Obama stops oil pipeline

President Obama said “no” to the pipeline that would transport Canadian oil from that country’s vast reserves of oil sand to the refineries of Texas, creating jobs along the whole route.  Even the liberal Washington Post editorial board thinks that decision is foolish and makes the point that stopping the pipeline won’t even help the environment:

Without the pipeline, Canada would still export its bitumen — with long-term trends in the global market, it’s far too valuable to keep in the ground — but it would go to China. And, as a State Department report found, U.S. refineries would still import low-quality crude — just from the Middle East. Stopping the pipeline, then, wouldn’t do anything to reduce global warming, but it would almost certainly require more oil to be transported across oceans in tankers.

Environmentalists and Nebraska politicians say that the route TransCanada proposed might threaten the state’s ecologically sensitive Sand Hills region. But TransCanada has been willing to tweak the route, in consultation with Nebraska officials, even though a government analysis last year concluded that the original one would have “limited adverse environmental impacts.” Surely the Obama administration didn’t have to declare the whole project contrary to the national interest — that’s the standard State was supposed to apply — and force the company to start all over again.

Environmentalists go on to argue that some of the fuel U.S. refineries produce from Canada’s bitumen might be exported elsewhere. But even if that’s true, why force those refineries to obtain their crude from farther away? Anti-Keystone activists insist that building the pipeline will raise gas prices in the Midwest. But shouldn’t environmentalists want that? Finally, pipeline skeptics dispute the estimates of the number of jobs that the project would create. But, clearly, constructing the pipeline would still result in job gains during a sluggish economic recovery.

via Obama’s Keystone pipeline rejection is hard to accept – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Joe

    The State Department (i.e. part of Obama’s administration) green lighted this project twice – after conducting environmental impact studies.

  • Joe

    The State Department (i.e. part of Obama’s administration) green lighted this project twice – after conducting environmental impact studies.

  • Jon

    So wrong on a lot of levels. Maybe this will be the “bridge to nowhere” for this election.

  • Jon

    So wrong on a lot of levels. Maybe this will be the “bridge to nowhere” for this election.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Obama has sealed his fate more or less with this, coupled with the higher gas prices.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Obama has sealed his fate more or less with this, coupled with the higher gas prices.

  • Tom Hering

    Hmm. I don’t think the oil and gas companies (and corporations in general) are so wildly popular with voters today that Obama has “sealed his fate” with this decision. It will be easy enough to argue that building the pipeline would have raised the price of gas even higher.

  • Tom Hering

    Hmm. I don’t think the oil and gas companies (and corporations in general) are so wildly popular with voters today that Obama has “sealed his fate” with this decision. It will be easy enough to argue that building the pipeline would have raised the price of gas even higher.

  • TE Schroeder

    Pardon my ignorance, but rather than a pipe line across the USA, why not build a new refinery in North Dakota? Is it THAT cost prohibitive? And isn’t there oil waiting to be tapped in North Dakota as well?

  • TE Schroeder

    Pardon my ignorance, but rather than a pipe line across the USA, why not build a new refinery in North Dakota? Is it THAT cost prohibitive? And isn’t there oil waiting to be tapped in North Dakota as well?

  • Steve Billingsley

    Political pandering to part of his base. Nothing more, nothing less. Just ridiculous. The Washington Post editorial page (which hasn’t endorsed a Republican for President since Eisenhower in 1952, which means yes – they endorsed Adlai Stevenson in 1956) called it the wrong call. Just a short-sighted political decision that will likely come back to haunt him in the general election (particularly if gas prices are high in Sept/Oct.)

  • Steve Billingsley

    Political pandering to part of his base. Nothing more, nothing less. Just ridiculous. The Washington Post editorial page (which hasn’t endorsed a Republican for President since Eisenhower in 1952, which means yes – they endorsed Adlai Stevenson in 1956) called it the wrong call. Just a short-sighted political decision that will likely come back to haunt him in the general election (particularly if gas prices are high in Sept/Oct.)

  • Tom Hering

    Why would building the pipeline raise U.S. gas prices – and whose fuel needs would the pipeline really serve?

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/story/2011-12-31/united-states-export/52298812/1?loc=interstitialskip

  • Tom Hering

    Why would building the pipeline raise U.S. gas prices – and whose fuel needs would the pipeline really serve?

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/story/2011-12-31/united-states-export/52298812/1?loc=interstitialskip

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m rather ambivalent on the Keystone XL project because I’m ambivalent on big oil in general, but, since my ambivalence is largely confined to realm of idealism, it’s foolish to stonewall this project. If we’re going to maintain our addiction to oil–and we’re going to need to do so for a few more decades–we should get as much of the stuff as we can from domestic or near-domestic sources.

    However, while I oppose the State Department’s dithering here, the story overstates the case. The Obama Administration didn’t deny or block the project with any finality. They just delayed it. Again.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m rather ambivalent on the Keystone XL project because I’m ambivalent on big oil in general, but, since my ambivalence is largely confined to realm of idealism, it’s foolish to stonewall this project. If we’re going to maintain our addiction to oil–and we’re going to need to do so for a few more decades–we should get as much of the stuff as we can from domestic or near-domestic sources.

    However, while I oppose the State Department’s dithering here, the story overstates the case. The Obama Administration didn’t deny or block the project with any finality. They just delayed it. Again.

  • Tom Hering

    I’d be more supportive of the pipeline if it ended at new refineries (even more jobs!) that would be centrally located to serve the U.S. Instead of ending at refineries on the Gulf, from which the refined crude (fuel) can be exported to higher-profit foreign markets.

  • Tom Hering

    I’d be more supportive of the pipeline if it ended at new refineries (even more jobs!) that would be centrally located to serve the U.S. Instead of ending at refineries on the Gulf, from which the refined crude (fuel) can be exported to higher-profit foreign markets.

  • Cincinnatus

    So, wait, Tom, you won’t support Keystone unless it services refineries you choose in locations you approve? Ah, pork-barreling/log-rolling at its purest! Ben Nelson would be proud.

