President Obama Delays Decision On Keystone XL Yet Again
Once again, the Obama Administration punts on the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Repeating a pattern that it has followed virtually since the beginning of his time in the White House, President Obama’s Administration has once again announced a delay in the process that is supposed to lead to final decision on whether or not the Keystone XL pipeline will go forward:
The State Department said Friday that while the public comment period will not be extended, executive agencies need more time to review the submitted comments as well as consider a Nebraska court case surrounding the pipeline. The indefinite extension could put off a decision on the pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Canadian tar sands to American refineries, until after November’s midterm elections.
“On April 18, 2014, the Department of State notified the eight federal agencies specified in Executive Order 13337 we will provide more time for the submission of their views on the proposed Keystone Pipeline Project,” the department said in a statement. “Agencies need additional time based on the uncertainty created by the on-going litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court which could ultimately affect the pipeline route in that state. In addition, during this time we will review and appropriately consider the unprecedented number of new public comments, approximately 2.5 million, received during the public comment period that closed on March 7, 2014.
“The Permit process will conclude once factors that have a significant impact on determining the national interest of the proposed project have been evaluated and appropriately reflected in the decision documents,” the State Department statement continued. “The Department will give the agencies sufficient time to submit their views.”
Many commentators and politicians on the right are accusing the Administration of delaying the decision for political reasons, just as they did when a similar delay was announced prior to the 2012 Presidential Election. In all honesty, it’s hard not to see political motives behind this at this point. The relevant applications have been pending for several years, all the requested information has been provided, and everyone who has wanted to comment about the matter has had more than enough time to do so. Just as their was election pending in 2012, during which a story that the Administration had yet again denied an application to construct a pipeline that, according to most credible estimates, could add tens of thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars of real economic stimulus rather than government money that went to favored political groups, and a not inconsiderable amount of revenue into the tax coffers of the United States and the states that it runs through would have been damaging not just to the President’s campaign but also for down ticket races around the country. Similarly, this year Democrats face the prospect of losing Senate races in four states that the pipeline would run though, Montana, South Dakota, and Louisiana. On the other side of the debate, though, there is also a sizable environmental contingency that is opposing the pipeline, and those are the people who write the big checks in the Democratic Party these days. Rather than upsetting either interest group, delaying a final decision until after the election makes sense, even though it is completely cynical and irresponsible.
I am not going to pretend to be an expert in all of the issues that the Keystone XL project raises. However, based on what I have read it seems fairly clear to me that the benefits of allowing the project to go forward far outweigh the costs, and that most of the risks that the opponents of the project have raised have been hysterically overstated. In addition to helping to promote energy independence for North America and strengthening even more our relationship with Canada, the pipeline would be a fantastic source of real economic stimulus for the states it runs through and for the nation as a whole. It could also potentially help promote additional oil shale exploration in the Upper Far West, something that has already brought astounding economic stimulus to North Dakota, which happens to have the lowest unemployment rate of any state in the nation. Adding all of this together, the decision to approve the pipeline seems like a no-brainer. Instead, the Obama Administration continues to dither.
I object to hundreds of private landowners having their land siezed and handed over to a private corporation.
Are you also against the construction of highways?
Also, construction of the pipeline does not involve a seizure of property, but the granting of a right-of-way not at all dissimilar to the rights of way that electric, phone, cable, and natural gas companies have over the property you own yourself
1.) I am opposed to the use of eminent domain to build privately owned highways
2.) Publicly owned highways are open to use by any member of the public who wants to make use of them. Can anyone who wants to ship oil via this pipeline do so? No.
I support the transcontinental railroad and the like. I do think the states involved need to better protect the interests of the property owner, but that is a state issue. IIRC Montana law is pretty good.
Wasn’t aware corporations owned our interstates.
(Note: I have objections to the pipeline. Property rights is not one of those objections.)
“In addition to helping to promote energy independence for North America and strengthening even more our relationship with Canada, the pipeline would be a fantastic source of real economic stimulus for the states it runs through and for the nation as a whole.”
Hmmm. Let’s see, ship the oil via pipeline to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Refine the oil and ship it, or most of it, overseas. How, eggacly, does that promote energy independence for North America? I know it will promote wealth for somebody in North America, but I’m not so sure about the “will promote energy independence” part. As for a “fantastic source of real stimulus” etc., — how does that work, since when the pipeline is up and running, the maintenance it will require is minimal as far as having bodies around to maintain it is concerned? Or are many tens of thousands required to build it?
