Bipartisan group set to take Keystone decision out of Obama’s hands – Washington Times

Bipartisan group set to take Keystone decision out of Obama’s hands – Washington Times.

By Ben Wolfgang – The Washington Times

President Obama has often used executive authority to get around Congress — and he has promised to continue that approach in his second term.

But now a bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to turn the tables on the White House.

Late last week, Rep. Lee Terry, Nebraska Republican, introduced a bill to take approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline out of the president’s hands. The measure has the support of at least two Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The bill eliminates the need for a presidential permit and would officially green-light the 1,700-mile pipeline, designed to transport oil sands from Canada through the U.S. to refineries on the Gulf Coast. It also would create thousands of jobs in the process.

“The time is up. No more delays. It’s time to build the Keystone pipeline,” Mr. Terry said at a Capitol Hill news conference Friday.

The move comes on the heels of a similar proposal in the Senate. Sen. John Hoeven, North Dakota Republican, and Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, have put forth legislation to approve the project using Congress‘ authority under the Commerce Clause.

Other Democratic senators, including Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, are co-sponsoring the bill, as are a half-dozen Republican senators.

“The Keystone pipeline is the perfect opportunity to put Montanans, and folks across the country, to work right now,” Mr. Baucus said in a statement last week, after the measure was introduced. “American workers cannot afford to wait any longer for Keystone jobs, and there is absolutely no excuse for further delay.”

Of course, both pieces of legislation would need to be signed by the president whose powers it would strip. While it appears both bills could easily pass in their respective chambers, it’s unclear whether either could garner enough support to overcome a potential veto by Mr. Obama.

At the very least, the bills once again demonstrate the growing sense of frustration in Congress over the administration’s handling of the project.

Mr. Obama has continually put off a final decision on the pipeline, even in the face of growing pressure from lawmakers, the oil and gas industry and even the Canadian government, which has begun to make clear that it intends to do business with China and in other Asian markets if the U.S. refuses to build Keystone.

The president reportedly told lawmakers last week that he is nearing a decision, but it’s still unclear exactly when the White House will give an answer.

The answer isn’t expected until summer, at the earliest, after the State Department finalizes its comprehensive environmental impact review of the project.

A draft of that report, released earlier this month, seems to pave the way for approval of the project. The long-awaited study found that the pipeline will have little or no impact on greenhouse gas emissions, one of the most frequent complaints raised by environmentalists and other opponents of the project.

Specifically, the study said that the fuel eventually will be developed and made into burnable fuel by someone — if not by the U.S., then by China.

The study also found that Keystone would have little, if any, impact on American demand for crude oil. Environmental groups have dismissed the report and ramped up pressure on Mr. Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry — formerly one of Congress‘ loudest voices on climate change and the environment — to kill the project once and for all.

The study, had it been a damning indictment of the project, could have been used by the White House as environmental justification for rejecting Keystone. Instead, it is being held up as proof that the pipeline should be built immediately.

“All of this unnecessary delay has done nothing to improve our energy security or our economy,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican and co-sponsor of the Senate bill. “If the White House can’t see that, then it’s time for Congress to act.”

 

The GOP Can Add 10 Million Jobs and $15 Trillion to US Economy without Spending a Dime – John Ransom – Townhall Finance

The GOP Can Add 10 Million Jobs and $15 Trillion to US Economy without Spending a Dime – John Ransom – Townhall Finance.

There are many contrasts that the GOP can use to go after Obama on the economy.

None present such a black and white contrast as the dispute about the black, tar-sands crude that Canada would like to ship through the US to refineries on the Gulf via the Keystone XL pipeline. The dispute isn’t about the environment, is about creating 10 million U.S. jobs.

The State Department gave preliminary approval to build the Keystone pipeline late last summer, saying that it posed no significant environmental risks. But like a lot of things with this administration, it was a case of the left hand not knowing what the left-wing was doing.    

Instead of allowing the project to go through, along with the hundreds of thousands of jobs it would create, Obama sided with whack-job environmentalists who raised bogus fears that oil spills could pollute the aquifer that lies underneath its path.

