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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Boehner Losses Again

“Socialism has no place in the hearts of those who would secure the fight for freedom and preserve democracy.” Samuel Gompers, American Federation of Labor, 1918.

John Boehner and the House Republicans lost another battle to the duplicity of Barack Obama. Yesterday Obama thumbed his nose at Congress by nixing the XL Pipeline project. The Washington Post reported yesterday:

“The Obama administration will announce this afternoon it is rejecting a Canadian firm’s application for a permit to build and operate a massive oil pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border, according to sources who have been briefed on the matter.

However the administration will allow TransCanada to reapply after it develops an alternate route through the sensitive habitat of Nebraska’s Sandhills. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns will make the announcement, which comes in response to a congressionally-mandated deadline of Feb. 21 for action on the proposed Keystone pipeline.”

After months of playing political ping-pong with 20,000 potential (mostly union) jobs, the Obama administration decided on Wednesday to kill the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried crude oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.

According to a State Department release [emphasis added]:

“Today, the Department of State recommended to President Obama that the presidential permit for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline be denied and, that at this time, the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline be determined not to serve the national interest. The President concurred with the Department’s recommendation, which was predicated on the fact that the Department does not have sufficient time to obtain the information necessary to assess whether the project, in its current state, is in the national interest.

Since 2008, the Department has been conducting a transparent, thorough, and rigorous review of TransCanada’s permit application for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project…”.

For more than three years, the State Department has conducted its “transparent, thorough, and rigorous review.” However, apparently, the Obama Administration believes that three years wasn’t enough to be transparent, thorough, or rigorous enough.

As Forbes’ Christopher Helman noted in November:

“In the process of selecting the proposed route, TransCanada plotted and studied 14 different pipeline paths and submitted 10,000 pages of environmental studies. They’ve already studied this thing to death.”

What’s worse is the fact that Obama’s purely ideological decision does not serve the national interest at all. In fact, since China will be the likely recipient of the Canadian oil, in addition to the destruction of possible jobs, Obama’s decision harm—not help—the nation’s interests.

As a result of the Obama’s job-destroying decision, Laborers’ union president, Terry O’Sullivan issued a blistering statement:

The score is Job-Killers, two; American workers, zero. We are completely and totally disappointed. This is politics at its worst,” LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan said. “Once again the President has sided with environmentalists instead of blue collar construction workers – even though environmental concerns were more than adequately addressed. Blue collar construction workers across the U.S. will not forget this.”

The project would create thousands of good jobs at a time when unemployment in the construction industry is 16 percent with 1.3 million men and women jobless.

Environmental groups have used the Keystone XL as a disingenuous proxy for arguments about global warming. The pipeline would carry up to 900,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada’s Tar Sands to the U.S., reducing reliance on oil from hostile nations. While environmental groups decry Tar Sands development, the Canadian government and Trans-Canada, the company developing the Tar Sands, have made clear the oil will be developed – and possibly sold to China – regardless of whether Keystone XL is built.”


The Administration and environmentalists have blown the whistle on workers trying to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads,” said O’Sullivan. “Instead of celebrating their victory by hugging a tree they should hug a jobless construction worker because they’re the ones who are going to need it.” [Emphasis added.]

Below is Speaker John Boehner’s reaction to Obama’s decision

As usual the Republicans in Congress cut deals with Democrats. The Republicans’ favorite reporters and pundits tell us just how awesome those deals are. Then those deals blow up in our faces.

More tragically, then the same Republican leaders who negotiated those deals go back and negotiate the next deals and the same reporters and pundits at the same publications who told the last ones were so awesome tell us these are so awesome and then these deals too blow up in our faces. Conservatives always raise the alarm. The Republicans always run to the usual suspects to spin their way out of the mess.

On Facebook yesterday, Senator Jim DeMint noted this folly. Republicans were supposed to have big wins on the debt ceiling and on the Keystone XL Pipeline. They told us they had played the Democrats. Instead, we played ourselves.

“The two political victories leading Republicans planned on celebrating today only showcase how much we have to lose by compromising with the Democrats.

The non-binding vote of disapproval on the debt ceiling increase held in the House today and the Obama Administration’s decision not to authorize the Keystone Pipeline were supposed to be excruciating political exercises for the Democrats. They turned out to be a walk in the park.

Instead of generating a great public uproar over the debt, economy, and jobs, all President Obama had to do was reiterate his long-held positions—that the debt ceiling should be increased and the Keystone Pipeline should not be authorized.

Giving the President exactly what he wants and then asking him to remind the public that he wanted it after the fact isn’t a strategy to win. It’s a strategy to cover-up a stunning loss under the guise of a compromise.”

So the Obama administration rejected Keystone XL. Oh sure, they want us to think it’s just a delay, a kicking of the Keystone can down the road. Officially, the state department just sent TransCanada (NYSE:TRP) back to the drawing board to look at a variety of other pipeline routes that do their best to avoid the Sandhills in Nebraska and areas overlaying the Ogawalla Aquifer. But don’t be fooled. This is a rejection plain and simple.

In the process of selecting the proposed route, TransCanada plotted and studied 14 different pipeline paths and submitted 10,000 pages of environmental studies. They’ve already studied this thing to death. So when the state department says this new review could be done by early 2013, can we really expect any different outcome than more delays?