Finally, just eyeballing the map. one can see that the distance from the fields to the west coast of Canada is about a quarter of the distance from the fields to the Gulf coast–and across the great white north entirely. Why does the stuff have to go so far south? Ah, you will say, there is no refinery on the west coast of Canada. WTF not? Why don’t the Canadians build a refinery over there? Or some enterprising Americans? Wouldn’t it be cheaper in the long run, and go a great way toward making North America (=Canada, let’s be honest) energy independent for our cousins to have their own refinery up there?
1. Are you seriously going to argue that having an above ground oil pipeline across your property doesn’t involve seizing part of it and doesn’t drastically interferes with the use of it by the owner, particularly where the property is now divided into two isolated pieces?
2. In all the other cases you mention, the property owner voluntarily agreed to the right of way. They didn’t have it forced on them by a court at the electric/phone/cable/gas company’s discretion.
I don’t think that this pipeline will have any affect on gas prices soon, but President Obama must do something about these rising gas prices that keep inching up, now at $3.50 a gallon. This hits the working class people a lot: we depend on our cars and trucks to get us to work. I don’t live near a rail transit system, so that is out. So are bikes, golf carts and rickshaws. What can he do? One thing is to strong arm and jaw bone the oil company executives. The other thing is something that always works: get with Congress and threaten a serious investigation, and take away their oil depletion allowance, which is a tax dodge. Then watch the price drop like a rock. Americans are tired of these games from the oil companies. Many of us remember the so – called “shortage” of the ’70’s: the biggest hoax ever put on the American people. There was no shortage. There was so much gas on hand that there was not enough room to store all of it. Just a ruse to get the price up.
See “Gashole” video. The oil/ government conglomeration that controls the people.
The eminent domain issues are ones to be resolved by the Courts. It may well require the route of the pipeline to be modified somewhat.
That isn’t really the point of my post, though.
3. What about the cases where there are buildings on the proposed pipeline route which will require demolition? That not a siezure either?
It’s the point of my response to your post.
@ Stormy Dragon
Who do these
property ownerspeasants think they are, standing in the way of the oil companies?
Ah, the wonders of Internet comment threads.
I do wish I could respond further tonight but I have other plans. I’ll check back later
Don’t gas prices usually rise in the warm months when folks drive more?
We are in the midst of a historic energy boom. Have gas prices come down?
This is all about profit. It’s not about energy independence, it’s not about creating jobs. It’s not about stronger bonds with Canada.
I’ve got nothing against profit, I have been investing in the energy sector. Everyone likes making money.
But don’t fool yourself about what is happening here.
I’m not really seeing how this is anything like the federal government building a highway that is owned by the government and serves us all.
This is a foreign corporation trying to take control of private property against the wishes of its owners. For profit – period.
@ Doug – do you go into court and serve up this kind of cheese?
To be fair, it is legal to do so, thanks to the Kelo ruling, even though I think it shouldn’t be legal.
@sam: I thought they rose in the winter when oil was needed for fuel oil and kerosene to heat buildings and homes. Either way the oil companies have a tale or excuse to continue with their scam.
The good news is that a car manufacturer will soon start selling hydrogen powered cars!! Now that is progress.
Hydrogen cars by themselves won’t help. Since there’s no significant sources of molecular hydrogen on this planet, you still need the energy to make the hydrogen to go in the cars.
What if instead of bleeding more oil out of the earth they instead installed renewable energy along the same path?
Same plans, same land, same budgets. Just wind, solar, and whatever else they could do.
Think of all the money they could save NOT worrying about spills.
Ironically, one of the “buildings on the proposed pipeline route which will require demolition” I alluded to earlier is a renewable energy education center in Nebraska.
That makes sense.
‘Merica. F*ck Yeah!
Refineries are extremely polluting and expensive. There is the issue of nimbyism. Here in Brazil, where there is large government controlled company that explores and refines oil that´s a LARGE political issue. In most cities that have a oil refinery they are the largest employer, by far.
On the other hand, I always see oil and gas pipelines, and that was never a issue. I think that transporting oil by train is even irresponsible.
