President Obama called Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier today to advise him of the decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. During the conversation, Stephen Harper expressed his profound disappointment with the Administrations decision and told Obama that in view of the decision Canada would seek to diversify its oil export.
Mr. Harper’s office said the Prime Minister expressed his “profound disappointment” over the decision, and said Canada will try to diversify its oil exports. President Barack Obama pointed out that he was heeding that advice not because of the merits of the pipeline project, but because “the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans … prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially (on) the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.”
The fact is that the President did not want to approve this project prior to the 2012 election. Environmentalists had protested the pipeline in Washington for weeks. Despite the fact that there were 20,000 good union jobs at stake, Obama is pandering to his political base and this is just more political theater.
Obama has calculated if he would approve the pipeline that there is a good chance that his green base would remain at home and not vote. His union buddies, who would have benefited from the jobs the pipeline provides, will come out and support him no matter what.
Essentially Obama kicked the can down the road and in the end, should he get re-elected, his union buddies will get the jobs, while his Green base will get raked over the rails after the election. This is Chicago politics at its worst. Obama has obviously also calculated that this will have minimum effect on the Canada/US relationship. The bottom line is that the pipeline is not dead and that TransCanada can reapply.
TransCanada said it is still working on rerouting the pipeline in Nebraska and will reapply.
“Plans are already underway on a number of fronts to largely maintain the construction schedule of the project. We will reapply for a presidential permit and
expect a new application would be processed in an expedited manner to allow for an in-service date of late 2014.”
Mr. Girling did not mince words in his statement, pointing out what’s at stake for both countries.
“Until this pipeline is constructed, the U.S. will continue to import millions of barrels of conflict oil from the Middle East and Venezuela and other foreign countries who do not share democratic values Canadians and Americans are privileged to have,” he said. “Thousands of jobs continue to hang in the balance if this project does not go forward. This project is too important to the U.S. economy, the Canadian economy and the national interest of the United States for it not to proceed.” Globe and Mail