The president’s decision to reject a proposal concerning the Keystone pipeline project is exceptionally disappointing. In short, the pipeline would have served as a major distribution corridor for crude oil from the oil sands of Canada to various refineries located throughout the United States. At a number of junctures in the lower-48, it was also expected to be a conduit for significant quantities of American crude.
No one can reasonably contest that the construction of the pipeline would have led to the creation of thousands of good jobs here in America, not to mention its role in increasing the worldwide supply of energy. I briefly touched on this world supply issue in an earlier post concerning the sensitive situation with Iran in the Straits of Hormuz.
The not-so-cynical view of Obama’s decision is that he was playing to his radical environmentalist base. That’s consistent with one of his major stated reasons — the threat of environmental damage from the pipeline — for rejecting Keystone. However, pipeline environmental disasters are rare and minor compared to oil tanker mishaps at sea. And now that Obama has rejected the pipeline, Canada will inevitably look to transpacific buyers, such as China, for their western crude supplies. And how will the crude get to Canada’s new partners? By seafaring supertankers, of course.
The cynical view of Obama’s decision is clear: he rejected the pipeline because it’s largely a private enterprise, created by market demands not government dictated economic policies. In other words, he doesn’t like it because it is not a project run by the federal government. But while Obama single-handedly destroys this guaranteed US economic opportunity from private investment, he has no problems sinking billions of US tax dollars to support failing energy businesses like Solyndra.
So what gives? Unlike Obama’s socialistic projects, private investment like the Keystone pipeline doesn’t allow for much corruption, campaign contribution kickbacks, cronyism, and other graft. Had the Keystone pipeline been constructed by government contractors using a government-run slush fund and Obama’s cronies, there’s little doubt that it would have been approved.
Such cynicism should be no surprise after nearly four years of Obama.