Ok, he only apparently sided with them.

He actually did what Obama likes to do best when pandering to… whomever. He bravely told the rest of us that for right now he wouldn’t approve the pipeline, but he might change his mind. Oh, and if we try to rush him to make a decision, we’ll all be very, very sorry.  

So Canada’s prime minister has decided to look for a new partner for their oil.

“Harper’s second official trip to the Middle Kingdom comes at an important juncture in Canada-China relations,” writes Canada’s National Post “and will help dictate the Conservative government’s economic and foreign policy with the Asian superpower for years to come. The prime minister is courting China as a customer for Canadian natural resources — insisting it’s in Canada’s national interest to send oil and gas to Asia — and looking to sew stronger economic ties with the world’s fastest-growing economy.”

Never will an Obama administration be accused of shepherding the “world’s fastest-growing economy.”

You wanna grow debt quickly?

Sure they are your guys.

But on the economy?

Turn to the much more reliable capitalists in Communist China. That’s at least the message from Stephen Harper.

The pipeline could ultimately supply about a million barrels of Canadian oil to the US per day and 400,000 US jobs, most of them almost immediately.

But instead, the president, who has been railing against Congress for not passing another expensive jobs bill, and talks about income equality like it’s the most pressing issue of the day, just killed 400,000 American jobs that would battle income inequality in the most productive sense by providing ordinary Americans with the opportunity to earn some income.  

And despite everything the Obama administration has done to slow down domestic development of oil and gas resources, the oil and gas sector is one of the fastest growing jobs markets in a very anemic job market. While other sectors are shedding jobs, oil and gas is hot.

“The use of new drilling techniques to tap oil and gas in shale rocks far underground helped add 158,000 new oil and gas jobs over the past five years,” writes the Wall Street Journal “and economists think that it has created even more jobs in companies supplying the energy industry and in the broader services industry.”

“This is probably the biggest stimulus we have going,” Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research told the WSJ.

According to the Journal “$145 billion will be spent drilling and completing wells this year, up from $13 billion in 2000.”

While it’s estimated that Canada may have as much as 2 trillion barrels of oil in reserves, “the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the [US] has 4.3 trillion barrels of in-place oil shale resources centered in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, said Helen Hankins, Colorado director for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management” according to the Associated Press.

4.3 trillion barrels is 16 times the reserves of Saudi Arabia, or enough oil to supply the US for 600 years.

As I have pointed out all along, the Keystone issue isn’t about the safety of a pipeline. Obama and enviro-whacko friends know that if they allow Canadian tar sands oil to be developed via the Keystone pipeline, that the US will also start to develop their own tar-sands and shale oil. The US contains well over 600 years of known reserves and that would allow the US to be a net exporter of oil. If that happens, the green economy ruse that the left has sponsored, already reeling from bankruptcies and cronyism, would collapse. It would show that there is no shortage of oil and “green” energy can not compete with fossil fuels.

The only thing left then for those bitter climate clingers would be the shoddy science of Global Something-or-Another.  

Oil from tar sands, reports the BBC on the Keystone decision, “is so plentiful that full-scale development would seriously delay the transition to low-carbon alternative fuels,” which is the holy grail of the left.  And along the way, the U.S. would create at least 10 million new U.S. jobs, keeping around $500 billion per year here at home. Over twenty years that would be an additional $12.5 trillion in GDP even at a modest 2 percent growth rate. At 4 percent the numbers are closer to $15.5 trillion.     

Full scale development of tar sands can only be stopped by taxing oil out of existence, like was tried with cap and trade.  Cape and trade was never about trying to cool the earth. It was about giving “green” technologies a competitive advantage over fossil fuels that free markets won’t concede.    

Building out the infrastructure to drill and transport that oil just from the Rocky Mountains in the US could supply literally millions of jobs for American workers, while supplying literally millions of barrels of oil per day, repairing our energy security for the next century. But moist importantly it would repair our economy.

I mean we went to war to protect the supply of oil coming from Libya for Europe.