    In truth, however, Keystone would directly service refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma, in addition to those on the Gulf Coast (not that I have a problem with those).

  • Cincinnatus

    So, wait, Tom, you won’t support Keystone unless it services refineries you choose in locations you approve? Ah, pork-barreling/log-rolling at its purest! Ben Nelson would be proud.

    In truth, however, Keystone would directly service refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma, in addition to those on the Gulf Coast (not that I have a problem with those).

  • Jason

    Here’s the deal for us in Alberta that have the oil that this discussion is about. We are going to sell the oil to someone, we’d rather sell it to our “friendly” neighbors, but alas it appears the president would rather buy oil from your enemies, so we will sell our oil to China. We’ve already started a pipeline to the coast that will pump as much as their tankers can carry. They want what we have so we will sell it to them, the U.S. loses again and China surges all the more ahead. Something to think about in this whole scheme.

  • Jason

    Here’s the deal for us in Alberta that have the oil that this discussion is about. We are going to sell the oil to someone, we’d rather sell it to our “friendly” neighbors, but alas it appears the president would rather buy oil from your enemies, so we will sell our oil to China. We’ve already started a pipeline to the coast that will pump as much as their tankers can carry. They want what we have so we will sell it to them, the U.S. loses again and China surges all the more ahead. Something to think about in this whole scheme.

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, let’s recall the old refrain: if we don’t build the pipe and buy the oil, someone else will–notably the Chinese. Of course, that probably speaks worse of the moral/environmental scruples of China and Canada than it does of anything related to the United States. But it does speak volumes about the sheer difficulty of getting anything interesting done on this continent these days.

    Allow me to indulge some partisanship: isn’t it a tad ironic/annoying that the Obama Administration was willing and able to fast-track (pun intended?) regional high-speed passenger rail lines, whose economic benefits and cost effectiveness are dubious at best, but is intentionally obstructing a sure thing with massive economic benefits for all (or at least most) involved and funded by private investment?

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, let’s recall the old refrain: if we don’t build the pipe and buy the oil, someone else will–notably the Chinese. Of course, that probably speaks worse of the moral/environmental scruples of China and Canada than it does of anything related to the United States. But it does speak volumes about the sheer difficulty of getting anything interesting done on this continent these days.

    Allow me to indulge some partisanship: isn’t it a tad ironic/annoying that the Obama Administration was willing and able to fast-track (pun intended?) regional high-speed passenger rail lines, whose economic benefits and cost effectiveness are dubious at best, but is intentionally obstructing a sure thing with massive economic benefits for all (or at least most) involved and funded by private investment?

  • Cincinnatus

    Jason beat me to the point–an important point, I might add.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jason beat me to the point–an important point, I might add.

  • Steve Billingsley

    And another thought for environmentalists. Much, much more oil is spilled out of tankers than pipelines. Delaying this pipeline and sending oil to China (that noted environmental exemplar) is way worse for the environment than the pipeline.

    Just a dumb decision all around.

  • Steve Billingsley

    And another thought for environmentalists. Much, much more oil is spilled out of tankers than pipelines. Delaying this pipeline and sending oil to China (that noted environmental exemplar) is way worse for the environment than the pipeline.

    Just a dumb decision all around.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    FWIW

    North Dakota has a refinery as do many states.

    Here is a map.

    http://www.draveed.com/2008/06/oil-oil-everywhere-but-not-a-drop-to-refine/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    FWIW

    North Dakota has a refinery as do many states.

    Here is a map.

    http://www.draveed.com/2008/06/oil-oil-everywhere-but-not-a-drop-to-refine/

  • Dust

    Jason…are you suggesting that Chinese influence played a role in the POTUS decision? We do owe them some serious cash…

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    Jason…are you suggesting that Chinese influence played a role in the POTUS decision? We do owe them some serious cash…

    Cheers!

  • Jason

    Our oil is for sale, it’s just that simple. I don’t have some conspiracy that says China black mailed the president, although that is an intriguing line of thought. We wanted to pump it to you because you need it and we need to sell it. You said no, China said please, it’s a no brainer, money talks. All the pipe that was already built for the project is now going to be used to go to the coast. 10 seconds after the announcment we started putting pipe down going west instead of south.

  • Jason

    Our oil is for sale, it’s just that simple. I don’t have some conspiracy that says China black mailed the president, although that is an intriguing line of thought. We wanted to pump it to you because you need it and we need to sell it. You said no, China said please, it’s a no brainer, money talks. All the pipe that was already built for the project is now going to be used to go to the coast. 10 seconds after the announcment we started putting pipe down going west instead of south.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 11

    Think of the potential strategic effects of our buying oil from countries (that some call our enemies) as economic leverage with them, as well as the leverage of having our friends selling to China. There may be nothing there, but it is worth considering. I just think you have more influence with your trading partners than you do with folks that you have written off. Also, is it a great strategy to let all the light sweet crude to China, while we go to the extra expense of refining the heavy stuff? I don’t know. Just askin. Finally, I think the best strategy for the US, Canada, Norway, etc., is to buy all foreign oil from those countries we trust the least and exhaust their resources first because at present there is no satisfactory replacement. Then when all theirs is gone, we will still have ours. That will buy us more time to think of something.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 11

    Think of the potential strategic effects of our buying oil from countries (that some call our enemies) as economic leverage with them, as well as the leverage of having our friends selling to China. There may be nothing there, but it is worth considering. I just think you have more influence with your trading partners than you do with folks that you have written off. Also, is it a great strategy to let all the light sweet crude to China, while we go to the extra expense of refining the heavy stuff? I don’t know. Just askin. Finally, I think the best strategy for the US, Canada, Norway, etc., is to buy all foreign oil from those countries we trust the least and exhaust their resources first because at present there is no satisfactory replacement. Then when all theirs is gone, we will still have ours. That will buy us more time to think of something.