I thought by now intelligent people would have stopped using the phrase energy independence or even the idea of it. If this was about energy independence why pipe it to the gulf and not just build refineries inland? Nebraska is pretty much in the middle of the country, if we were concerned with keeping the oil in NA why not refine it there and then ship it around NA. Because we all know that without any sort of nationalized energy sector, there is no such thing as energy independence. Oil pulled out of the ground in North Dakota is far more likely to end up being sold by a multinational oil company to China than to America. These companies even if they were initially founded in NA have no allegiance to it. Since oil is an international commodity it is a fairy tale that these corporations give a good goddamn about our “energy independence.”
As to your claims about employment those leftists over at Forbes had an article about it comparing it to the Alaskan pipeline.
It is probably worth imminent domain-ing all those folks for the eventual 35 permanent employees this pipeline will create. Also how will transporting oil through a state generate revenue for it? Actually asking a question here, when a semi is traveling through a state but doesn’t unload in it does that too generate revenue? Because this seems like a smart way to create temporary growth in several states and then bone them over until something bad had happens. On the bright side the eventual spills in any of these states will generate revenue from fines and clean up efforts.
The manufacturers have been promising hydrogen power cells for more than a decade. In addition, the hydrogen has to be made with electricity and the cheapest source of electricity is natural gas fired electric plants.
It is amazing how liberal talk about infrastrucuture job and bringing jobs home to the U.S. Yet, when given the chance, they will always find a reason to oppose large construction projects, will always side with the NIMBYs, will always oppose the creation of more private sector jobs. Rachel Maddow made a commercial about a year ago saying that American was still a country capable of big things. The left’s opposition to a simple pipeline shows that the left believes that the Americans are too stupid to build a pipeline and too lazy to create more jobs.
Obama should decide . . . right after the GOP showcases its promised healthcare plan.
The thought that “America” is going to share in this ‘bounty’ is preposterous. It will be an immense boon to a very small cohort, to be sure. And we, the public, will foot the bill for the inevitable environmental problems.
If you cannot afford to live where you do, maybe you could move? That would be the free-market solution here, no?
I find this personally disappointing but expected. This is where this president needed to be more of a neocon and support this vital business proposal. – In a nation like China, the government wouldn’t give this a second thought before moving ahead with it. But, then again China has a rapidly growing economy compared to ours. – I warned environmentalists some years ago that many of their proposals would come at a cost to our jobs and financial wellbeing. What’s the point of well-fed spotted owls when timber workers are unemployed and homeless I told them. – I believe in balance. Protect the environment within reasonable limits, but no so much as to harm the wellbeing of humans.
@Paul Hooson: in a nation like China the government owns all of the energy companies. IF we nationalized our energy sector things like energy independence could be a feasible argument. However, this is a huge subsidy for a foreign company with negligible long term benefits. I propose a nationalization of our energy sectors and then build pipelines that would benefit the country with cheaper oil. Until then why use tax payer money to increase the exports of “our” oil to others on the global market?
@Stormy Dragon: you almost sound like one of the gun loving country folks that you have nothing but disdain for, nice try though! as doug noted, these people would be paid for the use of their land- the one’s that gripe about it are either greedy or democrats.
for the savvy voter this means they don’t want to piss off anymore people by delaying this thing that they have no intention of approving but don’t want to seem “anti-job creation” about.
just like they’re raising the “war on woman” bs again and just the other day they tossed a heavy “race card”! in essence, they’re in a lot of trouble for the mid-term elections and need to show that they’re trying to do something without actually doing anything.
see “crimea” for another example.
Because it would produce a fraction of the energy. Alternative energy is very inefficient when it comes to land use. Indeed, this is one of the numerous stumbling blocks to using it on larger scales. And I’m dubious that the keystone areas are ideal for alternative energy, given their location.
Interesting . A long note on the Keystone pipeline decision and not one mention of climate change. Guess Doug, like most conservatives, has sworn off that climate science stuff and has concluded its all a socialist plot. Presumably the conservatives will still be saying that 50 years from now when the Caribbean Sea starts somewhere north of what used to be Miami.
Given long term implications of the decision, its not surprising Obama is giving it a long look. And if it means its postponed till after the mid terms, that’s just fine by me. I call that strategic political thinking by a President that has often seemed far too naïve.
Sounds to me that it’s a problem that can be fixed with proper R&D funding. Proper investment.
I would still rather see renewables being built instead of a large oil pipeline. The millions and possibly billions of dollars that will be spent on oil accidents, would be better spent on improving the sciences behind other means of energy.
The jobs would still be needed to build.
The jobs would still be needed to maintain.
The jobs would still be needed to improve on things.
