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Obama’s Keystone Veto: A clear failure of leadership

Written By | Feb 27, 2015

WASHINGTON, February 27, 2014 – Earlier this week, President Obama boldly vetoed the much ballyhooed Keystone Pipeline proposal. While many on the left have painted this bill as a hot-button issue, it wasn’t even remotely a controversial issue. It wasn’t even really a partisan issue. There is no doubt that the majority of not just politicians, but Americans in general supported this project.

Enter President Obama, quite possibly the only person on the planet so diametrically opposed to any association with fossil fuels to the point where he would ignore a laundry list of benefits and derail a pipeline bill that the whole country supported, for no other reason than his own personal resentment toward oil and big business.

President Obama said that the bill “earned his veto”. Not only is it unusual to refer to a bill that has passed both chambers of a democratically elected congress as “earning” a veto, it’s provably false.

Read Also: Keystone Pipeline Debate: Not about sound energy policy

As far as the polls go, there is no question that Americans wanted this pipeline. The project, which would essentially transport hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico to be refined, was favored by the majority of Americans in most major polls. The voters showed up to support Keystone in the recent midterm election too.  Not only did Republicans end up with a resounding victory, due in small part to their support of Keystone, Former Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), literally lost her job for her failure to maneuver the bill through the Senate.

Politicians wanted the pipeline too. Not just Republicans. Democratic Senators Mark Warner, Robert Casey, Claire McCaskill, and Joe Manchin were all ardent supporters of this bill because of the jobs it would create.  McCaskill even went so far as to say that she supports the project because we “can’t let politics trump good policy”.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what is happening. Even documented liberal and AFL-CIO union leader Richard Trumka supports the bill because of the jobs it brings.

Conventional wisdom would say that the environmental impact of Keystone led the president to veto this bill because of course, everyone knows that oil is bad. This is by far the most frustrating aspect of President Obama’s veto. Not only did his own administration’s report say that the pipeline would not have a negative environmental impact, it discovered it would have a positive one.

Yes, you read that correctly. The pipeline arguably would have benefited the environment by eliminating the harmful emissions that would have emanated from the trucks needed to transport the oil to the gulf in the pipeline’s absence. Since 2008, 10 federal agencies have examined Keystone XL and found no reason to condemn it.

The economic benefit of Keystone XL is unquestionable. As Congressman Bob Gibbs points out, “The U.S. currently relies on imports for 45 percent of our oil demand. Since oil is a global commodity and subject to the forces of supply and demand, the increased supply from the Keystone Pipeline will undoubtedly have an effect on domestic gasoline prices.”

Don’t forget about the jobs. The thousands of jobs that this pipeline is sure to create. These are good paying jobs too, in an anemic economy that has only been able to create federal and low paying opportunities. Keystone opponents can’t refute the fact that the pipeline will create jobs, around 42,000 of them to be specific.

They have instead chosen to challenge the number of jobs and claim that project supporters are exaggerating. That begs the question, even if the 42,000 number was wrong, even if it was off by a whopping 30,000 jobs, would it not still be worth it? If the pipeline, which does not hurt the environment and helps the economy, created 500 jobs, who in their right mind would say no to that? Barack Obama would.

But why? It’s simple. The President is blinded by his dedication to the climate change narrative and he will support it all costs. This is the same commander in chief who recently told the country that climate change is the biggest threat we face.

This isn’t the first major pipeline either.

Read Also: The Keystone Pipeline, a losing proposition for environmentalists

There are hundreds of pipelines just like Keystone that are currently operating in this country and this photo clearly shows the minimal effect Keystone would have on drilling in America.  Keystone XL is a drop in the bucket, but ideology has trumped reason, which has unfortunately become a common theme for this administration.

The majority of polls, politicians on both sides of the aisle, and even the government’s own environmental report was in favor of Keystone XL. Not only that, the project was guaranteed to create jobs, something no rational American should take issue with.

Speaker Boehner referred to the move as a national “embarrassment”. That’s not accurate. It’s a lot worse than that. It’s a dereliction of duty and the country deserves better from its elected officials.

Andrew Mark Miller