractionalized as it is at this juncture is a momentous occasion . It happened to the Democrats in the early 1980's , also . It harks back to the reunification of Germany and the fall of the wall in 1986 and the dissolution of the U S S R ( now the C I S ) . Did anyone see - t h a t - coming ?
Whatever arise from from the ashes - like a phoenix - will most certainly be more evenly tempered and stronger for it , thank goodness . Fire does that . It tempers composite metals and they emerge stronger than pure metals and when forged as a sword stronger and sharper . Composites : like hybrids & hybrid vigor commonly found in nature
Will the Republicans let go of their reactionary , somewhat seemingly bigoted one-dimensional holier-than-thou tendencies ? God is on most everyones' side and haters surely gonna' hate . Hope and good does prevail over time , otherwise we'd all be most assuredly dead by now . Having a drivers license and speaking English should not be a pre - condition for being American . Our ancestors didn't and couldn't . My kids can't drive and babies to babble
Please pardon my pontifications , it's Sunday !
Will Republicans discard their shout-radio angry , dis-spirited , mostly mean & cynical male , hockey mom-ish reputations and embrace others such as African American blacks , Spanish American browns , Indian olive and American Indian red skinned peoples and other minorities as the G L B T ? They are all sentinent , caring individuals , too , and believe in a loving God . When added together , these groups form the new majority in these very united polyglot and hetrogenous states of ours'
Time will only tell... Alo'ha from windy Ma'ui :) Steve and ohana

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

This comment doesn't rise to

This comment doesn't rise to the dignified level of pontification, no matter how many times you post it. It's just a rambling, pointless rant from another closed mind who has to try to reduce to racism and bigotry every disagreement with the anointed one. "Time will only tell." Such profundity.

Moe Grenier's picture

Pipeline

Obama put off deciding on the pipeline from Canada until after the presidential elections ! Now let see ,Obama bows to Saudi king and also buys his oil , god forbid we drill our own which by the way We have more crude & oil shale in this country than all the rest of the known oil reserves in rest of the world ! with that said why are not drilling our own the answer is very clear , Obama is a Muslim and owes his allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood !Secondly he is bought and paid for by George Soros who believes in one world government which brings us to why Obama gave a plane contract to a Soros owned aircraft contractor in Brazil and also gave a 2 billion U. S. dollar grant to drill oil off the Brazilian coast by a company with ties to none other than George Soros !Oh by the way that oil they say will reach our ports by other means is a boldface lie ! Canada's prime minister has said that they will sell that oil to China ! So know the lame stream media is in on all the lies coming from this outlaw administration ! Wake Up America we are being taken for a bunch of fools ! Obama's main purpose in life is to destroy the only country that can stop the Islamist take over of the world , that country being the USA !Sharia Law sound like anything you want to be governed by ? How stoning your wife to death for showing her face in public or looking at another man ? How 'bout selling your ten year older into marriage with a 50 year old pervert ! that folks is Islam like or not that is what they represent ! God help us all if Obama gets 4 more !

Mark Wrenn's picture

okay

Your tin foil hat is too tight.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

The pipeline

First of all you cannot say that Obama is a Muslim and complain that he has been brainwashed at the United Trinity Church of Christ at the same time. He has to be one or the other. Perhaps you meant that he is a muslim sympathizer. Well Osama Bin Laden and most of his lieutenants might disagree with that one since they are all dead at Obama's command. As for the pipeline, what prompted Congressional Republicans to give the president a deadline ? Was that not politically motivated? Was it really necessary? Why? The oil from that pipeline was always destined for export as is much of the oil we drill in this country. Our greatest export last year was domestic oil, look it up. Given the BP mess in the Gulf of Mexico, I think it would be unwise to take the word of the oil industry that that pipe line is safe. Since the president has chosen to rankle his own union support in this decision I think his concerns go beyond the political. When it comes to drenching our prime farmlands in pipeline oil, I would say it is better to be safe than sorry.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"Since the president has

"Since the president has chosen to rankle his own union support in this decision I think his concerns go beyond the political." Actually, it just goes to show how out of touch he is with all sides of the issues.

Andrew Hall's picture

Since it's produced and

Since it's produced and distributed by The Evil Oil Companies, perhaps we better be safe than sorry and stop using oil altogether, switch over to, I don't know...wind power?

KRIS KUCERA's picture

Saudi Arabia. Nigeria. Venezuela. Canada?

Tony's right. The proposed Keystone XL oil is not destined for the U.S. market. And Canada's prime minister is Dubya but worse.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2012/01/canadia...

ANTHONY NAZAR's picture

International market

The only Canadian oil guaranteed to stay in North America is whatever is refined inland. Sending it to Texas only puts it on the world market along with the rest of the oil and gasoline we produce. Oil from Alaska ends up in Asia (along with half the trees in Tongass National Forest) while we import Middle Eastern oil.

I realize that's considered far too complex for the average person to understand - just accept that we're going to get screwed if big oil is involved.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Yeah, we ought to have

Yeah, we ought to have "little oil" handle it and then everything would be problem free.

 's picture

Ah yes, the oil will find

Ah yes, the oil will find it's way to Asian markets, but, of course, that's where it was going anyways. But since this newspaper wants to portrays this administration as against energy independence, it will fault this administration as against energy independence. When will this newspaper grow a pair?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Probably just about the same

Probably just about the same time that certain people grow a brain.

 's picture

grow up, boy

grow up, boy

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Hahah...Struck a chord did

Hahah...Struck a chord did we?

RONALD RIML's picture

So the problem???

"While pipelines do not have a perfect record, moving millions of gallons of crude oil by ship is more costly and creates even more environmental risks."

And creates even more jobs in the Maritime Industry

MARK GRAVE's picture

Ronald, There are other

Ronald,

There are other considerations at play here than just jobs. There is a great strategic advantage to having oil transported to our country over an inland pipeline vs. our seaways, which are more susceptible to attack during times of war.

RONALD RIML's picture

One Keystone Pipeline

1,700 miles to sabotage it.....

Your turn again.

MARK GRAVE's picture

In the context of protecting

In the context of protecting the nation from yet unknown threat, isn’t better to have two means for transporting crude oil to refineries. Who’s to say that some future enemy of the U.S. would or would not be capable of controlling our coastal seaways? Having both means of transportation is far better than having one. In layman’s terms – don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

RONALD RIML's picture

Certainly

Certainly - I was showing that both had pros & cons... ;)

MARK GRAVE's picture

Ronald, There are other

Ronald,

There are other considerations at play here that just jobs. There is a great strategic advantage to having oil transported to our country over an inland pipeline vs. our seaways, which are more susceptible to attack during times of war.

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