HAYWARD: Keystone XL Returns — Americans Are Finished Paying for Green Symbolism

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

The announcement that President Donald Trump would finally approve the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, along with the similarly blocked Dakota Access pipeline, could mark the beginning of a major shift in power away from left-wing activists.

It’s the conclusion of a long saga whose final chapter began in the 2014 midterm elections, when certain Democrats realized the American people were serious about their long-standing support for the project, and blocking Keystone to appease environmental groups would cost them at the ballot box.

In the end, crucial Democrat seats were lost merely so President Obama could keep the greens happy for another two years. Republicans will now have plenty of quotes from Democrats who were scrambling to keep their seats in 2014 in their arsenal, should the diminished Democratic Party decide to make Keystone revival into a partisan battle.

Those who didn’t wait until their political lives were on the line to denounce Obama over the Keystone block pointed out that he was quick to set aside his often-professed love of infrastructure spending to service the Democratic political coalition, and mocked President Pen-and-Phone for declaring himself helpless in this particular bureaucratic conflict. Trump just made a complete joke of Obama’s excuses. Now it’s time to make a joke of the previous President’s claims that the pipeline would make no “meaningful long-term contribution to our economy.”

Abandoning Keystone was one of countless sacrifices Americans have been forced to make to the Church of Global Warming. It’s interesting to note how the anti-Keystone case was made largely on safety grounds during the previous administration’s long delay of the project, but today climate change is the most widely cited objection to the project in media reports.

For example, the New York Times wrote on Tuesday, “Studies showed that the pipeline would not have a momentous impact on jobs or the environment, but both sides made it into a symbolic test case of American willingness to promote energy production or curb its appetites to heal the planet.”

Even a former head of the State Department’s energy bureau under Obama, David Goldwyn, told the Times that Keystone “has never been a significant issue from an environmental point of view in substance, only in symbol.” The rest of us are tired of footing the bill for environmentalist symbolism.

Obama’s action was seen at the time as “strengthening his hand” for what proved to be utterly worthless climate talks in Paris. The American people are thoroughly sick and tired of sacrificing their prosperity so left-wing leaders can act like big shots at luxuriously catered climate conferences.

They’re also tired of making sacrifices so environmental groups can feel good about themselves, a theme that comes up repeatedly in discussions of Keystone XL over the years. Pipelines are safer than any other means of transporting oil; the network Keystone XL will plug into has been running just fine for a long time. The amount of oil it will move is significant, but hardly enough to figure in any credible argument about the fate of the planetary environment. Too often the anti-Keystone argument devolved into: environmentalists need this to keep their spirits up and remain unified.

There are still some hurdles for Keystone XL to cross (and the Dakota Access situation is even more convoluted, bringing Indian tribes and the Army Corps of Engineers into the mix) but President Trump seemed eager to strike a blow against duplicitous bureaucratic delays, promising an end to Obama’s habit of strangling projects in red tape to stave off angry backlash from voters.

“It’s out of control, and we’re going to make a very short process, and we’re going to either give you your permits or we’re not going to give you your permits, but you’re going to know very quickly,” Trump promised on Tuesday.

Based on the prior history of Keystone, it’s highly likely to pass the expedited review process Trump ordered. The project’s opponents know that, which is why an expedited process was the last thing they wanted.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.