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The “unexpected” oil sands decision (of 2013)

The “unexpected” oil sands decision (of 2013)

I’ve been receiving e-mails from readers in the past weeks insisting that Obama would kill the pipeline planned to bring “oil sands” oil from Canada to the U.S.  Given the Obama administration’s policies to date, such expectation was reasonable.

The environmental movement made the oil sands pipeline a line in the, er, sand.

But apparent shock of shocks, it appears (note “appears”) that the Obama administration will back the pipeline (h/t JazzShaw):

The State Department gave a crucial green light on Friday to a proposed 1,711-mile pipeline that would carry heavy oil from oil sands in Canada across the Great Plains to terminals in Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.

The project, which would be the longest oil pipeline outside of Russia and China, has become a potent symbol in a growing fight that pits energy security against environmental risk, a struggle highlighted by last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

By concluding that the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline would have minimal effect on the environment, President Obama would risk alienating environmental activists, who gave him important support in the 2008 election and were already upset by his recent decisions to expand domestic oil drilling and delay clean air rules. Pipeline opponents have protested in front of the White House for a week, resulting in nearly 400 arrests.

But don’t get your hopes too high.  This all could be an election cycle head fake, because State Department approval hardly ends the matter:

The project still must clear several hurdles, including endorsement by other federal agencies, additional studies, public hearings and consultation with the states through which the pipeline will pass. But all signs point to the Obama administration approving the project by the end of the year, perhaps with modifications.

My prediction?   Final project approvals will get delayed until after the 2012 election, with Obama keeping the environmental movement in line with a nod and a wink and some private messaging from surrogates:

Despite claims that a final decision is yet to be made, today’s environmental impact assessment virtually guarantees the State Department will approve the project by the end of the year. But environmental activists are not discouraged—and are placing their bets on President Barack Obama.

Bill McKibben, who has been leading the civil disobedience outside the White House, said “we knew from past experience that State might do something like this, which is why we’ve always said it’s going to be Obama’s call. They can’t get the climate science right, but maybe they can get the politics right.”

Sometime after the 2012 election, assuming Obama wins, the project will be killed.  Unexpectedly.


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The real Obama will show up after the 2012 elections: If he wins we will have 4+ years of unrestrained executive efforts to destroy our economy, and this pipeline will not be built. If he loses he will do whatever additional damage he can in the 3 months before the new president is inaugurated.

Also, keep in mind that the main beneficiary to the pipeline will be CANADA.

The current anti-american in office has a reputation for aiding other countries’ economies whilst restricting ours.

Go figure.

I agree with the professor, this is a feint.

Meanwhile our OWN pipeline is pumping less and less making it likely that it will have to be shutdown if the flow becomes low enough.

Once the pipeline is shut off, it will be just about impossible to start back up and we’ll be in even worse shape.

Now THAT sounds like the sort of thing this administration has a reputation for doing.

It looks to me that he’s doing what incompetents who find themselves in charge often do (and what Obama usually does), which is to pretend to have a clue, and to punt off decisions onto someone else. (“You do it/fix it/handle it”). In this case, it’s Hillary Clinton. This leaves the B.S. artist with his options open later to either take credit for a success, or to lay the blame on someone else for any disaster, all the while appearing to be leading to those who simply assume he’s making the decisions and consequently aren’t paying close attention. We’ve seen this non-action posturing as action constantly with Obama (e.g. the budget; e.g. the decision to go into Libya; e.g. the bin Laden thing; e.g. originally appointing a cabinet that in large part was Bill Clinton’s…).

“President Obama’s administration… The State Department said…”

…Despite all this, the administration says this is a question for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

I have to go with the “head fake” scenario. Everything about this administration is fake. Talking about “jobs’ all the while doing everything possible to depress job creation.

NLRB attack on Boeing, Fish & Wildlife raid on Gibson Guitars (purportedly to enforce East Indian law that India says was not violated, never asked for relief, etc.), EPA extra-legal edicts to coal fired electricity producers … it never ends.

