Unlock the Keystone Pipeline
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign repeatedly touted that U.S. domestic oil production hit an eight-year high in 2011.
But all those speeches and commercials left out the Obama administration’s controversial refusal to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would provide a reliable source of crude from a trusted ally.
That nearly 1,700-mile project — if completed — would be a conduit for oil from Canadian tar sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Early last year, though, the White House rejected TransCanada’s application to complete that $7 billion job. President Obama said there was insufficient time to conduct “a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact.”
Hmm. The application for the pipeline’s extension was filed in 2008. How long must “a full assessment” take?
That pertinent question was raised again Tuesday in a letter to the president from 146 U.S. House members — including 14 Democrats.
The letter cited “recent events in North Africa” that put America’s economy, which still relies on oil from that tumultuous region, at rising risk.
The lawmakers rightly stressed: “We need to be able to move resources, not only from Canada, but from the many domestic shale plays [shale oil basins] that have recently come on line.”
That appeal echoes the previous week’s letter to the president from 53 senators, including nine Democrats. As that letter put it: “We ask you not to move the goal posts, as opponents of this project have pressed you to do.”
Those opponents have increasingly based their objections to the pipeline not on any tangible jeopardy it poses to water supplies — a purported risk numerous studies have refuted — but on its re-confirmation of America’s continued dependence on oil.
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman recently left the ranks of pipeline opponents, giving it his blessing after TransCanada revised the route through his state.
Gov. Heineman is a Republican.
But Mary Landrieu is a Louisiana Democrat. And she is one of the senators who signed that letter to the president.
Last month, Sen. Landrieu made this succinct case for at last extending the pipeline: “It’s just a no-brainer. Canada is going to export this oil. It’s either going to come to the U.S. or it’s going to go to Russia or China.”
And the president, by either finally allowing or again blocking completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline, is going to either ease — or needlessly intensify — America’s still-dangerous dependence on Mideast oil.