Keystone XL

House Votes for Keystone Pipeline—Goes to Senate Next Week—Obama More or Less Threatens to Veto It



No less than three environmental reviews have found that the Keystone Pipeline that would transport nearly 1 million barrels per day of Canadian oil sands crude to Gulf Coast refineries is reasonably safe. This afternoon, the House of Representatives voted 252-161 in favor of legislation approving its construction for the 9th time. With Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) about to be knocked off his perch as the majority leader, when the bill comes up for a vote in the Senate on Tuesday some frustrated Senate Democrats may feel free to vote for it next week.

Because Reid as able to keep the legislation bottled up, President Obama was never directly confronted with the problem of choosing to veto the project or not. Thus he had the luxury of vacillating between his union backers who want the project and his environmentalist supporters who do not. Faced now with the prospect of being forced to make a decision, the president has strongly signaled that his instinctual anti-market ideology will guide his actions. From The New Republic:

"Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn't have an impact on US gas prices," he said, according to ABC News. "If my Republican friends really want to focus on what's good for the American people in terms of job creation and lower energy costs, we should be engaging in a conversation about what are we doing to produce even more homegrown energy? I'm happy to have that conversation."

Whenever the president invites anyone to have a conversation with him, what he really means is "shut up while I lecture you, you moron." Expect a veto next week.

Update: Obama has rejected the Keystone pipeline application one time before when Congress set a two-month deadline for its approval as part of a payroll tax cut back in 2012. That was not a veto, but a rejection of the company's application, which it has since refiled.*

*Hat tip to Sean Higgins.

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  1. “Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn’t have an impact on US gas prices,

    Ooooh! I see the narcissist in chief believes that people are too stupid to grasp the concepts of supply and demand as applied to fungible commodities in a global economy!

    Somewhere in Illinois a city is missing its idiot.

    1. It’s okay, Chicago has ’em to spare.

    2. goddamn that quote is insulting.

      1. Big daddy-government knows what’s best.

        Now sit down, shut up, and eat your peas.

    3. Somewhere in Illinois a city is missing its idiot.

      This is what happens when you spend your adult life in higher education, academia, and government, and have zero private sector experience.

    4. I don’t know that they’re actually “missing” him.

  2. Dumb question: why is building or not building a pipeline something that Congress needs to vote on? Does it run through federal land or something?

    1. Because bureacrats won’t restrict themselves to fucking up federal lands only? Because the feds don’t respect property rights? Because freedom of contract means freedom for the gov’t to pick and choose contracts?

      Take your pick.

    2. International border gets crossed, Uncle Fed sticks his nose in.

  3. Three huge problems with Obama’s brief statement:

    1. Send it through OUR land? It’s not OUR land. It’s the land of the people who own it. They should be able to lease it to the Keystone folks if they so choose — or not.

    2. “Doesn’t have an impact on US gas prices.” — Jesus, you HAVE to be kidding me. A major souce of oil having peak access to the worldwide market market for oil won’t “impact US gas prices?” What a fucking idiot.

    3. He’s happy to have a conversation about producing more homegrown energy — Since when? Isn’t this the same guy who has been hostile to drilling offshore and on Federal lands?

    Does anyone believe anything this guy says anymore?

    1. I honestly, and yes, literally, cannot remember the last time he uttered a truthful phrase.

    2. It’s the land of the people who own it.

      The dozens of eminent domain actions being used to clear the pipeline’s pathways says otherwise.

      1. Do they? Or do they acknowledge ownership then take the property?

    3. 1. Ask the landowners whose land has already been stolen by the oil companies for their pipeline and you will understand why some states have been resistant to the pipeline. This is not voluntary leasing. It is often outright theft using the ruse of eminent domain. I understand that people don’t want the government intruding into their private commerce, but in this case, the government is protecting us from corporate thieves.

      2. Of course it will impact oil prices, but it will be so minor as to be unnoticeable.

      3. Drilling offshore – large portions of the Gulf coast have been poisoned for decades by an oil spill, which is a likely occurrence if more oil drilling is done in the water. Many of my relatives can no longer live on fish, crab and shrimp like they used to. They have to live on lawsuits and government assistance. So, sure, let’s spread that to the rest of our coastlines. Not to mention the fact that human caused Global Warming is real. Any statement to the contrary comes from those who stand to make short term billions from not doing anything about it.