Robert Redford, the actor, was happy with today’s announcement. In a statement released by the Natural Resources Defense Council today Redford said, “This is American democracy at its best: a President who listens to the voice of the people and shows the courage to do what’s right for the country. Thank you, Mr. President, for standing up to Big Oil. Thank you for standing up for us all.”

Frances Beinecke, the president of the NRDC ladled on more praise. “President Obama is displaying leadership and courage in putting the interests of the American people before those of Big Oil. He has taken another significant step in the fight against climate change and in our march toward a clean energy future, which will mean healthier lives for all.”

The only response I can summon to that is a big … whatever. If they really wanted to protect the land and the water of the Midwest they would focus on stopping the agribusiness giants from pouring mountains of hydrocarbon-derived fertilizers directly onto the land, chemicals that trickle down into the water table and through watersheds into the Mississippi and the production of Ethanol.

Besides, it’s not as if delaying a pipeline from Canada will do anything to hurt Big Oil. The United States will continue to consume 19 million barrels of petroleum products per day and will continue to import roughly 10 million barrels per day from the rest of the world.

That oil, wherever it comes from, will be traversing continents in pipelines that likely aren’t built to the specifications that the government would demand of TransCanada. That oil will be shipped to the United States in tankers that belch into the air the exhaust of millions of tons of bunker oil. Great victory Mr. Redford!

The environmental freaks, like Redford sitting in the comfort of his Aspen mansion, need to realize is that oil is not only used for powering our SUVs. It’s used for everything from the making of pharmaceuticals to the clothes you wear. Oil to modern civilized society is as needed as much as food and water.

Meanwhile, what happens if someday Israel decides to bomb Iran and Iran moves to block oil shipments out of the Persian Gulf? The U.S., without a pipeline like Keystone XL, will be in more of a pickle when it comes to securing oil supplies.

And what if someday Venezuela’s ailing President Hugo Chavez dies and is replaced by civil war in Venezuela instead of a more reasonable man who reinvigorates Venezuela’s oil production? The U.S., without a pipeline like Keystone XL, will have a tougher time replacing the million barrels a day we get from Venezuela.

And what if Mexico fails to stem its declines in oil production and stops exporting oil to the U.S.? It’s ok, we’ll just use less, and pay more, and suffer slower growth and fewer jobs as a result.

Wouldn’t you rather have a superfluously good supply chain, a wealth of logistical options in a time of plenty — instead of facing shortages in an emergency?

Yes, any pipeline needs to be built to the highest possible standards. Yes, any material leakage from any pipeline is unacceptable. Yes, crude from oil sands does have a higher “carbon footprint” because of all the processing that goes into it. But as long as Canada is dedicated to developing and using the resource, the U.S. would be insane not to build the strategic infrastructure to buy it.

The White House and the State Department understands and appreciates this. It’s too bad that they find it easier to just say no than to pledge publicly to work with TransCanada to build the safest, most reliable pipeline the world has ever seen

Hey Mr. Redford according to Pennwell Map Search, a leader in the GIS industry, there are over 1 million miles of petroleum carrying pipelines in theoil-pipeline-300x236 United States. How much leakage and how many accidents have there been? Virtually none! As a professional land surveyor and GIS manager I and my firm have provided surveying, engineering, right-of-way, and GIS services for the oil and natural gas industry. You cannot believe the scrutiny and restrictions these pipeline builders work under. From the U.S. Department of Transportation to their own internal risk managers these companies build these pipelines to the strictest standards and each inch of the line is part of a national GIS database and can be monitored on a minute by minute basis. The TSA should be a fraction as efficient as the oil and gas industry.

The XL Pipeline begins in Alberta Canada. Do you think for one minute the Canadians want a faulty pipeline running through their pristine farm lands? I think not. This is insanity fostered by the radical, left-wing environmental groups who have gone off the rails with their environmental tyranny. They are the new Communists. They are like watermelons, green on the outside and red on the inside. This is the group Obama is playing to.

As for jobs the usual prediction is 20,000 jobs. I believe it is much more than that. These are not burger-flipping jobs. They are high paying jobs, both union and non-union, that average $70,000 to $100,000 per year. If you doubt my numbers just ask a few of the people who worked on the Alaska Pipeline. These fellows went north to Alaska for a few years and came back home and bought a house and car for cash. These are the folks Obama is screwing in favor of his left-wing environmental, government union, and SEIU service workers union base. Obama doesn’t give a damn about construction workers. Why, because many of them are independents and conservatives. Their union bosses may contribute to the Democrats, but the rank and file vote for Republicans. They know it takes capital to build projects, not rhetoric and social programs.

Obama has played to his left-wing base at a high cost to the American people and the construction industry, one of the driving engines of our economy. The Republicans in Congress have been deceived and taken to the cleaners by the most socialist president in our history. They rolled over on this pipeline. They would not force Obama to approve the pipeline as a condition of passing the payroll tax deal. They wanted to be liked and were fearful of alienating the people who will not vote for them anyway. When will they learn that you cannot make a deal with a liar and a socialist?

The Canadians claim they will refile for pipeline approval with the hope of having a Republican in the White House next year. I hope they are successful on both counts. If not it’s a shorter distance from Calgary to Vancouver than from Calgary to the Gulf of Mexico.

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