TPM’s Silly Anti-Keystone Logic

by Ivan Osorio on January 23, 2012

in Blog, Features

Post image for TPM’s Silly Anti-Keystone Logic

With the political fallout from President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline putting heat on the administration, Talking Points Memo’s Brian Beutler appears to be trying to pin the blame on …. Republicans.

Yes, as absurd as that may sound, Beutler claims that, “House Republicans made a conscious choice to undercut the Keystone XL oil pipeline project” because they refused the let the White House delay the project for nothing other than political gain.

Recall that the Obama administration planned to make a formal decision on the pipeline a year from now. A great deal of reporting and inference suggested that the administration supported the project in principle, but chose to delay the decision for several months for further study, largely to avoid picking an election year fight with environmental advocates. Instead Republicans forced his hand, and, with the review incomplete, he had to formally reject the proposal. [Emphasis added]

Why shouldn’t House Republicans “force” Obama’s hand, as Beutler would say, given how long the project has taken already—and given the fact that Obama’s motivation to delay is purely political? Essentially, Beutler is criticizing GOP House members for not letting Obama roll right over them. As Conn Carroll points out in the Washington Examiner today, notes that criticism of Obama’s decision has been widespread, including among the nation’s major newspaper editorial boards.

Only the New York Times sided with Obama, writing that he “made the right call” by not giving in to a timetable that was “rushed and arbitrary.”

Rushed and arbitrary? The State Department first received the application from TransCanada to build the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline in September of 2008. Since that time, the department has conducted 20 scoping meetings, held nine field hearings, reviewed 1,800 comments, and produced a nine-volume, 1,000-page Environmental Impact Study.

All this took place over the span of three years. How much more time does the New York Times think Obama needs to study this thing?

As Carroll also notes, Obama’s rejection of the pipeline has also angered the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), which saw it as a source of new members and dues. The pipeline’s builder, TransCanada, signed a project labor agreement (PLA) with several major unions—including LIUNA, as well as the Teamsters and Operating Engineers—which would have shut out nonunion contractors, thus increasing labor costs.

This puts Obama in the uncomfortable position of seeing two of his key constituencies—organized labor and professional environmental activists—at odds with each other.

BobRGeologist January 25, 2012 at 1:18 am

Obama is beholden to the Environmental Lobby who cannot abide mankind’s imprint on the natural world. The Greens won’t be happy until man reverts to a hunter-gatherer society

Jared January 27, 2012 at 11:48 am

Without the hunter part. Animal rights and all…

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: