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What’s not to like about the Keystone pipeline? (12/18/2011)
By John Edstrom

President Obama’s threat to veto legislation extending the payroll tax cuts if it is tied to his approval of the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada flushes some of his most perverse and carefully veiled policies out into the open where the average American can get a good look at them.

Here is s short list of what completion of the pipeline from Canada will do for us:

1.) Bring an additional 255 million barrels of oil per year in from Canada, making that friendly, stable nation far and away our biggest supplier and cutting our dependence on OPEC and unreliable or hostile foreign sources whose concerns for the environment are nil;

2.) Create immediately 20,000 well-paying blue collar jobs and more than another 100,000 ancillary to the project;

3.) Pay out $5 billion in property taxes to the six states it will run through.

What is there not for Mr. Obama to like about all this? Well, there are serious environmental concerns. No less an environmental expert than Hollywood’s Robert Redford has declared the pipeline to be “an accident waiting to happen.” The president’s green supporters, of course, are very concerned about more CO2 in the atmosphere, contributing to – what do they call it now – climate change.

Someone should tell Mr. Redford that the first oil pipeline in this country was built in 1950, and that now there are scores of them crossing the U.S./Canadian border. A map of all the pipelines running across North America blots out parts of the landscape. This pipeline has been under study for three years, more than time enough to allay fears raised about violating the pristine Nebraskan environment.

And regarding global warming/climate change, the two major energy consumers whose use is expected to skyrocket near term, China and India, have basically told the latest U.N. summit on the matter that it was something to be taken up with the United States, especially the part where fines and fees were to be collected for distribution to undeveloped nations. (How do you say, “My mama didn’t raise no dumb kids” in Mandarin?) In any case, the Canadians have tired of the bureaucratic game of thimble rig, and are threatening to build the line to Vancouver, bound eventually for, you guessed it, the Chinese market.

The cynic would say that Obama’s primary concern here is that the price of gas will come down and stabilize, putting far more money in the pocket of the average American than any payroll tax break, but taking the wind out of his dream of endless government subsidies to cronies and favorites (think Solyndra) to somehow force the magical appearance of alternatives that a free market won’t support. Gone, too, would be the bounty flowing into state coffers from all the taxes, fines, duties, levies, etc., necessitated by efforts to stem the continuing crises.

These, our president’s ambitions, trump:

1.) The creation of real (not government) jobs in a bad economy, which is more and more the product of his perverse policies like this one;

2.) National security concerns arising from our dependence on foreign oil that can quickly and unpredictably be shut off by far-away events, like the Arab Spring, and foreign regimes hostile to us, and;

3.) The overall strength and stability of our economy and public finance by developing the immense wealth inherent in America’s energy resources.

Of course, this is the president who spent the best efforts of his first term foisting socialized medicine on the nation rather than dealing with the “Great Recession.”




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