  4. Well fuck you guys then, we’ll just sell our oil to China.

    1. Yeah, don’t you have your own refineries? Pipe it there.

      1. The funniest thing about this is that in Canada, the Keystone Pipeline is basically a done deal. The Tories are massively behind it and Trudeau’s backing it, even though he is incredibly vague about his party’s policy platform. The only major complaints are from the NDP, who may be the Opposition but may lose quickly come the next election. Obama is basically the only thing preventing this and Canada is actively working on alternatives.

        1. Alternatives like shipping it via George Soros’ railways.

  5. L: Because it crosses an international border, the State Dept must advise the president on whether or not to approve it. Obama’s State Dept. dithered by asking for several environmental reviews of the project.

    1. Otherwise known as FYTW?

    2. I wouldn’t call that dithering, since the environmental impact needed to be known.

      However, once the reviews come back and say that it’s reasonably safe, then it’s time to approve without further delay.

      1. D: Three assessments coming to the same conclusion is dithering.

        1. Because they came to the same conclusion? Or because there were three?

          This is a pretty big project, with a large geographic footprint, and I would think they would want more than one assessment on the impact.

          Would you have preferred zero, one or just two?

          1. There are pipelines all over the country as is. Are they safe? Well, you didn’t even know they were there did you? That says quite a bit in its own right.

            If oil pipeline technology wasn’t safe I’m pretty sure the media would be falling down over themselves to point out how many women and minorities these evil pipelines were killing.

            1. Shit, they had to reroute one that goes from Louisiana to New Jersey for the new Braves stadium.

              1. 5500 miles. Literally running through backyards in Atlanta.


                1. And there’s a pretty extensive safety and environmental record, with at my calculations at least 2 million gallons of gas spilling out from ’70 – ’97. Got fined 34 million dollars in 2003, and caused 20 million dollars damage in South Carolina in ’96 as well.


                  I can’t find any record of an environmental impact having been done, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one. Nor does it mean that if one had been done, none of these problems would have occurred.

                  I just wanted to point out that there can be significant problems with enormous projects like this, and we should at least assess the impact prior to proceeding. That’s all.

                2. KOCHTOPUS!!1!

            2. There was an image floating around Facebook awhile back showing a pipeline that was spewing oil into a forest with some caption about how pipelines are ‘safe’. Turns out a fifteen minute google search shows that someone deliberately damaged it.

          2. They are doing the usual TEAM BLUE song and dance – redo it (or recount it) until we get the result we want!

          3. It’s an F’ing pipeline. There are a gazillion oil and gas pipelines all over the Northwest, Midwest, and Tx/Lousiana area where the Keystone is slated to go. Pipelines are known to be the safest and most efficient way to transport oil. This is a transparent political ploy to satsify the base. Obstructionism in the truest sense.

            1. Natural gas pipeline map:


              Oil pipeline map:


              And I’m sure from looking at them, that those maps show only the interstate lines. Intrastate gathering systems would be substantially more.

      2. The oil companies employ lots of scientists who will distort anything for their dirty jobs. There are many more environmental studies that say the tar sands is game over for our planet.

  6. “If my Republican friends really want to focus on what’s good for the American people in terms of job creation and lower energy costs, we should be engaging in a conversation about what are we doing to produce even more homegrown energy? I’m happy to have that conversation.”

    Such a rich quote from the scumbag who has openly proclaimed on multiple occasions his desire for HIGHER energy prices on those forms of energy that he deems to be evil because of the manmade global warming that doesn’t even exist except in his demented mind.

    1. I remember when Gore said he was in favor of a $1 per gallon gas tax; then, later, when gas prices rose that much in the marketplace, he was all for opening up the petroleum reserves to lower prices.

      1. It must be absolutely killing the gutter rat to watch gasoline drop by almost a dollar a gallon over the last few months. He wishes it would go the opposite way.

    2. To be fair, it also exists in other demented minds.

    3. Irony is, homegrown oil and gas production has skyrocketed in recent months despite Obama’s animosity towards them due to the shale boom and that’s why prices are falling.

  7. Let him veto it. And then let the Democrats in Congress have to once again hitch their wagons to the Black Jesus by making an unpopular vote to support his sorry ass.