  • Jason

    sg, I’m guessing that you don’t know how much oil is up here. At current usage we have well over 150 years of supply in just the oil sands, and that’s not counting the oil sands that run across northern Saskatchewan, of which there there is double what Alberta has and has not even been touched yet. And that’s not including our drilling, which has basically stopped because the oil sands are far easier to to extract oil from.

  • Jason

    sg, I’m guessing that you don’t know how much oil is up here. At current usage we have well over 150 years of supply in just the oil sands, and that’s not counting the oil sands that run across northern Saskatchewan, of which there there is double what Alberta has and has not even been touched yet. And that’s not including our drilling, which has basically stopped because the oil sands are far easier to to extract oil from.

  • Tom Hering

    Pipeline south or pipeline west. Either way, the end product (fuel) is going to be exported to higher-paying markets, resulting in profit for a few, and higher gas prices for Americans (less domestic supply).

  • Tom Hering

    Pipeline south or pipeline west. Either way, the end product (fuel) is going to be exported to higher-paying markets, resulting in profit for a few, and higher gas prices for Americans (less domestic supply).

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom@20: Where are you getting that absurd notion. Of course, it’s likely that some of the energy will be exported–the United States is actually a net exporter of energy commodities (almost at least; those were the projections for 2011).

    But you’re going to be really hard-pressed to argue a) that Keystone would be bad for the United States in purely economic terms and b) that there are nations that are willing to pay more for oil than the United States. And even if there were (e.g., China), wouldn’t you rather that some of the jobs associated with such exports–and there are a lot of them–be based in the United States rather than Canada?

    I’ve heard lots of objections to Keystone, many of them valid, from other folks–environmental, etc.–but yours, Tom, doesn’t even make sense.

    And don’t get me started on sg’s comments. We should keep entangling ourselves in the Middle East until they run out of oil? Why? Why not let China do that? And not all “foreign entanglements” are created equal; I would rather deal with Canada than Saudi Arabia.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom@20: Where are you getting that absurd notion. Of course, it’s likely that some of the energy will be exported–the United States is actually a net exporter of energy commodities (almost at least; those were the projections for 2011).

    But you’re going to be really hard-pressed to argue a) that Keystone would be bad for the United States in purely economic terms and b) that there are nations that are willing to pay more for oil than the United States. And even if there were (e.g., China), wouldn’t you rather that some of the jobs associated with such exports–and there are a lot of them–be based in the United States rather than Canada?

    I’ve heard lots of objections to Keystone, many of them valid, from other folks–environmental, etc.–but yours, Tom, doesn’t even make sense.

    And don’t get me started on sg’s comments. We should keep entangling ourselves in the Middle East until they run out of oil? Why? Why not let China do that? And not all “foreign entanglements” are created equal; I would rather deal with Canada than Saudi Arabia.

  • Dust

    Looks like China gets Brazil’s new oil too:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/19/china-gets-jump-on-us-for-brazils-oil/

    Looks like it’s deep sea stuff too, by the way….

    Wouldn’t it be weird if they are using the very deep water rigs shipped out of the gulf after that big explosion a few years ago? You know, the ones no longer needed after our country instituted a deep water drilling moratorium pending further investigation and study?

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    Looks like China gets Brazil’s new oil too:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/19/china-gets-jump-on-us-for-brazils-oil/

    Looks like it’s deep sea stuff too, by the way….

    Wouldn’t it be weird if they are using the very deep water rigs shipped out of the gulf after that big explosion a few years ago? You know, the ones no longer needed after our country instituted a deep water drilling moratorium pending further investigation and study?

    Cheers!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 19

    I admit I don’t know. However, I did read one of your MP’s going on an on about how he would like to see Canada’s population hit 100,000,000 by way of immigration. If you guys are really on board with that idea, you might just need some of that grease. I hear folks need a fair amount of fuel to keep warm up there. Just saying.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/fulfilling-lauriers-vision-a-canada-of-100-million/article2104666/singlepage/#articlecontent

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 19

    I admit I don’t know. However, I did read one of your MP’s going on an on about how he would like to see Canada’s population hit 100,000,000 by way of immigration. If you guys are really on board with that idea, you might just need some of that grease. I hear folks need a fair amount of fuel to keep warm up there. Just saying.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/fulfilling-lauriers-vision-a-canada-of-100-million/article2104666/singlepage/#articlecontent

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @22

    Yeah, well, I wouldn’t necessarily count on Petrobras coming through.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/0320-02.htm

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @22

    Yeah, well, I wouldn’t necessarily count on Petrobras coming through.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/0320-02.htm

  • Dust

    sg…very interesting, thanks. it’s dated march 2001…am guessing they have fixed everything and are back on line now in 2012?

    cheers!

  • Dust

    sg…very interesting, thanks. it’s dated march 2001…am guessing they have fixed everything and are back on line now in 2012?

    cheers!

  • DonS

    First, the good news: Trans-Canada may have found a way around the State Department by running their pipeline from Montana to the Gulf Coast now, using Bakken Formation oil, and then just seeking permission later simply to tie that pipeline to Canada http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-20/transcanada-may-shorten-keystone-xl-bypass-federal-review.html

    I love it when the useless and harmful bureaucrats get bypassed.

    This thing has been going through State Department approvals and environmental review since 2006 — and was approved at every step of the way until Obama’s senior bureaucrats gummed up the works at the behest of environmental extremists. But Obama didn’t want to kill it outright during an election year, so he tried to put it off until after the 2012 elections. The Republicans in the House called him on this maneuver during the Social Security payroll tax cut negotiations, and forced him to agree to a 60 day decision window. So, in his passive-aggressive way, he killed it (yes, he did kill it, Cincinnatus @8, because he would require them to re-apply and start the 5+ year process all over again), but blamed the Republicans for making him “hurry”. As Cincinnatus said, what a joke that he can’t make this decision after five years of dillying, but can fast-track useless boodoggles like high speed rail.

