Keystone XL

Obama Will Make National Interest Decision on the Keystone Pipeline Before Leaving Office

The president is now in a big hurry after 7 years of delay



Earlier today, I reported on the regulatory end run that Transcanada—the would-be builder and operator of the Keystone Pipeline—was trying to execute by asking for a pause in the State Department's review of its application. The pipeline would transport oil sands crude to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

After enduring seven years of delay and regulatory chicanery, the folks at Transcanada had evidently concluded that President Obama would soon decide that the pipeline is not in the national interest due to his climate concerns. A decision against the pipeline would burnish the president's environmentalist cred and leave behind yet another "legacy."

In less than 24 hours after Transcanada's request, the White House spokesfolk are telling the press that President Obama will make his decision before leaving office. From the Washington Post:

White House officials said Tuesday the president intends to decide the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline during his tenure, rather than suspend the federal review process at the request of the project's sponsor.

Speaking to reporters, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said President Obama "would like to have this determination be completed before he leaves office" and was not inclined to extend the seven-year review process even longer just because one section of the route is still awaiting approval in Nebraska. …

…Earnest's comments suggested that the administration — which has been under serious pressure for years from both environmental advocates and major Democratic supporters to block the pipeline — has come to see the project as a powerful symbol of what Obama could do unilaterally to keep fossil fuels underground.

For the record, all three Democratic presidential candidates oppose the pipeline and all Republican candidates (whatever number there is) support it.

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  1. Because this is totally the kind of decision that should be up to one person to make…

  2. I wish he’d stop keeping us in suspense.

    1. Look, this is a tough decision. There are a lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous. It’s not like attacking Libya or Syria or something; this decision could have some serious, unforeseen consequences.

  3. It’s incredible the amount of damage he can, and most likely will, do in his remaining 14.5 months.

    1. It won’t come close the the Bushpig’s Financial Collapse of 2007-08.

      1. Um, this is kind of embarrassing, but you, um, you’ve got some of Obama’s cum on your face. Oh, silly me, you already knew and you were wearing it with pride. Never mind.

  4. What regulatory chicanery would that be? The right of a company in another country to use eminent domain in the U.S. in order to expand their business?

    Hopefully the President will in fact ignore their request for a delay, and act on principle. Sounds like you fear he will.

    1. Oddly enough you have no problems with the eminent domain issues involving transmission lines from your bird slicers and friers.

    2. I didn’t realize the state department was in charge of adjudicating eminent domain disputes.

      1. They are now/

      2. Just wondering if the regulatory, or statutory, chicanery bothering Ronald includes a foreign company employing US eminent domain. What do you think, Hazel?

        Or is this just another example of selective outrage of chicanery.

    3. You used to have a boner for ED, joe. What happened?

      1. You know exactly what happened.

    4. He may indeed, and probably will, delay their request.

      But act on principle ?


      Denying this pipeline and the jobs and industry it brings is asinine and strictly political. The oil is currently coming out of the ground and being transported by his campaign donor and supporter Warren Buffett by rail.

      Rail is by far a much more dangerous method of crude transportation. But Buffett makes 2 billion a year in gross revenue doing it so there you go

      1. It’s not assanine and it’s not political. Particularly if you listen to the warnings from science. The point is to leave as much of tar sands oil as possible on the ground. And in addition to low oil prices, the delays in pipeline construction in Canada due to protests has significantly reduced new investment and expansion in tar sands exploration.…..ices-shell

        Shell has already abandoned two projects.

        “Trouble is, many of these pipelines are running into obstacles…. (In addition to Keystone) The much larger Energy East pipeline has faced heavy opposition in Quebec. And Northern Gateway, which would transport oil to Canada’s western coast, has faced steep opposition from First Nations tribes.”

        So, if your objective is to leave as much of that tar sands oil in the ground as possible, it’s neither assanine nor political. It’s germane and a step in the right direction. But I wouldn’t expect you to understand that.

        1. “So, if your objective is to leave as much of that tar sands oil in the ground as possible…”
          Why on earth would that be the objective?

          You’ve really lost me here. Do we also want to leave as many sandwiches unmade as possible? As much soda unproduced as possible? Have we actually come out and admitted that the measure of success for state regulation of the economy is how much worth of goods and services have been prevented from being produced and brought to market?

          1. It’s the objective because for those who believe in man-made warming of the climate (and that includes the clear majority of the scientific community) there exists a carbon budget. The amount of carbon we can safely add to the atmosphere in order to keep warming limited to two degrees C.


            That means that much of the oil that exists in known reserves would have to remain in the ground unburned. And tar sands oil is worse than conventional oil when it comes to greenhouse gas.