Couldn’t the GOP at least first go to work making sure Keystone provides work for Americans?

That’s an issue to go to war over.

Keystone Blue-Collar Blues – Larry Kudlow – Townhall Finance

 

Truck hauling 36-Inch Pipe to build Keystone-C...

Keystone Blue-Collar Blues – Larry Kudlow – Townhall Finance.

The payroll-tax-cut debate is not really about the payroll tax, which is a very weak-kneed economic stimulant and a lackluster job creator because of its temporary nature. Without permanent incentives at lower tax rates, these rebates don’t do anything for growth and jobs.

Instead, the key to understanding the payroll-tax debate is to grasp Pres. Barack Obama’s leftist vision of taxing successful earners (the millionaire surtax) and his obsession with clean energy at the expense of fossil fuels. These are ideological positions. They support the Obama vision of class warfare and his attachment to radical environmentalism.

And the key to understanding this state of affairs is the disposition of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, which Republicans cleverly threw into the payroll-tax debate as the only real job creator.

By siding with the radical greenies and standing against the Keystone pipeline, Obama has turned his back on the most traditional voting bloc in the Democratic party: blue-collar, hard-hat workers.

Manufacturing workers. Construction workers. Truckers. Pipefitters. Plumbers. The Keystone opposition coming out of the White House is completely alienating all these people, the folks who work with their hands. And it’s these workers who have been decimated in the recession far more than any other group in the economy.

David Barnett, the head of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, told me on CNBC that unemployment is currently running at 20 to 25 percent in this blue-collar sector. He has repeatedly lobbied the White House to allow the Keystone pipeline to go through, and he notes high environmental standards in the work his men do. And yet even now, three years after the initial Keystone reviews began, the issue is still not resolved.

How can you have a jobs bill without putting blue-collar workers back to work? Answer: stubborn ideological insistence.

The Teamsters support the Keystone. So does the AFL-CIO. So do the machinists. And along with the plumbers and pipefitters, so does the Laborers’ International Union of North America.

And we’re not just talking about the 20,000 jobs that would accrue directly from the pipeline, but the secondary and tertiary jobs from a long supply chain that total well over 100,000.

As of this writing, the White House may dump the millionaire surtax. But that’s not much of a concession, since it never would have passed anyway. Republicans are adamant. It’s a nonstarter in the House, and probably the Senate too. Meanwhile, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell told me the Keystone pipeline is the key to the payroll-tax-cut deal.

Both practically and symbolically, Obama’s obsessive stance against the pipeline rips a huge split in the Democratic party, and in the country as a whole. His manic support of clean energy — just think Solyndra — has blocked out any rational evaluation of the ongoing importance of oil and natural gas — including the oil-and-gas-shale fracking revolution that has become a huge jobs creator in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, and elsewhere.

The Obama administration recently shut down the Utica shale field in Ohio because of an Agriculture Department objection. Two-hundred-thousand jobs are at stake. A field in Wyoming may be shut down. New York State desperately needs jobs and growth, but is wavering because of EPA actions elsewhere.

And with the Keystone ruling delay now extending for another year, the Keystone folks might give the whole project up in the U.S., in favor of a Pacific Ocean pipeline in Canada that will sell oil to the Chinese.

While the U.S. dithers, the Canadians are taking action. As a shot across the unbalanced environmental bow, the Canadian government is opting out of the Kyoto global-warming treaty. As energy analyst Daniel Yergin writes, while the unstable Persian Gulf countries represent 16 percent of U.S. oil imports, Canada represents 25 percent. Yergin also writes that by the beginning of the next decade, Canadian oil sands could double production to three million barrels per day. That means an even higher share of U.S. imports coming from our friendly neighbor and largest trading partner.

So in addition to being an economic-stability issue, this becomes and energy-independence issue, and even a national-security issue.

Obama’s decisions on the pipeline and other new energy breakthroughs are inimical to U.S. interests. They also are hostile to Democratic-party hard hats who may desert the president in droves come next November.

On top of all that, what may be America’s leading new source of job creation will be stifled.