President Obama on April 18 punted once again on whether to kill or permit construction of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline scheme from TransCanada.
In a blatantly political move to protect endangered Democrats from losing control of the Senate, the Administration now claims it will decide after the November elections, following settlement of the legal challenges to the pipeline to carry heavy oil sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast
Vladimir Putin is the latest poster boy used by Keystone backers to justify their cause. They say approval of Keystone would send a strong message to the Russian ruler that the U.S. is serious about energy development, which apparently would neutralize Putin’s use of energy as a political tool to punish Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russia’s gas and oil.
As pointed out by the invaluable Inside Climate News, the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning non-profit website, that argument is fantasyland.
Brooklyn-based ICC says the U.S. is already pretty darn serious about energy development, ranking as the world’s leading natural gas producer and on the way to capturing the top spot in oil production.
Also, environmentally friendly Europe bans processing dirty oil crude such as TransCanada’s.
The biggest fallacy: Putin will cave to economic threats. His policies are inflicting great pain to Russia’s economy. The Sochi Olympics saddled Russia with a $50B tab, while the cost to rebuild infrastructure of the newest part of the Russian empire, Crimea, will cost a projected $7B. The Wall Street Journal today noted that investment capital is gushing from Russia due to Putin’s over-the-top aggression.
Keystone proponents have their own set of bogus arguments; such as the one about killing the pipeline would derail development of oil sands. Energy-hungry and environment-be-damned China stands ready to buy up all the Canadian oil that it can get its hands on.
President Obama is a masterful punter. The US though needs to put its field goal team into the game to settle Keystone one-way or the other. Keystone supporters/detractors deserve better from the President.