IER reacts to Obama’s KXL pipeline veto

Institute for Energy Research (IER) writes: “Disappointing but not surprising for the President to give the thumbs down to American workers, consumers, and our Canadian friends,” said Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton.

“Keystone XL is an economic win-win that would create tens of thousands of shovel-ready jobs and strengthen our energy partnership with our North American neighbour, helping insulate us against future turmoil in the Middle East and elsewhere that could cause price hikes.”

Despite being recently passed by both houses of Congress, President Obama has vetoed the Keystone pipeline bill, a project that would create jobs and is favoured by the American public. President Obama reasoned that 77 months is not enough time for him to properly study if a new pipeline crossing the border from Canada is in the “national interest.”

Further, the pipeline has passed many environmental reviews. In January of 2014, for example, the State Department reported that the project had “no major environmental concerns.” The State Department also reported that Canadian oil sands would be produced regardless of whether the Keystone pipeline is built, which means more rail traffic and even greater emissions from transporting it across oceans for export to Europe or Asia, rather than supplying US refineries.

Presidential vetoes

Due to increasing bipartisanship prior to President Obama’s terms in the Presidency, the use of Presidential vetoes had decreased markedly. President George W. Bush used the Presidential veto 12 times. Prior to that, President Bill Clinton used the Presidential veto 37 times and President George Bush used it 44 times. But, earlier, the Presidential veto was used much more frequently. President Franklin D. Roosevelt used the Presidential veto 635 times during his 12 years in office and President Grover Cleveland used it 414 times during his first term. At one time, the Presidential veto had been an accepted step in negotiations between presidents and lawmakers, but it is now more of a last-ditch effort to reach agreement on policy.

Conclusion

Building the Keystone pipeline will provide thousands of construction jobs, ease US reliance on overseas oil, provide additional energy security for the United States, boost the energy sector and strengthen US ties with Canada.

President Obama likes to tell us that Keystone will just serve the Canadian oil industry as a means to export oil. However, IHS just completed a study that indicates about 70% of the refined petroleum products from Keystone’s oil would be consumed within the United States and that refinery capacity on the US Gulf Coast is built specifically to handle the kind of heavy oil that would come from Canada. Further, in 2012, President Obama approved the southern portion of the Keystone pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast, and that portion of Keystone is operating. The part of Keystone under debate is the northern part that ends in Nebraska.

Vetoing this legislation means putting special interests and ideology above American workers, who need the jobs that Keystone XL would bring. President Obama is objecting to Congress interfering with the pipeline-approval process, which has historically been left to the executive branch. But never before has it been an ever evolving process with numerous unfounded reasons for delay. The President’s exclusive right to approve cross-border pipelines seems to be such a fundamental principle to his Administration that the veto is his only way to assert authority on this issue.


Edited from source by Elizabeth Corner

Published on 26/02/2015


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