    Tom — how can increasing fuel supply raise prices? That makes no sense whatsoever. Yes, more refined fuel might get exported (good for us– we need whatever help we can get to improve our balance of payments!), but not more than 100% of the increase in supply!

    TE Schroeder @ 5: If you build a bunch of refineries in North Dakota, then you are just going to have to transport refined fuel, rather than crude oil, all over the country. Is that better? Since gasoline is more flammable than crude oil, I would think it would be worse.

  • DonS

    First, the good news: Trans-Canada may have found a way around the State Department by running their pipeline from Montana to the Gulf Coast now, using Bakken Formation oil, and then just seeking permission later simply to tie that pipeline to Canada http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-20/transcanada-may-shorten-keystone-xl-bypass-federal-review.html

    I love it when the useless and harmful bureaucrats get bypassed.

    This thing has been going through State Department approvals and environmental review since 2006 — and was approved at every step of the way until Obama’s senior bureaucrats gummed up the works at the behest of environmental extremists. But Obama didn’t want to kill it outright during an election year, so he tried to put it off until after the 2012 elections. The Republicans in the House called him on this maneuver during the Social Security payroll tax cut negotiations, and forced him to agree to a 60 day decision window. So, in his passive-aggressive way, he killed it (yes, he did kill it, Cincinnatus @8, because he would require them to re-apply and start the 5+ year process all over again), but blamed the Republicans for making him “hurry”. As Cincinnatus said, what a joke that he can’t make this decision after five years of dillying, but can fast-track useless boodoggles like high speed rail.

    Tom — how can increasing fuel supply raise prices? That makes no sense whatsoever. Yes, more refined fuel might get exported (good for us– we need whatever help we can get to improve our balance of payments!), but not more than 100% of the increase in supply!

    TE Schroeder @ 5: If you build a bunch of refineries in North Dakota, then you are just going to have to transport refined fuel, rather than crude oil, all over the country. Is that better? Since gasoline is more flammable than crude oil, I would think it would be worse.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @25

    There are companies that consistently use best practices. And there are those that don’t. I don’t think you can eliminate all accidents, but it is interesting that different companies definitely have different track records. I am not an expert, but know plenty of them socially. Their reputation is no secret.

    http://peripateticengineer.blogspot.com/2011/04/petrobras-in-gom.html

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @25

    There are companies that consistently use best practices. And there are those that don’t. I don’t think you can eliminate all accidents, but it is interesting that different companies definitely have different track records. I am not an expert, but know plenty of them socially. Their reputation is no secret.

    http://peripateticengineer.blogspot.com/2011/04/petrobras-in-gom.html

  • Dust

    sg….thanks again! so are petrobras (pb) and bp just mirror images of the same fossil fueled dragon :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    sg….thanks again! so are petrobras (pb) and bp just mirror images of the same fossil fueled dragon :)

    cheers!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@26), the article you link to undermines your own claims:

    TransCanada agreed in November to re-route the project to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills region in Nebraska. Discussions with the state on a new route may be completed by September, Pourbaix said.

    The U.S. State Department rejected the permit application yesterday after Congress set a Feb. 21 deadline for a decision. President Barack Obama said the “arbitrary” time line wouldn’t have allowed enough time to make a decision on the new Nebraska path.

    The timing of TransCanada’s proposed change, combined with the deadline set by Republicans, appears to have forced Obama’s hand.

    Anyhow, wouldn’t it be better for America to have the pipeline run from Montana, instead of Canada?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS (@26), the article you link to undermines your own claims:

    TransCanada agreed in November to re-route the project to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills region in Nebraska. Discussions with the state on a new route may be completed by September, Pourbaix said.

    The U.S. State Department rejected the permit application yesterday after Congress set a Feb. 21 deadline for a decision. President Barack Obama said the “arbitrary” time line wouldn’t have allowed enough time to make a decision on the new Nebraska path.

    The timing of TransCanada’s proposed change, combined with the deadline set by Republicans, appears to have forced Obama’s hand.

    Anyhow, wouldn’t it be better for America to have the pipeline run from Montana, instead of Canada?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jason (hi, from SK!) has said everything I would have said here.

    Except to note that our PM noted the other night in an interview, that “foreign entities”, and the reference here is to Washington-based environmental groups are doing their very best to meddle in Canada’s affairs, and have gone so far as to try and stall the environmental consutlation process for the noted pipeline to the BC coast. For that process, over 4000 “groups” registered. The Minister of the evironment noted that it seems as if the tactic is that groups like Environmental Defence, Washington based btw, funded many entities to register as groups to try and create an unmanageable process, to delay the pipeline.

    This is is indirect political interference. Stephen Harper (our PM), went on to say it appears that some groups (he didn’t name them) would like to see the Northern half of this continent (ie, Canada) as one giant National Park.

    In Canada, we are beginning to take the actions of US-based Environment fanatics very seriously. You should too.

    It is also true that the Obama administration is playing a delaying game, because it is caught between a rock and a hard place – two ke constituencies on opposite sides here – left wing Democrats, Environmentalists etc on the one hand, and Blue-collar workers and Unions on the other. Delay means not completely losing either, lthough they might have overplayed their hand now.

    But the envorinmentalists have long ago overplayed theirs: Venezuelan oil is also shale oil – from the Orinoco basin, and there, the workers don’t enjoy the same rights as here in Canada, the indigenous tribes are not respected, and I guarentee you the jungle is much more polluted than anything here. Plus, Chavez uses oil-income to sponsor terrorists in Colombia, for instance. Saudi oil, amongst others, pays for a Kingdom to surpress religious minorities (not just Christians – the Ba’hai also suffer), spread hate literature around the world, and importantly, supress women (well known). Female supression is also common in many other Middle Eastern Countries. Nigerian oil fuels civil conflict, especially in the Niger Delta, where many tribespeople have been killed. So, in their constant demonising of Canada, it is clear the the enviro’s do not care a fig for tropical jungles, brown and black tribespeople, women, or religious minorties. Tell that to Darryl Hannah next time you see her…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Jason (hi, from SK!) has said everything I would have said here.

