Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Obama Punts Pipeline Decision to 2013

Environmental activists are claiming victory, but they shouldn’t crack out the champagne yet. Based on the timing and thin reasoning, President Obama clearly seems to have based this decision on election strategy as opposed to environmental interests. Now he can wink at the unions while telling the environmentalists that he hears their concerns, and keep both sides hanging on until after the presidential election.

That’s 20,000 jobs down the drain:

For months, the conventional wisdom had been that a presidential permit for Keystone XL was inevitable; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in October 2010 that she was “inclined” to approve it because it was better to get oil from Canada than from less-friendly nations. The State Department then released a final supplemental environmental assessment in August stating that TransCanada’s proposed route is the preferred option.

But the environmentalist protests led by 350.org activist Bill McKibben, as well as opposition in Republican-friendly Nebraska to the proposed route, seem to have led the administration to delay the decision.

The State Department already came to a decision on the issue, and opening up a re-review is simply a way to buy time. Politically, it will keep Obama’s base in line, and prevent more embarrassing “green” protests outside the White House. But it also opens the president up to attacks over his seriousness on job creation and his leadership ability. The pipeline extension has already been held in limbo for three years, which is more than enough time for the administration to make a decision. Speaker John Boehner took Obama to task on the delay in a statement this afternoon:

“More than 20,000 new American jobs have just been sacrificed in the name of political expediency. By punting on this project, the president has made clear that campaign politics are driving U.S. policy decisions – at the expense of American jobs. The current project has already been deemed environmentally sound, and calling for a new route is nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt to avoid upsetting the president’s political base before the election. It’s a failure of leadership.”

Obama’s decision is a signal that his campaign is more concerned about holding together his base at this point than with reaching out to independent voters. And the sharp contrast between the White House and Republicans on Keystone XL will undoubtedly be highlighted by the GOP candidates.


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.