The Obama Administration voiced its support Monday regarding TransCanada Corporation’s plans to construct the interstate portion of the Keystone XL pipeline that does not require presidential approval. Remember that President Obama rejected TransCanada’s permit application to construct a 1,700-mile pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to Texas refineries just this January. Has the President since had a change of heart on the Keystone project? Not really.
Since the 485-mile segment of the pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas can be carried out without presidential approval, the President’s endorsement is utterly meaningless. President Obama earns no credit for the economic boost and jobs impact that this $2.3 billion project, expected to create 4,000 jobs, will have on America. Nevertheless, President Obama will likely claim credit for it. As the President has demonstrated in the recent past, he has no qualms about claiming credit for energy developments that happened in spite of his policies, not because of them.
Proponents and opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline alike are angered by the President’s apparent Keystone flip flop. Environmental activists want the whole pipeline project scrapped, and House Speaker John Boehner (R–OH) said:
The President is so far on the wrong side of the American people that he’s now praising the company’s decision to start going around him.… [The President] can’t have it both ways. If the President thinks this project is good for America, he knows how to make it happen right away. Until he does, he’s just standing in the way of getting it done.
TransCanada’s plans are good news for America. The company will proceed with building the interstate portion of the pipeline pending regulatory approval. At the same time, TransCanada is working with Nebraska officials to find a reroute around the contentious Sandhills region affecting that portion of the pipeline.
TransCanada is also applying for a new permit with the State Department to complete the full project. In the meantime, the portion from the storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, to oil refineries in Texas would allow much more oil to be refined more quickly, which could put downward pressure on all-time-high gas prices.
Nevertheless, the good news should not detract from the thousands of missing jobs and hundreds of thousands of barrels of additional oil President Obama’s unnecessary rejection of the cross-border portion from the U.S. to Canada is causing.