    Except to note that our PM noted the other night in an interview, that “foreign entities”, and the reference here is to Washington-based environmental groups are doing their very best to meddle in Canada’s affairs, and have gone so far as to try and stall the environmental consutlation process for the noted pipeline to the BC coast. For that process, over 4000 “groups” registered. The Minister of the evironment noted that it seems as if the tactic is that groups like Environmental Defence, Washington based btw, funded many entities to register as groups to try and create an unmanageable process, to delay the pipeline.

    This is is indirect political interference. Stephen Harper (our PM), went on to say it appears that some groups (he didn’t name them) would like to see the Northern half of this continent (ie, Canada) as one giant National Park.

    In Canada, we are beginning to take the actions of US-based Environment fanatics very seriously. You should too.

    It is also true that the Obama administration is playing a delaying game, because it is caught between a rock and a hard place – two ke constituencies on opposite sides here – left wing Democrats, Environmentalists etc on the one hand, and Blue-collar workers and Unions on the other. Delay means not completely losing either, lthough they might have overplayed their hand now.

    But the envorinmentalists have long ago overplayed theirs: Venezuelan oil is also shale oil – from the Orinoco basin, and there, the workers don’t enjoy the same rights as here in Canada, the indigenous tribes are not respected, and I guarentee you the jungle is much more polluted than anything here. Plus, Chavez uses oil-income to sponsor terrorists in Colombia, for instance. Saudi oil, amongst others, pays for a Kingdom to surpress religious minorities (not just Christians – the Ba’hai also suffer), spread hate literature around the world, and importantly, supress women (well known). Female supression is also common in many other Middle Eastern Countries. Nigerian oil fuels civil conflict, especially in the Niger Delta, where many tribespeople have been killed. So, in their constant demonising of Canada, it is clear the the enviro’s do not care a fig for tropical jungles, brown and black tribespeople, women, or religious minorties. Tell that to Darryl Hannah next time you see her…

  • Dust

    Klasie….perhaps one solution is for certain groups to make certain political and other kinds of donations, and voila, the protestors and other parties engaged in delay tactics, conveniently disappear?

    Something like that is said to have happened with regard to permit applications for certain casinos in the good ole USA?

    Cheers!

  • Dust

    Klasie….perhaps one solution is for certain groups to make certain political and other kinds of donations, and voila, the protestors and other parties engaged in delay tactics, conveniently disappear?

    Something like that is said to have happened with regard to permit applications for certain casinos in the good ole USA?

    Cheers!

  • Tom Hering

    “So, in their constant demonising of Canada, it is clear the the enviro’s do not care a fig for tropical jungles, brown and black tribespeople, women, or religious minorties.”

    Whoa, Klasie! Take a deep breath. Medicate. Repeat. Or next thing you know, you’ll be arguing young-earth creationists killed the pipeline. I’d hate to see that happen to you. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    “So, in their constant demonising of Canada, it is clear the the enviro’s do not care a fig for tropical jungles, brown and black tribespeople, women, or religious minorties.”

    Whoa, Klasie! Take a deep breath. Medicate. Repeat. Or next thing you know, you’ll be arguing young-earth creationists killed the pipeline. I’d hate to see that happen to you. :-D

  • DonS

    tODD @ 29: No, the article didn’t undermine my claims. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/19/nebraska-gov-heineman-expects-to-ask-obama-for-keystone-decision-before/

    The State Department had already approved the more sensitive route, before Obama backed off at the instigation of environmental extremists. The new route would be less sensitive — no reason for the State Department to continue holding approval hostage when the details of the new route can be well managed by state officials and their own environmental studies. In other words, if Nebraska is on board, and is willing to work with Keystone on a less sensitive route through Nebraska, there is no reason for continued federal involvement.

    Anyhow, wouldn’t it be better for America to have the pipeline run from Montana, instead of Canada?

    Um, not if you want to gain access to Canadian oil.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 29: No, the article didn’t undermine my claims. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/19/nebraska-gov-heineman-expects-to-ask-obama-for-keystone-decision-before/

    The State Department had already approved the more sensitive route, before Obama backed off at the instigation of environmental extremists. The new route would be less sensitive — no reason for the State Department to continue holding approval hostage when the details of the new route can be well managed by state officials and their own environmental studies. In other words, if Nebraska is on board, and is willing to work with Keystone on a less sensitive route through Nebraska, there is no reason for continued federal involvement.

    Anyhow, wouldn’t it be better for America to have the pipeline run from Montana, instead of Canada?

    Um, not if you want to gain access to Canadian oil.

  • Steve Billingsley

    An interesting take on the politics of this decision and the evironmentalist way of looking at things.

    http://spectator.org/archives/2012/01/20/environmentalism-and-the-leisu

  • Steve Billingsley

    An interesting take on the politics of this decision and the evironmentalist way of looking at things.

    http://spectator.org/archives/2012/01/20/environmentalism-and-the-leisu

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 30: Well said!

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 30: Well said!

  • DonS

    Steve @ 34: Yes. As I’ve always said, extremist environmentalism is all about affluent liberal white urbanists who don’t care about or don’t comprehend the damage and hardship their proposed policies and ideas inflict on the less well off.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 34: Yes. As I’ve always said, extremist environmentalism is all about affluent liberal white urbanists who don’t care about or don’t comprehend the damage and hardship their proposed policies and ideas inflict on the less well off.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust – political donations in Canada are strictly regulated. Corporations and Unions are not allowed to make them, and any individual may not contribute to a party/individual candidate in excess of $1100 per annum.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust – political donations in Canada are strictly regulated. Corporations and Unions are not allowed to make them, and any individual may not contribute to a party/individual candidate in excess of $1100 per annum.

