In an inexplicable act of political cowardice, the Obama White House announced it would delay a decision on the TransCanada Pipeline Keystone XL through the U.S to Texas refineries until after the 2012 U.S. elections.
The decision represents a partial victory for the U.S. opponents of the Canadian Oil Sands development, including environmentalists and lawmakers in the State of Nebraska, who opposed the route of the pipeline.
Despite the facts that several oil and gas pipelines already cross the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills area of the State, perception surmounted reality. The delay only exacerbates the shortage of jobs in the U.S. that the Obama administration emphasizes as “priority one”.
This decision was made despite solid support of the American Petroleum Institute and operators of refineries in Texas who have signed agreements to receive the Canadian oil. The Obama administration knuckled under and delayed the decision to approve or disapprove for another year.
This is after four years of environmental impact studies of the proposed pipeline.
The decision to delay flies in the face of logic as the U.S. will spend another three to five years importing oil from repressive regimes including Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. Add the additional price to be paid in the loss of millions in investment, plus thousands of construction and operational jobs.
The Keystone XL pipeline is dead because the same arguments will be used if the line is re-routed.
It was never about the pipeline but an attempt by radical environmentalists to force closure of the Canadian Oil Sands.
The decision by the Obama administration is an economic attack not only on Canada but also against his own constituents who are craving for jobs and a growing economy.
In the 2012 election Obama wins Nebraska but loses Texas, Oklahoma and a number of Southern States that would have benefited from the pipeline construction and safe supply of crude.
He could be looking for a new job in November.