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    The “unexpected” oil sands decision (of 2013)

    The “unexpected” oil sands decision (of 2013)

    I’ve been receiving e-mails from readers in the past weeks insisting that Obama would kill the pipeline planned to bring “oil sands” oil from Canada to the U.S.  Given the Obama administration’s policies to date, such expectation was reasonable.

    The environmental movement made the oil sands pipeline a line in the, er, sand.

    But apparent shock of shocks, it appears (note “appears”) that the Obama administration will back the pipeline (h/t JazzShaw):

    The State Department gave a crucial green light on Friday to a proposed 1,711-mile pipeline that would carry heavy oil from oil sands in Canada across the Great Plains to terminals in Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.

    The project, which would be the longest oil pipeline outside of Russia and China, has become a potent symbol in a growing fight that pits energy security against environmental risk, a struggle highlighted by last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

    By concluding that the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline would have minimal effect on the environment, President Obama would risk alienating environmental activists, who gave him important support in the 2008 election and were already upset by his recent decisions to expand domestic oil drilling and delay clean air rules. Pipeline opponents have protested in front of the White House for a week, resulting in nearly 400 arrests.

    But don’t get your hopes too high.  This all could be an election cycle head fake, because State Department approval hardly ends the matter:

    The project still must clear several hurdles, including endorsement by other federal agencies, additional studies, public hearings and consultation with the states through which the pipeline will pass. But all signs point to the Obama administration approving the project by the end of the year, perhaps with modifications.

    My prediction?   Final project approvals will get delayed until after the 2012 election, with Obama keeping the environmental movement in line with a nod and a wink and some private messaging from surrogates:

    Despite claims that a final decision is yet to be made, today’s environmental impact assessment virtually guarantees the State Department will approve the project by the end of the year. But environmental activists are not discouraged—and are placing their bets on President Barack Obama.

    Bill McKibben, who has been leading the civil disobedience outside the White House, said “we knew from past experience that State might do something like this, which is why we’ve always said it’s going to be Obama’s call. They can’t get the climate science right, but maybe they can get the politics right.”

    Sometime after the 2012 election, assuming Obama wins, the project will be killed.  Unexpectedly.


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    Aggie95 | August 27, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Its not just our government they also have to contend with the eco nuts so it could be obama is counting on them to slow or stop the project. Ya’ll ever hear the liberals say how it takes 10 years to drill a hole and start pumping oil ….. the next time a liberal tells you that ask them how long it took them to move equipment to the gulf site and drill several thousand feet to stop the leak … wasn’t 10 years ….less than 3 months …..what takes 10 years is jumping threw all the hoops the eco nuts have thrown in their path

    So what would be the easiest route for Obama to pursue? Answer: Say yes to the pipeline, thereby showing how Pro-Business he is, while making sure it never happens by enforcing *every* possible regulation and law that can stop it, including ones that have no bearing at all on the pipeline. By also simply allowing the Green Weenies to sue to stop the pipeline and preventing construction while the suits are being pursued, they could hold it up for ten to twenty years. (See Nuclear Power Plants, Non-Construction thereof)

    My bet is the pipeline company will tolerate about a year of this crap before throwing in the towel, and shipping all that oil to Europe and getting paid in euros.

    “Sometime after the 2012 election, assuming Obama wins, the project will be killed. ”

    Don’t be such a gloomy Gus. If he gets re-elected, we’ll get what we deserve. But w/ 9%+ unemployment, he’s not going to get re-elected.

    So long as he doesn’t kill it, and doesn’t convince the Canadians to build a pipeline to carry it to Pacific ports to send to the Chinese, we’re good. Because in 2013 Perry will approve the pipeline full bore.

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