  • SKPeterson

    One thing that needs to be noted: oil is a fungible commodity. As Jaon and KK have pointed out, the Canadians will sell their oil on the global market whatever we don’t buy. That will have a positive impact to some extent on prices in the U.S. (i.e. and increase in global supply will lower global prices), but one major factor in fuel prices is the cost of transport of crude to refineries and then shipment of refined product to different markets.

    So, Todd @ 29, it may not be in American interests to have the pipeline begin in Montana. It may be more cost effective to have it begin closer to the production source in Canada, even though the distance would be greater. What you are missing is the transport costs of rail or highway from Canada to Montana (or any other presumed pipeline wellhead) against the costs of shipping by pipeline. Also, from an environmental standpoint, think of all the trains and trucks that would be needed to transport the crude – that equals increased air pollution; ask yourself this – what is more likely to happen? a pipeline breach spilling thousands of gallons of crude or a tanker truck having an accident and spilling thousands of gallons. The answer is trucks will have more accidents and potentially a far higher environmental impact from both an air pollution and potential soil and water pollution than using a pipeline originating in Canada.

    That being said, I would think that while Montana may have pipeline sites, the Keystone owners would try to get it into North Dakota to tap into the shale reserves on this side of the border and achieve some economies of scale and scope. Then, Tom @ 20 et al, putting more refineries in North Dakota may make sense. but, you are talking about hundreds of millions, if not billions to build up the depth of refining capacity to levels comparable to what exists from Houston to Baton Rouge. Again, you have to weigh the potential cost savings of shipping to North Dakota against the capital investment costs you would need to make. Another factor is then the available refining capacity in the Houston-Baton Rouge complex. If capacity is severely constrained, then that may make North Dakota a more attractive option, but again you run into trade-offs with the capital investment costs against the refining congestion/capacity costs. Potentially it could be more cost effective to expand refining capacity in Houston-Baton Rouge than build new capacity in the upper Great Plains.

  • SKPeterson

    One thing that needs to be noted: oil is a fungible commodity. As Jaon and KK have pointed out, the Canadians will sell their oil on the global market whatever we don’t buy. That will have a positive impact to some extent on prices in the U.S. (i.e. and increase in global supply will lower global prices), but one major factor in fuel prices is the cost of transport of crude to refineries and then shipment of refined product to different markets.

    So, Todd @ 29, it may not be in American interests to have the pipeline begin in Montana. It may be more cost effective to have it begin closer to the production source in Canada, even though the distance would be greater. What you are missing is the transport costs of rail or highway from Canada to Montana (or any other presumed pipeline wellhead) against the costs of shipping by pipeline. Also, from an environmental standpoint, think of all the trains and trucks that would be needed to transport the crude – that equals increased air pollution; ask yourself this – what is more likely to happen? a pipeline breach spilling thousands of gallons of crude or a tanker truck having an accident and spilling thousands of gallons. The answer is trucks will have more accidents and potentially a far higher environmental impact from both an air pollution and potential soil and water pollution than using a pipeline originating in Canada.

    That being said, I would think that while Montana may have pipeline sites, the Keystone owners would try to get it into North Dakota to tap into the shale reserves on this side of the border and achieve some economies of scale and scope. Then, Tom @ 20 et al, putting more refineries in North Dakota may make sense. but, you are talking about hundreds of millions, if not billions to build up the depth of refining capacity to levels comparable to what exists from Houston to Baton Rouge. Again, you have to weigh the potential cost savings of shipping to North Dakota against the capital investment costs you would need to make. Another factor is then the available refining capacity in the Houston-Baton Rouge complex. If capacity is severely constrained, then that may make North Dakota a more attractive option, but again you run into trade-offs with the capital investment costs against the refining congestion/capacity costs. Potentially it could be more cost effective to expand refining capacity in Houston-Baton Rouge than build new capacity in the upper Great Plains.

  • Jesse

    I’m supportive of the Keystone XL project, but don’t buy the idea that the pipeline will prevent Canada’s shale oil from eventually going to Pacific markets.

  • Jesse

    I’m supportive of the Keystone XL project, but don’t buy the idea that the pipeline will prevent Canada’s shale oil from eventually going to Pacific markets.

  • DonS

    We need to understand what SKP said — oil is a fungible commodity. China is going to purchase all it needs — from somewhere. The important thing is for us to make sure there is plenty of worldwide supply to meet worldwide demand, so that prices are lower and supplies are stable. We don’t want third world countries being able to disrupt the world economy by imposing relatively minor supply disruptions, as is the case now. There are plenty of supplies available, more than at any other time in history, by a lot! Better yet, most of these new supplies are in North and South America, including huge quantities of newly available oil and gas in the U.S. We just need to have the will and foresight to develop them. For those of you who hate our continued dalliances in the Middle East — developing our domestic supplies is the best way to take pressure off the Middle East and power away from evil and irrational dictators there.

  • DonS

    We need to understand what SKP said — oil is a fungible commodity. China is going to purchase all it needs — from somewhere. The important thing is for us to make sure there is plenty of worldwide supply to meet worldwide demand, so that prices are lower and supplies are stable. We don’t want third world countries being able to disrupt the world economy by imposing relatively minor supply disruptions, as is the case now. There are plenty of supplies available, more than at any other time in history, by a lot! Better yet, most of these new supplies are in North and South America, including huge quantities of newly available oil and gas in the U.S. We just need to have the will and foresight to develop them. For those of you who hate our continued dalliances in the Middle East — developing our domestic supplies is the best way to take pressure off the Middle East and power away from evil and irrational dictators there.

  • Dust

    Klasie….i got the impression that perhaps the groups in canada were getting their marching orders from the us. if so, then contributions in the us could call them off the scent also?

    plus, ditto DonS re: comments in 30 :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    Klasie….i got the impression that perhaps the groups in canada were getting their marching orders from the us. if so, then contributions in the us could call them off the scent also?

    plus, ditto DonS re: comments in 30 :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    Jason….good points in 11, and throughout, thanks!

    one question please…if the goal is to make money, then one would sell to the highest bidder, eh? So, with regard to that, had heard that China had offered a higher price for that oil, but you all preferred to sell to your “friends” down here at a lower price? Have you heard anything like that? Could it be true? You know, for strategic and diplomatic, historical reasons perhaps?