            1. No doubt, you’ll be the first to forgo all carbon emitting transportation forever for the sake of humanity? No?

              I guess I’ll give you a little lecture on energy economics: demand for oil is generally rather inelastic; that means people don’t consume marginally less (or more of it) in response to price changes; that in turn means that the primary effect of jacking up the oil price isn’t to reduce consumption (price increases aren’t very effective at that), but rather to make everyone poorer; especially those for whom energy costs eat a significant proportion of their income (i.e., poor people).

              Bottom line: increasing oil production will lead to a decline in prices, making everyone better off, while leading only to a less than proportional increase in consumption, while in order to make a significant dent in oil consumption by raising prices, you would need to raise the prices to the point of impoverishing a great many people. Now, perhaps you think doing so would be ‘worth it’, but you can believe me when I say that everyone who isn’t economically retarded knows that a flat increase in oil prices isn’t a good way to responsibly reduce consumption. Unsurprisingly, that is precisely the route the Obama administration has taken.

              1. See the following graph:

                Sorry, oil consumption is not well-correlated with total oil supply; in fact, consumption rose fastest and most consistently during a period of continuous decline in production, and fairly recently, oil consumption declined at its fastest rate in decades while production was actually increasing.

                So, artificially driving down production/up prices has the grand effect of making people poorer, and does little else. Except make you and Al Gore feel good I guess.

                1. I don’t mind ” lectures” but only when they are on the subject at hand. And on this case you asked why some of that tar sands oil needs to be left in the ground. I answered. It has nothing to do with the price of oil.

                  However, if that is your concern… I’m all for a price on carbon ( it doesn’t exist today), so let’s put one on it. Maybe a carbon tax, something even a few libertarians are for. And where would that tax be? On fossil fuels, because that would be where the carbon is. OK?

                  Sorry for the lecture. At least it’s on the topic you switched to.

                2. Maybe this will help you understand better the topic on which you opined…prices, and why libertarians can support market forces that address climate change… And which necessitates taking into account ALL costs (without which you don’t have a true market):


                  If that isn’t enough, go to libertarian Niskanen Center. They can set you straight.

          2. Maybe this study published in Nature can help you.


            “Our results suggest that, globally, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80 per cent of current coal reserves should remain unused from 2010 to 2050 in order to meet the target of 2 ?C. We show that development of resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil production are incommensurate with efforts to limit average global warming to 2 ?C. Our results show that policy makers’ instincts to exploit rapidly and completely their territorial fossil fuels are, in aggregate, inconsistent with (this goal).”

            Once again, if you believe what science is telling you, the objective is to keep as much of that carbon in the ground as possible.

            But don’t let science lecture you.

  5. This proves he’s a centrist.

  6. How will this be binding for the next president? Magic?

    Same with Obamacare – the law has reached a point where the HHS can do whatever they want…

    Obama, by going all dictator-wannabe, has actually endangered his own future legacy.

    1. Well, I think the main question is if they can restart the federal review process or whether Obama’s word ends it.

    2. He endangered his own future legacy by sucking and being incompetent.

    3. What makes you think Hillary will want to undo any of his work?

    4. Obamacare is the rusty, unused fourth rail of politics.

  7. Obama “would like to have this determination be completed before he leaves office”

    Now, *that* is leadership.

  8. I suspect Hillary would approve the pipeline if given half a chance. The enviro groups have less money to donate, and its not like she vulnerable to an internal party challenge.That’s one mitigating factor of a Clinton presidency. She has no need to fight off internal challenges, and she is nothing if not expedient.

    1. Actually, Obama had fewer internal challenges to fight off than Hillary.

      1. Obama had to fight off Hillary during the 2008 primary.

    2. Of course. The Clintons are for sale.

      See pardon, Marc Rich.

      Obama might be. We’ll see.

    3. Plus she has already been well paid for an approval as head of State which is the only dept. that approved it so far
      2..3 million is what she charged for State to approve it. She owes it to them if she is to continue to receive bribes from others.

      If you get the reputation of taking bribes and not paying off the bribes tend to dry up.

    4. As I said before, the greens gonna be tripping when they find out how few fucks hillary gives about global warming.

  9. I think the pipeline is a good idea, though I won’t get pissy if it don’t go through. Would rather they repeal that 70’s law about exporting domestic oil, and get smarter with foreign natty gas markets.

    1. Well we don’t want them for’ners tekken our oilz.

      Oddly enough, that stupid export limitation on oil probably enjoys more bipartisan support than almost any other policy. It’s anti-foreign so Republicans love it, and it’s retarded so Democrats love it. If Bernie gets elected maybe we’ll go full Venezuela with our oil policy. I actually wouldn’t mind that; I’ll just make a side job of buying it here for a quarter a gallon and smuggling that liquid gold into Canada. I mean, now that my prospective Cuban cigar business is sunk by the waning of the embargo 🙁

  10. Obama is a flippin moron.

    1. Well computed.

      1. I say it just passed the Turing test.

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