Keystone XL

Keystone XL Pipeline: Threatened Veto As Symbolic Progressivism

House approves Keystone XL pipeline construction.


Keystone Protest

This afternoon, the House of Representatives voted 270 to 152 to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. First proposed in 2008, the pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels per day of Canadian oil sands crude to Gulf Coast refineries. Already approved the Senate, the legislation now goes to President Obama who has threatened to veto it. The fact that it would be only the third bill vetoed by Obama indicates just how much the president is in thrall to the environmentalist lobby. Greenhouse gas emissions stemming from the pipeline would boost U.S. emissions by about one-half of one percent. So with respect to protecting the global climate, a presidential veto is almost entirely an exercise in symbolic progressivism.


NEXT: Fixing errors in Westlaw and Lexis versions of documents

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Greenhouse gas emissions stemming from the pipeline would boost U.S. emissions by about one-half of one percent.

    Any idea how that number was determined? I’m ignorant of pipeline technology, but it strikes me that it would be cleaner than train, no?

    1. Cleaner, safer, and cheaper by far.

      Buffett gets 2 billion per year in revenue from his railroad investment.

    2. I’ll guess that those greenhouse gas emissions will be occurring at the gulf coast refineries and ports rather than on foreign soil or that the increased capacity will enable the Canucks to drill an unwilling Gaia that much harder. Hell, maybe it includes refinery new-hires driving their F-150s to work and their ATVs and fishing boats on weekends.

    3. It’s probably referring to the awful awful dirty polluting stinky smelly dirty awful tar sands which take more energy to harvest than even that evil polluting stinky smelly fracking. Even though that is is Canada.

      Or maybe the dirty awfuls tink smelly tar sands oil takes more energy to refine.

      Or maybe they just made it up.

      1. The point is that the oil is already being extracted and shipped, just not by pipeline. The gulf coast refineries are already operating at capacity.

        Any calculation that says that the pipeline increases greenhouse emissions by the amount of oil carried by the pipeline is simply wrong. If the oil is going to gulf coast refineries in the pipeline, it is either replacing canadian oil shipped by rail, truck or ship – or it is replacing other oil. Unless someone builds more refinery capacity (which has not happened in a long time).

        Likewise, the pipeline only carries oil that the canadian tar sands produce. Unless they increase production capacity by the amount of the pipeline it is also disingenuous to claim an increase in emissions due to the pipeline.

        1. This isn’t true (first paragraph). The Keystone project is four phases, three of which are built and operational. This final fourth phase would just be a direct route from Alberta to Nebraska which would also allow the fields of North Dakota access to the system. These Alberta and Nebraska terminals are already connected via pipeline just not in a straight line route.

          1. And I’m not trying to make some stupid ‘your’re wrong on the internet and I”m calling you out’ statement. It just seems like at some point somebody would of picked up on the the fact that there’s a hell of a lot more to this than a single pipeline.

  2. Keystone supporters should just push how wonderful the project will be for the unions. I don’t know if it will be, but at least it might deter some of the left’s kneejerk opposition.

    1. Splitting off private sector unions to work against PSUs and environmentalists is a good strategy.

  3. They are pretty close to having the votes to override that veto.

    1. That would be delicious. President pen/phone getting his veto slapped down.

  4. “Greenhouse gas emissions stemming from the pipeline would boost U.S. emissions by about one-half of one percent.”

    Why is this true?

  5. Why the lack of discussion on some other, liberty unfriendly, aspects of the bill?

    Like a whole lot of Kelo?

    1. Because it totally fucking irrelevant to the discussion.

      1. No, it is not.

        Support for the project has been touted as an unalloyed good for liberty and a boon to free enterprise.

        Opposition to the project has been billed as anti-liberty.

        Thus, you be wrong.

  6. The whole thing seems to be false-flagged from the start.
    It doesn’t matter whether that oil goes through that pipe-line. It is coming out of the ground and will get used, so screw you, watermellons, and your opposition.
    OTOH, it’s so wrapped in gov’t approvals (yep, ED included) that it’s hard to see it as ‘private enterprise’.
    Outside of the ED issue, I’m not seeing a libertarian dog in this fight.
    And I still have no idea why the pipe-line would boost US emissions one iota.

    1. I think only in the sense that not building it would increase someone else’s emissions by one iota.

  7. my best friend’s ex-wife makes $65 an hour on the computer . She has been without a job for seven months but last month her check was $13740 just working on the computer for a few hours. try this…………..


  8. Every President who vetoes a bill isn’t necessarily in thrall with anybody…standing on principle isn’t a characteristic for only Libertarians you know, and he may finally be standing on principle when it comes to climate change. If so, good for him.

    Boiling it down to percentages is just silly. Did Libertarians boil down the Cliven Bundy episode to a percentage of dollars, or percentage of land? Of course not, because the episode would have then been meaningless. For Libertarians it was time to take a stand, it was the principle of the thing.

    There is symbolism to Keystone, but that doesn’t mean that symbols aren’t important. They are and we don’t always get to pick and choose the symbols that are thrust upon us. For better or worse, Keystone has in fact become symbolic.

    I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, relying on the percentage of carbon that will come from the tar sands is just an excuse that could be used to dig up every bit of fossil fuels in the ground and burn them, until it all is burned. If you think that carbon emissions need to be limited, then how do you start? You limit them.

    How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

  9. One reason any Libertarian should be against the Keystone XL pipeline. That acquisition of property for the construction of the pipeline is being done using Eminent Domain granted to TransCanada per the US Government. Eminent Domain is government sanctioned theft and not only that but it violates the property rights of these farmers and not to mention the violations of Indian Reservation treaties to also obtain reservation land for the Canadian Oil Company. Since when should a foreign oil tycoon and the US government have the power to steal from private property owners, or sovereign Native American lands, for the sake of said foreign company or for any reason whatsoever? That is not a Libertarian stance, that is a Republican Neocon stance with no regard for the rights of property owners or Native American peoples.

    1. You won’t get much support here because, you know, its about oil. There are plenty of oil company apologists here.

      But the good news, for you, and at least temporarily, is that a judge in Nebraska has put Trans-Canada’s use of eminent domain on hold.…..ed98c.html

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.