Obama: No plans for a quick decision on Keystone

Obama visits Canada in 2009. How things have changed.

Obama visits Canada in 2009. How things have changed.

President Obama’s stance on the XL Keystone pipeline should not come as a surprise. During a joint press conference with Canada’s conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Obama made clear that he has no plans for a quick decision on Keystone.

Keystone was, in fact, not part of any public statement and the issue was not raised until the final news conference in which the Canadian media contingent raised it.

Based on the Obama administration rhetoric over the past few weeks during public statements by both the president and Secretary of State John Kerry, the president’s reply was as expected, when he noted that the pipeline was at the mercy of an approval process, which Canada’s PM may find a little too laborious. “But these are how we make these decisions,” he said.

“I said previously that how Keystone impacted greenhouse gas emissions would affect our decision. But frankly, it has to affect all of our decisions at this stage because the science is irrefutable. severe weather patterns” has “consequences for our businesses, for our jobs, for our families, for safety and security. It has the potential of displacing people in ways that we cannot currently fully anticipate and will be extraordinarily costly. So I welcome the work that we can do together with Canada.”

Source: CTV News

The approval process has been dragged out for more than five years and Obama rejected the pipeline prior to the 2012 election. Although the pipeline was approved by the Nebraska state legislature since then, and the second Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) saw on significant increase in carbon emissions, the can is being kicked down the road once again, probably past the 2014 mid term election. You can bet that for this American president the whole issue is political and he needs his green buddies to help out fledgling Democrats who are struggling in defending Obama Care. Another diversion? You bet.

To add insult to injury a Lancaster County (Nebraska) Judge has issued a ruling that invalidated Governor Dave Heineman’s approval of the route. Judge Stephanie Stacey ruled that the law passed in 2011 improperly allowed TransCanada eminent domain powers. She ruled that the decision should have been made by the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which regulates pipelines and other utilities.

Whether a state commission has more jurisdiction than the elected state legislature is questionable. Governor Heineman said Wednesday that Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning is appealing the ruling. Needless to say this will kick the can down the road once again until the issue is resolved in court.

Stacy said the decision should have been made by the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which regulates pipelines and other utilities.

Heineman said Wednesday that state Attorney General Jon Bruning is appealing the ruling.

While the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is meant to regulate trade among Canada, the US and Mexico, over the past few years protectionism has once again resurfaced. The reason is partly due to the economic crisis created in 2007 and partly in differing ideology by the Democratic Party, which wants to protect trade unions. Quite frankly depending which side of the Canada/US border you sit on, will give a different point of view which country is being disadvantaged. Suffice to say that trade between Canada and the United States is huge and would benefit from the European model of open borders.

The White House issued a joint US – Canadian Readout of the Prime Ministers and president’s discussion in Toluca:

Highlights:

The two leaders met for 30 minutes on the margins of the summit;

Obama and Harper strongly condemned the violence in the Ukraine, agreeing that the government of the Ukraine bears responsibility for protecting its people and upholding the universal right to freedom of expression;

They stated that the military should also show restraint and not become involved in issues that should be resolved by civilians;

Both leaders resolved to work closely with European allies on options for additional measures, including measures to hold those responsible for violence accountable;

They discussed issues of shared concern, including the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, the global economy, and border infrastructure and security; and

The topic of the Keystone pipeline was discussed, with the leaders saying privately what both have already said publicly.

There is no question where Prime Minister Harper stands on this issue, but the American president has the final hammer and will undoubtedly use it. Based on his climate change rhetoric over the last month, primarily directed at his environmental base and to discredit Republican climate change deniers, this president has no intention on approving this pipeline. John Kerry has been delaying the process with yet another comment period and needless to say Canada is frustrated at the delight of the green lobby.

About the Author

Karl Gotthardt - Politisite Managing Editor Maj. Gotthardt is a Retired Military Officer with 35 years service in the Canadian Armed Forces. He spent most of his time in the Military in Infantry Battalions. Karl took part in training for Afghanistan as an Operator Analyst with the Canadian Maneouvre Training Centre. Karl is a qualified military parachutist and military free fall parachutist. He earned his U.S. Master Jump Wings in Fort Benning, Georgia. Karl enjoys working with horses for the last 24 year. He owns six. He has experience in breeding, training and of course riding.Karl was born in Germany and is fluent in both English and German and he speaks enough French to "get in trouble". Karl has written or writes at NowPublic, All Voices, Tek Journalism and many others.

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