    What Obama doesn’t seem to understand is that the Progs have had so much success in this country because they are geniuses at pretending to be reasonable centrists and at patiently settling for a few concrete gains over and over again watching them add up into enormous gains over the years. Dropping the mask and revealing yourself before you are powerful enough to cancel or fix the elections is suicide and so is overreaching at the cost of more permanent gains.

    Obama is doing both here. A smart prog would sign the legislation figuring they could stop it via other means or even if they didn’t who cares if they thing gets built if you can get the EPA to make petroleum unaffordable. All Obama is doing by vetoing this is further making the Democratic Party, the party of economic stagnation and misery in the minds of the public.

    But as Tarran says, it is not about the Progressive cause or the Democratic Party. It is like everything else, Obama. And Obama doesn’t admit he was wrong and Obama wants to ensure he is well funded by the super rich Greens when he leaves office. So the cause and the Party can go get bent.

    1. “Black Jesus”

      I prefer Chocolate Nixon.

      1. Yeah. Black Jesus is a bit too 2010. He is all Nixon not Jesus these days.

        1. If he starts cross-dressing I guess we could call him Dark Hoover.

      2. Nixon was a piker. He bombed one Cambodia illegally and look what happened to him. How many countries are we dropping bombs on today, and yet CNN is more interested in Bill Cosby.

        1. Nixon tried to spy on the DNC and unsuccessfully tried to get the IRS to audit a few politicians. What a piker. Obama in contrast spies on the entire nation and used the IRS for years to harass and intimidate hundreds or may thousands of people who committed the crime of trying to oppose him politically. I would imagine Obama would consider it a professional insult to call him another Nixon. If he doesn’t, he should.

          1. John I may be wrong, but Nixon asked the IRS to do some audits and got in trouble for asking. He never got any kind of support from the IRS, and in fact got himself in big truble for even asking. Today’s IRS however jumped to help Valery Jarret’s puppet and his agenda.

            1. You are right. Nixon tried and failed to get the IRS to do his bidding.

        2. Nixon put price caps on a whole bunch of goods and created massive shortages. Obama wishes he had that kind of power.

          1. This is true. Obama must envy Nixon’s economic policies.

            1. I feel like when people talk about the evil of Nixon they completely miss this fact despite it being the thing that actually made people’s lives concretely worse.

              It is ignoring economics like that that causes people like Christie to consider it a swell policy to create gas shortages in the middle of a wintry crisis.

              1. Nixon’s corruption wasn’t even as bad as what Johnson and Kennedy did. And Nixon also ended the draft and got us out of Vietnam.

                Nixon’s worst sin by far was the price controls and his economic policies.

  8. Even if the O&G is ALL being pumped through and straight out to other countries does he honestly not believe this will provide jobs for: construction and operation of the pipeline, storage, processing, refining, loading and shipping, all the financial buying/selling/speculating involved, etc.


    1. There’s also this whole issue of , well, next time the US wants to build a pipeline through Canadian territory, like the many we already have running from Alaska down to the US, I guess it’s ok for the Canadians to be dicks and say no.

    2. Obama thinks the unemployment issue is in the past. If anyone attacks him for denying the jobs that KXL will create, he’ll just say unemployment is at pre-recession levels and so there are plenty of jobs available that don’t contribute to global warming or threaten the environment.

      I don’t agree with Obama, but if we keep pushing the jobs issue, they’ll just make us look like a broken record trying to capitalize on a problem that is no longer a major issue and most people do not buy that the government statistics are misleading.

  9. Isn’t that the definition of “not getting it”? People are mad at the president and his party for stopping the pipeline and being “soft” on illegal immigration, so he doubles down on both? Lame ducks aren’t supposed to shoot back.

    1. Yes. It is an interesting but in practice an irrelevant question whether Obama is really so out of touch he thinks this is popular or just so narcissistic and contemptuous of the country he doesn’t care if this is unpopular or how much it damages the Democratic Party. I honestly think it could be either one or both.

      1. Both, narcissism goes along with being out of touch.

        Plus the Democrats have become experts at convincing themselves that the only reason they are losing elections is because they are compromising with the Republicans too much.

