January 18 2012
It’s official: President Obama has rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, as Hadley anticipated earlier today that he would.
Surely, nobody can miss the supreme irony of the president’s taking this action on a day when Iran is threatening to torpedo U.S. aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.
If Iran were to succeed in closing the Strait of Hormuz, the effect on the world’s oil supply is potentially disastrous. It would have been nice to have the oil that the Keystone XL pipeline could have brought from our friendly neighbor to the north. (But don’t worry—the president is still reportedly offering to talk to the Iranians! That should fix it.)
There is debate over how many jobs the pipeline would have created but even Keystone’s staunchest detractors can’t deny that it would have created thousands of jobs.
If all that isn’t enough, the White House is blaming the Republicans for the decision. The GOP had included a provision in the payroll tax bill that the president would have to make the decision, which he had delayed until after the election, within 60 days.
The White House says 60 days is just not enough time. That would be more plausible if the environment impact of the Keystone project hadn’t already been studied for three full years.
The president’s own jobs council indicated earlier in the week that it supported the Keystone XL Project. The Hill newspaper reports that, even though the council’s report didn’t specifically mention Keystone, it offered hope for supporters of the project:
“The Council recognizes the important safety and environmental concerns surrounding these types of projects, but now more than ever, the jobs and economic and energy security benefits of these energy projects require us to tackle the issues head-on and to expeditiously, though cautiously, move forward on projects that can support hundreds of thousands of jobs,” the report says.
But extreme environmentalists, an important part of the president’s re-election coalition, oppose Keystone. That was enough. The White House’s decision today was hardly a profile in courage—especially the bit about trying to blame Republicans.