Morris: Enviros’ Protests Of Keystone XL Make For Obama’s Terrible Dilemma

Dick Morris’ latest column today deals with the Keystone XL pipeline, which promises to bring a million barrels of oil a day from Canada’s tar sands to refineries along the Gulf Coast, replacing oil from unstable and/or hostile regimes like Venezuela, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia in America’s supply chain. It’s an issue which has been steadily heating up of late, and in particular since a nonsensical editorial from the New York Times opposing the construction of Keystone XL.

His assessment of the environmentalists who are mounting up their indignance posses against the pipeline? They’re nuts.

The latest environmentalist cause célèbre is to block the Keystone pipeline which would bring Canadian oil sands petroleum to Texas refineries. Already almost two hundred green activists have been arrested at White House sit-ins designed to force Obama to kill the pipeline.

The protests are total and utter nonsense!

Oil sands petroleum is retrieved from the earth by unconventional methods like surface mining since it cannot be extracted through traditional drilling. Almost half of Canadian oil production comes from oil sands and the United States gets about 1.25 million barrels of oil sand petroleum every day from Canada (about one-tenth of our total oil imports). And Canada’s production of oil sand petroleum is expected to grow rapidly, offering a key alternative to imports from the Middle East and Venezuela. In addition, the U.S. has about 32 billion barrels of oil sand in eight fields in Utah which are not yet being mined commercially.

Morris pulls a figure from an outfit called Environment Canada to the effect that tar sands development amounts to 0.1 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions, and then he cuts to what for him is the quick of the issue…

Obama will have to decide soon if he is going to kill the Keystone pipeline. If he does, he will bear the responsibility for our continued dependence of Middle Eastern oil and for coming gasoline price increases.

But unless he caves in to the greens, he risks their wrath on Election Day, decreasing the turnout of this politically crucial part of his coalition.

We’ll all be interested to see what he does.

Indeed.

With unemployment over nine percent and more than one in six Americans unable to find a full-time job, the president is clearly losing the fight to keep the country working. And in his interminable speeches about how to reverse the situation Obama constantly talks about the need for infrastructure development. Infrastructure – shovel-ready projects – was falsely put forth as the prime driver of his trillion-dollar failed stimulus program in 2009; in fact, that money was largely spent on keeping state and local government workers (otherwise known as Democrat union members) from being laid off.

Along comes an infrastructure project worth $7 billion that won’t cost the federal government anything, has the potential to put tens of thousands of people to work, opens up a million barrels a day of oil to supply American refineries, from a country which is one of the best export markets America has, by the way, and to boot will create an outlet for oil from the massive Bakken play in North Dakota to Gulf Coast refineries.

No sane president would stop this project from going forward. No president of any other country on earth would stop it.

But Obama might. Because insane environmental groups from the Natural Resources Defense Council to the local yokels at the Gulf Restoration Network have decided to make Keystone XL a hill to die on, and for Obama to repudiate them would be for his administration to abandon one of the key policy directions it has embraced from the start. Nothing in the Obama administration’s two-plus years in office indicates support for Keystone XL, and in fact they’ve had several months to endorse the project but have failed to do so.

Were Obama to acquiesce on Keystone XL, it will be seen by the environmentalists as a betrayal of gargantuan proportions – and it might well turn into a partial closing of the fundraising spigot which appears to be all Obama cares about lately. Certain elements of the media would also turn on the president.

Republican candidates running against Obama should heartily endorse the pipeline now and pressure Obama to give it a thumbs-up. They should do so using Donald Trump’s blueprint for forcing Obama to release his birth certificate; that ultimately backfired on Trump because it made him look like a conspiracy theorist when Obama finally put the document forth, but there’s a difference here. Namely, there was no constituency for Obama not to release the birth certificate, while there’s a sizable (within the Democrat Party) constituency opposing Keystone XL. Demanding that he sign off on it allows a GOP candidate to take credit if he does, and confers a sharp differential and a rich vein of economic attacks on the president if he doesn’t.

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