    Anyway, since you have so much, why don’t you just give it to us :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    Jason….good points in 11, and throughout, thanks!

    one question please…if the goal is to make money, then one would sell to the highest bidder, eh? So, with regard to that, had heard that China had offered a higher price for that oil, but you all preferred to sell to your “friends” down here at a lower price? Have you heard anything like that? Could it be true? You know, for strategic and diplomatic, historical reasons perhaps?

    Anyway, since you have so much, why don’t you just give it to us :)

    cheers!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust – Well, it gets complicated, I guess, when a non-political group get’s active in something like an environmental review. It I can’t see how funding “the other side” could happen at all. Exposing the frauds for what they are might help, though.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust – Well, it gets complicated, I guess, when a non-political group get’s active in something like an environmental review. It I can’t see how funding “the other side” could happen at all. Exposing the frauds for what they are might help, though.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, DonS (@33), but now your new article tells me that “President Obama might be compelled to make a decision on the Keystone pipeline before the election after all,” even as you also apparently maintain (@26) that Obama’s “killing” the project “would require them to re-apply and start the 5+ year process all over again”. So … which is it, again? A five-plus-year process, or one that will require a decision in a few months?

    SK (@38), you said:

    it may not be in American interests to have the pipeline begin in Montana. It may be more cost effective to have it begin closer to the production source in Canada

    It’s possible I’m missing something here (I’m no petrochemical expert, much less in this particular project), but Don’s Businessweek article mentioned “bringing oil from Montana’s Bakken Shale to refiners in the Gulf of Mexico.” That is to say, the change in that article wouldn’t appear to involve trucking Canadian oil to Montana. Am I missing something?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, DonS (@33), but now your new article tells me that “President Obama might be compelled to make a decision on the Keystone pipeline before the election after all,” even as you also apparently maintain (@26) that Obama’s “killing” the project “would require them to re-apply and start the 5+ year process all over again”. So … which is it, again? A five-plus-year process, or one that will require a decision in a few months?

    SK (@38), you said:

    it may not be in American interests to have the pipeline begin in Montana. It may be more cost effective to have it begin closer to the production source in Canada

    It’s possible I’m missing something here (I’m no petrochemical expert, much less in this particular project), but Don’s Businessweek article mentioned “bringing oil from Montana’s Bakken Shale to refiners in the Gulf of Mexico.” That is to say, the change in that article wouldn’t appear to involve trucking Canadian oil to Montana. Am I missing something?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 44: Well, I was speculating as to the time period, as is the article. The point is that Obama didn’t merely “delay” the application, he killed it, saying that they could “re-apply” when they had a new route. So to report it as a mere delay is incorrect factually. I just assumed that if they had to re-apply, the five year process would start all over again. Perhaps that’s wrong.

    My understanding of the work-around is to build the pipeline initially to transport Bakken oil from Montana and North Dakota. Because the pipeline is entirely within U.S. borders, the State Department is avoided. Then, later, they would apply to build a pipeline from Canada to Montana, which would be much more difficult to kill on environmental grounds.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 44: Well, I was speculating as to the time period, as is the article. The point is that Obama didn’t merely “delay” the application, he killed it, saying that they could “re-apply” when they had a new route. So to report it as a mere delay is incorrect factually. I just assumed that if they had to re-apply, the five year process would start all over again. Perhaps that’s wrong.

    My understanding of the work-around is to build the pipeline initially to transport Bakken oil from Montana and North Dakota. Because the pipeline is entirely within U.S. borders, the State Department is avoided. Then, later, they would apply to build a pipeline from Canada to Montana, which would be much more difficult to kill on environmental grounds.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    It just seems to me that both Obama and the Republicans are engaging in election-year gamesmanship. Let’s not pretend otherwise, hmm? This appears to be far less about energy strategy and more about who’s got the bigger, um, pipeline. “I don’t want to have to decide on this in an election year, due to conflicting constituencies.” “Oh, but we’re going to MAKE you decide — in 60 days!” “Fine, then you can’t have your pipeline. How about them apples?” “Then we’ll complain that you hate America and/or jobs!”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    It just seems to me that both Obama and the Republicans are engaging in election-year gamesmanship. Let’s not pretend otherwise, hmm? This appears to be far less about energy strategy and more about who’s got the bigger, um, pipeline. “I don’t want to have to decide on this in an election year, due to conflicting constituencies.” “Oh, but we’re going to MAKE you decide — in 60 days!” “Fine, then you can’t have your pipeline. How about them apples?” “Then we’ll complain that you hate America and/or jobs!”

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@46: Agreed. Which is why I wanted to conclude one of my earlier comments, partly in response to DonS, with the reminder that this is 100% politics. In my view, the Keystone pipeline will happen, and Obama has no meaningful opposition to its happening.

    On that note, strictly in terms of gamesmanship, this appears to me to be a fairly imprudent strategic move on Obama’s part. The base to which he is ostensibly appealing in this case–environmental activists–are a much smaller, in numbers and in impact, base than the unions and corporations who want this project to happen, not to mention the masses of ordinary voters who are likely to perceive this in simple terms: OBAMA KILLING OUR JORBS. In a stagnant economy, voters are less concerned about the Ogallala Aquifer than they are about employment, growth, and even China. Besides, the Ogallala objection has already been satisfied by rerouting the pipe.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@46: Agreed. Which is why I wanted to conclude one of my earlier comments, partly in response to DonS, with the reminder that this is 100% politics. In my view, the Keystone pipeline will happen, and Obama has no meaningful opposition to its happening.

