In ruling against the Keystone XL today, President Barack Obama has finally cast his lot with the environmentalists who fund his campaign over the blue-collar workers who need jobs in crucial swing states. He has made America more reliant on OPEC oil rather than Canadian sources and hurt the relationship with our neighbor to the north, America’s largest trading partner, as it pushes her into the arms of the energy rapacious Chinese. Canadian Resource Minister Joe Oliver was “obviously disappointed” in Obama’s State Department decision and will need to diversify its energy exports.
Republicans forced a showdown with Obama over the pipeline when they tied a decision on the pipeline to the short-term raiding of Social Security funds. The House passed a provision that would give TransCanada, the company spearheading the project, a permit to build in sixty days if Obama continued to tarry. His State Department rejected the permit earlier today.
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Not content with one of the most meddlesome EPAs ever, the environmental left has seized upon the pipeline as their cause celebre (or perhaps casus belli). The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer summed up the views of the more rabid environmentalists in a November issue. These activists, who chained themselves to the White House fence, have a messianic view of their role:
If the pipeline was built, it would hasten the extraction of exceptionally dirty crude oil, using huge amounts of water and heat, from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, which would then be piped across the United States, where it would be refined and burned as fuel, releasing a vast new volume of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. “What would the effect be on the climate?” [Bill] McKibben asked. [James] Hansen replied, “Essentially, it’s game over for the planet.”
But the pipeline would create thousands of new jobs, both immediately and downstream. The Teamsters and other unions support it. At least eight Senate Democrats support the plan, including Jon Tester and Max Baucus of Montana, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Lousiana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri.
These swing-state Democrats know that though the jobs picture is bleak, there are a few industries that are actually doing quite well. Oil and gas production, which boasts well-paying jobs, now employs 440,000 workers, 200,000 more than in 2003. Since then, oil and gas jobs have accounted for one in five new jobs created.
And those green jobs? They simply don’t exist, despite the lavish subsidies that Obama’s Energy Department has bestowed upon them. And as the Iranians threaten to shut down the Straits of Hormuz, energy prices might climb still further. The planned route of the Pipeline is below.