There is a saying that has been repeated by many US Presidents, including Harry Truman, that good government is good politics. This is good advice for any politician at any level.
However, when it comes to the government deciding how to move forward on the Keystone Pipeline, President Obama seems to be putting politics above policy. I am not naïve enough to suggest he is the first politician to do so, but, I believe, he is still wrong to do so.
Here are some of the merits, as I see them, for building the Keystone Pipeline:
First, public opinion is on the side of building the pipeline. According to a Rasmussen Poll done on April 23, 2014, 61 percent of the American public approve of building the Keystone Pipeline. I know, I know, public opinion should not always guide decisions, but it worked well for Bill Clinton.
Second is job creation. While the estimates of job creation for the pipeline vary widely, the fact is any number of jobs (even temporary jobs) can help pump needed money and economic activity into the anemic economy. Mr. President, the Keystone Pipeline is a truly shovel ready project.
Third is safety. Pipelines are the safest and most environmentally friendly way to transport petroleum products. Period.
Fourth, the environmental debate is over. Stop the debate. It is pointless. As USA Today reminded us in an editorial on October 26, 2011, Canada will develop its tar sands with or without the Keystone Pipeline. The environmentalists who believe they can stop the development of the tar sands in Canada by blocking the pipeline are ill-informed.
Since Canada is going to develop its tar sands with or without the pipeline, then why not have the oil sent to America to be refined by Americans, under America’s environmental laws through a pipeline that Americans built.
Without the pipeline Canada will still extract its tar sand oil and it will be sent to China and refined under China’s near non-existent environmental laws. Is that what the environmentalists really want?
Yet, we have a delay in the decision by the President until after the 2014 Congressional elections.
On April 23, 2014 The Washington Post called the President’s decision to delay a decision until after the Congressional elections absurd since the US government has been studying the pipeline for five years, and Canada’s Energy Minister believes President Obama should stop politicizing the decision.
Good government is good politics and it seems to me that approving a pipeline that America wants, that will create American jobs, that will safely transport the Canadian fuel to American refineries and when not building the pipeline will have no bearing on the development of the Canadian tar sands leads me to wonder why the President did not approve the pipeline years ago.
Before joining CNP (formerly WHD Government Affairs), Steve served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Senate Affairs. He was the key liaison between the Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Senate, assuring that the Senate was informed of the DOD’s plans, programs and goals.
The views in this blog post represent the viewpoints of individual team members, not Capstone National Partners as a whole.