@bill: I’m curious – is Crimea the new Benghazi? I’m just trying to keep up. My mind has a hard time thinking in bumper sticker slogans.
This is solely an export pipeline. It was sold to investors as such. It will not create a large amount of permanent jobs, it will not increase our energy independence or lower gas prices. It is a way to get that murky oil that is more suitable to be refined as diesel and shipped overseas to those diesel hungry countries. If it does get built (which it will, this is just political stalling) it will not be the end of the world, but if an environmental disaster can happen, then this company should show it has the capital to remedy any such disaster in full. I worry as this resource gets more and more scarce that one day I will be seeing oil rigs from the shores of the outer banks. It is sad how alternative energy gets ripped to pieces and laughed at, yet this pipeline is an obvious necessity, which it is not.
Except I actually have principles so that I’m saying it because I actually mean it, rather than just mindlessly mimicking the sounds Fox News taught me to say today.
Since they’re not taking the offer voluntarily, apparently they’re not being paid enough. See that’s how the free market works. The seller determines the price they’re willing to accept; not what some government bureaucrat decides is “fair”.
And so what if they are? Gluttons and hippies still have property rights despite their sins.
There is too much Kool-aid (as in Jonestown, Guyana) being drunk by those in the cause celeb camp against the Keystone XL.No facts will sway them, it is religion. Meanwhile oil is being shipped by rail at an approximate cost of $3/barrel (largely BNSF).
I suggest you check the reporting on this decision in Canada, where both the Liberals (except those environmentalists bought off by Saudi oil money) and Tories are all going WTF. A quick trip to news.google.ca shows the Canadian frustration Some talk of American economic Imperialism against Canada.
I’ve traveled the Nebraska Sand Hills (love the area). I think the coal trains from the Powder River Basin (WY) are a bigger environmental issue.
Anyone else remember all that populist rage that Republicans and Libertarians directed at the Supreme Court when Kelo v. City of New London was decided?
Because the GOP and the Libertarians sure don’t.
@RGardner: So, the US should base its decision-making on what benefits Canada? So much for patriotism, I guess.
Well, yeah. But so what? What you’re saying boils down to: Canada is exporting pollution to the US.
And here I was telling some Spanish friends the other night that Canadians are the nicest people on the planet.
@Jc: There have been alternatives but are usually stopped.
The famous turbine engine of the ’60’s. It had problems, but was suddenly pulled before it could be modified. The manufacturers, mainly Chrysler, tried to get all of them back, but a few are still out there. Jaguar uses a turbine generator in one of its ev from what I hear. Turbines today can be smaller and more efficient. Turbine powered race cars almost won at Indy – twice.
GM had electric cars ready to go about 12 years ago, but pulled them. Why?
There are also other ideas that have been developed, tested, and found to be practical. One is the gas vapor engine that gets well over 50 mpg and produces clean exhaust. I can understand the car companies do not have the time and resources to test and research every idea sent to them. This is an area for private development and research. This is an opportunity for people with the funds to step forward and get involved. Imagine a Microsoft type of involvement.
Many ideas have been stopped by the oil/government powers. They are too closely connected.
Is it political? Sure just like every single calculation that has been made by the Republican party since forever.
The project is creating hysteria over nothing. It will do nothing to bring down gas prices, other posters have already mentioned that a refinery could be built in Nebraska or Canada and lower the overall footprint of the project, but that is not even being proposed. The refined product is unlikely to even make on the domestic market so to place the politics all on the Democrats is naive at best. If this project was so freaking important then a few more months won’t mean a damn thing in the over all scheme of things. The only reason the Republicans want the decision made before the mid-terms is to weaken the president with his base (see immigration reform).
I think what we see here is the difference between the 2009 Obama and the 2014 Obama. The 2009 Obama would have said, ” I’ll make this decision purely on objective criteria, without regard to the feelings of my base, and I’ll trust my Republican partners not to exploit this decision for short term political gain. Also too, I’m not worried about losing seats in the Senate, because I can govern based on Hope, Change, and achieving Reasonable Bipartisan Compromise”.
The 2014 Obama knows better. Maybe Doug can explain why should Obama make a decision that’s politically dangerous when he doesn’t have to and hand the Republicans another dagger to stab him with.
If the Canadians are frustrated, then the solution is simple: build a lot of expensive, environmentally damaging refineries on the British Columbia coast. Good luck with that
The greenhouse gas issue is moot. The oil is going to come out of the ground. Either the U.S. gets a piece of it or the Chinese get a piece of it. Even the Environmental Impact State put out by the Obama Administration is honest on this point.