I’m an old dude now, and I’m appalled by what is extant now and what I see coming. This is not the America I was born in to, nor the one I wore the uniform for … “democracy” is now a 4 letter word if you don’t agree with the progressive fascists. Another 4 years of this can doom us.

Going to add: it’s important, when it comes to Obama’s apparent positions to not read too much into them. The usual motive for the B.S.’er-without-a-clue is bluffing, buying time, and appearing to be working and in charge, taking action and making decisions while not actually doing anything, and maneuvering to try to see which way the wind blows. There’s less of any grand design going on than that he’s just an incompetent. I used to see identical M.O. regularly among certain management as G… er, janitor, of a large corporation. Even in the Senate, as to his voting “present”. And they get swayed this-a-way and that-a-way, and try to please everyone if they can (how an incompetent manages to snow those who should know better and rise into his position in the first place.) Sometimes they will default to the advice of an adviser; other times, when there are multiple points of view, it’s whoever seems stronger and more certain, or whoever is more convincing that it is the safer way to go for the incompetent. Why we’re seeing him being perceived as both letting down the progressives (on one hand), as well as near commie from some sectors on the other). If you go back and look at Obama’s political career, the pattern fits virtually everything coming out of it. There is no ideology and no agenda except “how will it do for Obama”.

My prediction: approval for the pipeline coupled with some high-visibility prosecutions of corporate executives for trumped-up environmental crimes. Like, say, using tropical hardwoods without sufficient donations to Democrats.

Eventually — either right before leaving office, or right before (*shudder*) the second inauguration, there will be pardons of environmental “activists”, either those in prison or those accused, as a signal to the Greens that they’re allowed to physically attack the pipeline at will.

Right you are, Prof. This is an “election cycle head fake” all the way. In reality Obama puts the kibosh on U.S. oil production and limits coal production (deliberately causing all kinds of suffering through destroyed businesses and jobs and raised costs of just about everything) while offering Americans the “hope” of something different down the line.

Even more cynical, how about a double head-fake?

NOW it moves forward–and opponents of Obama cannot claim that he ‘stopped a lifeline of petroleum.’

THEN–if he wins through his newfound “moderation,” he shuts it off again in 2013.

Obama blame someone or something else? So what’s new about that?

Yeah, it’s a feint to the right before we all get Left Behind election time next year.

Its not just our government they also have to contend with the eco nuts so it could be obama is counting on them to slow or stop the project. Ya’ll ever hear the liberals say how it takes 10 years to drill a hole and start pumping oil ….. the next time a liberal tells you that ask them how long it took them to move equipment to the gulf site and drill several thousand feet to stop the leak … wasn’t 10 years ….less than 3 months …..what takes 10 years is jumping threw all the hoops the eco nuts have thrown in their path

So what would be the easiest route for Obama to pursue? Answer: Say yes to the pipeline, thereby showing how Pro-Business he is, while making sure it never happens by enforcing *every* possible regulation and law that can stop it, including ones that have no bearing at all on the pipeline. By also simply allowing the Green Weenies to sue to stop the pipeline and preventing construction while the suits are being pursued, they could hold it up for ten to twenty years. (See Nuclear Power Plants, Non-Construction thereof)

My bet is the pipeline company will tolerate about a year of this crap before throwing in the towel, and shipping all that oil to Europe and getting paid in euros.

“Sometime after the 2012 election, assuming Obama wins, the project will be killed. ”

Don’t be such a gloomy Gus. If he gets re-elected, we’ll get what we deserve. But w/ 9%+ unemployment, he’s not going to get re-elected.

So long as he doesn’t kill it, and doesn’t convince the Canadians to build a pipeline to carry it to Pacific ports to send to the Chinese, we’re good. Because in 2013 Perry will approve the pipeline full bore.