    2. stopping the pipeline is dumb, but from Obama’s perspective, the amnesty play is probably just an attempt to bribe in more democrat votes as a reaction to this year’s loss. Democrats thought, after 2012, that Republican in-fighting would ensure Democratic victories for years to come. That not being the case has pushed Democrats back into what they know works. Buying votes with other people’s money and pandering. He hopes it will bring out more hispanic voters in 2016, though the result will probably be to bring out more conservatives to vote against Dems in protest in 2016.

  10. I wonder if the Republicans can pick up enough votes to override a veto.

    1. In this Senate probably not. In the new one, maybe. You will have 54 Republican votes. So they would need 12 Democrats to vote to override it. The problem is that most of the Democrats up in 2016 are from full retard states like California. So it might be hard to get 12 votes. To get them would require the Democratic party deciding to support this rather than just a few desperate incumbents facing election in 2016.

      1. IIRC Harry Reid actually WAS supporting Keystone.
        There is plenty of pressure from within the Democratic Party to approve it. It’s just that Obama happens to be aligned with the wackjob environmental left on this.
        This is one of the areas where he is really far to the left of his party.

        1. Maybe Obama understands how unpopular this position is and would like to approve it only he can’t because the Democratic Party is too dependent on the money from various Green billionaires?

          Think about it. What other reliable source of money do the Democrats have right now? Hollywood is nearly tapped out and losing interest. The public employee unions will always bee there but they don’t have the money they did even four years ago and they can’t pay for everything. The black community is completely disillusioned. The gentry white liberals are not lining up to donate. Who is left other than the Greens?

          Tom Steyer just blew a hundred million dollars on the last election and got nothing to show for it. If Obama signs off on this, Steyer and others like him are likely to take their money off the table. If that happens, the Democratic Party is screwed.

          I am not saying this is what is going on here. Obama may just be this stupid and self centered. But it is also possible he and the Democratic party doesn’t have any other choice.

          1. The irony is, if Obama can help the price of oil drop further, then the shale boom we are currently in will end because it’s expense makes it only cost effective is oil is priced high. Probably better for us to hold off on shale until the rest of the world starts depleting their cheap oil deposits so we can then become the major provider when the price really should be high enough to make shale economical. The Fed induced speculation has caused us to jump the gun and waste a lot of future wealth.

  11. By the way, I think that the latest poll showed Mary Landrieu down by a humiliating 16 points in her runoff race.

    So even if this passes the Senate, it seems pretty unlikely to keep her from getting her electoral teeth kicked out of her head.

    Calling all the white people in her state racists may not have been the smartest move.

    1. I took that remark as her admitted her campaign was doomed and was now auditioning for that high paying post Senate employment with some leftist think tank.

      But now I read where the Democrats thing they are going to run her again in 2016 for the other Louisiana Senate seat. If that is true, the Louisiana Democrats are completely screwed because they apparently have no viable candidates for state wide office.

  12. The POTUS is a doofus. Any new oil on the global market affects pricing everywhere. He may have gone to college, but he has learned nothing, and continues to to spout dumb and wrong things. Ofafah!

  13. Over at, they have been showing that the lower oil prices go, the less sustainable the shale boom will be. In fact, Saudi Arabia has been cutting it’s prices in an effort to stop the production of more shale oil in the US. So if Obama is bolstering oil prices by trying to keep more of Canada’s oil of the market, he is in the odd position of enacting government protectionism of shale oil and fracking under the guise of environmental protection. In an effort to hurt fossil fuels, Obama has actually incentivized the continuance of a technology that makes it possible to pump tons more of the stuff out of the ground that, otherwise, wouldn’t be cost effective.

  14. “the president has strongly signaled that his instinctual anti-market ideology will guide his actions.”

    Yeah, because standing in the way of a giant eminent-domain-powered big-government corporate welfare boondoggle is “anti-market.”

  15. I’m surprised that most commentors here, who I assume are pro-property rights, don’t get that if the pipeline is approved it will not be built with the voluntary cooperation of all the property owners whose land it crosses (when has that ever been the case?). Eminent domain will be used to take land, and some Rosebud Sioux leaders have called putting the pipeline through their reservation an “act of war.” Isn’t using government force to take land for profit enough of a reason to oppose the plan?

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