If you are not willing to use right of ways to build infrastructure, then how do you think all the additional high tension power lines are going to ever be built to support the wind and solar farms that the green want to build. It appears that the anti-pipeline peopel are being very short sighted just like when the have push for every other law and regulation that makes doing anything in the U.S. costly and time consuming.
If progressives suddenly believe that Kelo was wrong and land owners are suppose to have veto rights, then how do you think the U.S. is ever going to upgrade its electrical tranmission system to make use of all of those wind and solar farms that greens want to built. If a pipeline can be stopped by NIMBYs (who are totally dependent on government handouts) then then NIMBYs will be able to stop virtually all new infrastructure initiatives.
How about Canada mans up and builds their own damn refinery instead of assuming they have the right to build a future environmental disaster across America’s Breadbasket. Let’s say we wanted to run a pipeline from Alaska to Maine- how do you think that will go down? We aren’t going to benefit from this- there is no legal guarantee that some of the oil would be sold in our markets to lower prices and no legal or monetary provision for the inevitable accident. I bet if we demanded they create a fully-funded trust in anticipation of these needs, there’d be a huge outcry and pushback.
Canada doesn’t want “American economic Imperialism”? Then do it yourself and doesn’t depend on us!
Out here in Northern California gas prices have been over $4.00 per gallon for a some time now. Also, I remember back in the GW Bush years – sometime around 2007 – gas prices surged to well over $4.00 per gallon, eventually they came down into the mid $3’s. It’s the same now – $3.50 to $4.00. Gas and oil prices are determined on the world commodity markets, and are function of the energy demands of individuals and industrial consumers all over the world.
@superdestroyer: So, it’s okay for conservatives to be lying hypocrites as long as you think the other guys are? Yeah, that’s real good logic.
@al-Ameda: One source of energy that is abundant and virtually untapped is methane. This could supply safe and clean energy similar to natural gas.
Well, there you are talking about energy in America, benefiting Americans, which is a different thing that energy being transported across America by Canadians to make money for a handful of people.
funny, when Bush was in office and gas hit $3-4/gallon it was because he was paying off his oil buddies, so who’s obama paying off now?
@Stormy Dragon: you probably watch more fox news than i, and eminent domain does work.
@beth: you should have stopped at “thinking”. benghazi fixations are passe.
Really? I see Benghazi “stories” on the foxnews.com homepage every other day.
You have to laugh. If you are talking to a conservative about Canada and health care, they are socialized mama’s boys who are in danger of dying from lack of care if they get a bad cold.
If you talk to a conservative about Canada and oil, they are dynamic capitalists who understand that a powerhouse economy needs to drill baby drill.
One of the hallmarks of a modern conservative is that they can reinvent ANYTHiNG on the fly to suit the expedience of the moment.
Are you writing that all the talk from progressives about eminent domain being wrong and improper takings is just a red herring. I guess you believe that the government can take whatever it wants as long as it supports a progressive goal. So much for private property right support from the left.
Progressive are consistent in being lying hypocrites. From energy, to the environment, to education, to law enforcement, progressives are hypocrites. Either eminent domain for building energy infrastructure is bad or it is good. To claim that building a pipeline violates Americans civil rights but building a high tension power line is OK is a great example of progressives being hypocrites.
I wonder how progressives will reconcile their support for more high tension power lines with all of the years of claims that electric and magnetic fields are dangerous.
@Tyrell: THere is absolutely nothing OBama can do about gas prices short of nuking china and india. Since people in CHina and India are willing to pay more for gas then us gas has been a major export for the USA for years.
@superdestroyer: Well there was a recent breakthrough in techniques that would allow for mass production of hydrogen at reasonable rates..
Hell the navy is producing gas with seawater on an experimental basis and that technology is scheduled to be expanded in the future. The navy certainly thinks it can fly it’s plains off seawater gas in the next couple decades.
@superdestroyer: “Either eminent domain for building energy infrastructure is bad or it is good. To claim that building a pipeline violates Americans civil rights but building a high tension power line is OK is a great example of progressives being hypocrites.”
As a liberal, I might well think that building a powerline across essentially empty land is fine while constructing a storage facility for spent plutonium from nuclear plants in midtown Manhattan is not a great idea. To you, that makes me a hypocrite. I wll be polite and not say what I think this make you…