    On that note, strictly in terms of gamesmanship, this appears to me to be a fairly imprudent strategic move on Obama’s part. The base to which he is ostensibly appealing in this case–environmental activists–are a much smaller, in numbers and in impact, base than the unions and corporations who want this project to happen, not to mention the masses of ordinary voters who are likely to perceive this in simple terms: OBAMA KILLING OUR JORBS. In a stagnant economy, voters are less concerned about the Ogallala Aquifer than they are about employment, growth, and even China. Besides, the Ogallala objection has already been satisfied by rerouting the pipe.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Myself, I feel conflicted about the Ogallala Aquifer. I’m torn between my desire to ensure that our energy production does not harm our natural resources, and a desire to see people in flyover country choke on their own petroleum-fouled water. It’s so hard to be a Left-Coast elitist some days.

    (Yes, this comment was sarcastic, Midwesterners. Calm down, calm down.)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Myself, I feel conflicted about the Ogallala Aquifer. I’m torn between my desire to ensure that our energy production does not harm our natural resources, and a desire to see people in flyover country choke on their own petroleum-fouled water. It’s so hard to be a Left-Coast elitist some days.

    (Yes, this comment was sarcastic, Midwesterners. Calm down, calm down.)

  • Steve Billingsley

    “It just seems to me that both Obama and the Republicans are engaging in election-year gamesmanship. Let’s not pretend otherwise, hmm?”

    I agree that Obama’s decision is purely political. But it is pandering to a part of his base (which isn’t likely to support a Republican candidate regardless). If this is some sort of gamesmanship where he looks strong on the environment to his base but like a job-killer to the rest of the electorate (including the blue-collar union types – who have also traditionally been a Democrat constituency) it is a losing play for him. But if he caves (even if it is for some stated reason – like rerouting to appease environmental concerns – which no one will really believe) to please the blue-collar union types he hacks off environmentalists and looks weak to boot. How is this a win for Obama? It just looks like a poor play from a political and an economic point of view. Unless you are an environmentalist true-believer (and shut your eyes to the fact that the oil will go elsewhere anyway by tanker and make even more of a mess) there is no angle where this looks like a good move.

  • Steve Billingsley

    “It just seems to me that both Obama and the Republicans are engaging in election-year gamesmanship. Let’s not pretend otherwise, hmm?”

    I agree that Obama’s decision is purely political. But it is pandering to a part of his base (which isn’t likely to support a Republican candidate regardless). If this is some sort of gamesmanship where he looks strong on the environment to his base but like a job-killer to the rest of the electorate (including the blue-collar union types – who have also traditionally been a Democrat constituency) it is a losing play for him. But if he caves (even if it is for some stated reason – like rerouting to appease environmental concerns – which no one will really believe) to please the blue-collar union types he hacks off environmentalists and looks weak to boot. How is this a win for Obama? It just looks like a poor play from a political and an economic point of view. Unless you are an environmentalist true-believer (and shut your eyes to the fact that the oil will go elsewhere anyway by tanker and make even more of a mess) there is no angle where this looks like a good move.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 46 & Cincinnatus @ 47: Of course it’s politics. But sometimes, the playing out of politics is very revealing. For instance, why is the State Department involved in the first place? Oh, I get that it has a role in determining whether the pipeline, because it originates from another country, is “in the national interest”, but why in heck did it take five years to approve and why is the State Department involved in the niggling details of environmental review? Shouldn’t the State Department’s role be limited to — yes, we approve as being in the national interest, contingent on successful resolution of environmental reviews through the regular process, and be done with it? If you can build the pipeline from Montana to Louisiana or Texas, through Nebraska, without the State Department’s approval, why is the State Department so vital because it comes from a couple of hundred miles farther north?

    So, hopefully, what would come out of this absurdity is a realization that our laws are hopelessly complex and stupid, with legislation introduced to correct that. A pipe dream (pun intended) to be sure, but one can hope.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 46 & Cincinnatus @ 47: Of course it’s politics. But sometimes, the playing out of politics is very revealing. For instance, why is the State Department involved in the first place? Oh, I get that it has a role in determining whether the pipeline, because it originates from another country, is “in the national interest”, but why in heck did it take five years to approve and why is the State Department involved in the niggling details of environmental review? Shouldn’t the State Department’s role be limited to — yes, we approve as being in the national interest, contingent on successful resolution of environmental reviews through the regular process, and be done with it? If you can build the pipeline from Montana to Louisiana or Texas, through Nebraska, without the State Department’s approval, why is the State Department so vital because it comes from a couple of hundred miles farther north?

    So, hopefully, what would come out of this absurdity is a realization that our laws are hopelessly complex and stupid, with legislation introduced to correct that. A pipe dream (pun intended) to be sure, but one can hope.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@50):

    So, hopefully, what would come out of this absurdity is a realization that our laws are hopelessly complex and stupid, with legislation introduced to correct that.

    Because clearly the antitode to hopelessly complex and stupid laws is … more legislation?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DonS said (@50):

    So, hopefully, what would come out of this absurdity is a realization that our laws are hopelessly complex and stupid, with legislation introduced to correct that.

    Because clearly the antitode to hopelessly complex and stupid laws is … more legislation?

  • Tom Hering
  • Tom Hering
  • John

    This is either a massive blunder or brilliant strategy. I say massive blunder because the pipeline project would have employed thousands of labor union members – not a good strategy for a Dem incumbent. I say brilliant strategy, because Obama may just wait for a new proposal closer to election and sign it – thus claiming that he was serving the people, serving the unions, and serving the environmentalists while lowering our dependency on foreign oil. I guess we’ll see.

  • John

    This is either a massive blunder or brilliant strategy. I say massive blunder because the pipeline project would have employed thousands of labor union members – not a good strategy for a Dem incumbent. I say brilliant strategy, because Obama may just wait for a new proposal closer to election and sign it – thus claiming that he was serving the people, serving the unions, and serving the environmentalists while lowering our dependency on foreign oil. I guess we’ll see.


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