Tuesday, August 30, 2011


"They can’t get the climate science right, but maybe they can get the politics right."

Last Friday I expressed the opinion that President Obama was likely to block any tar sands pipeline despite the need for cheap oil from friendly nations and the jobs it would create. Now, it turns out that he's going to okay the pipeline, but there's a catch. Professor Jacobson explains at Legal Insurrection:
But don’t get your hopes too high. This all could be an election cycle head fake, because State Department approval hardly ends the matter:

The project still must clear several hurdles, including endorsement by other federal agencies, additional studies, public hearings and consultation with the states through which the pipeline will pass. But all signs point to the Obama administration approving the project by the end of the year, perhaps with modifications.

My prediction? Final project approvals will get delayed until after the 2012 election
As John M Broder and Clifford Krauss explain in the New York Times, there are all sorts of environmental impact studies, public hearings, meetings with states the pipeline passes through, and various agencies have to give approval as well. That could easily stretch far beyond 2012, when President Obama doesn't have to worry about reelection.

The president has already demonstrated he doesn't really care what happens to congressmen as long as he gets his agenda passed, so cutting off the pipeline because it was discovered to be too dirty or had too much local opposition would be easy to do, if reelected.

So don't expect to see any of that oil coming into America any time soon. Its not like Canada won't be getting that oil out of the ground, they'll just sell it to someone else in the meantime, like China. So there's no environmental victory here either way this goes. Just a kick in the teeth of Americans who want cheaper gas. That's what nobody in the environmental movement seems to comprehend, or at least care about.

1 comment:

Alex VanderWoude said...

Gahhh. Please don't use the pejorative term "tar sands", that's Green Weenie propaganda. A better term is "oil sands", but only because "bituminous sands" is too clumsy.

Please excuse my nit-picky-ness, but as an Albertan this kind of thing ticks me off.