Stimulus: Obama says jobs from the Keystone project aren't permanent and it's just one pipeline that will move foreign oil to foreign markets. But fixing the bridge he once used as a prop didn't create permanent jobs either.
'Let's set our sights above a single pipeline," the leader of the party of infrastructure told Congress in the State of the Union. But this Congress has 80 more Republicans than when he took office, and on Thursday the Senate rejected his admonition by a 62-36 vote.
Eight Democrats crossed the aisle after a series of amendment votes, a process that had vanished under former Majority Leader Harry Reid. While not approved with a veto-proof majority, the Keystone bill, after House approval, will head to Obama's desk, where stopping the pipeline will finally put the onus on him and him alone.
The president wants a bill that fixes the nation's bridges and roads — legislation he touted when he spoke last July with the Interstate 495 bridge over the Christina River near Wilmington, Del., as a backdrop. The bridge had been closed for emergency repairs after the discovery of four tilting support columns. Yet Obama didn't make the argument it was just one bridge or that the jobs fixing it wouldn't be permanent.
Yes, Keystone is just one pipeline. But its 1,700 miles would join the more than 50,000 miles of existing pipelines crisscrossing the U.S., including one already carrying crude from Canada. When those building the pipeline finish it, they'll just move on to other pipelines and projects, like people who finish a bridge or road move on to other bridges and roads.
Keystone XL would bring up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day and directly create 20,000 truly shovel-ready jobs. And it would carry not only Canadian oil, but also oil from the Bakken shale formation of North Dakota.
Even if it carried only Canadian oil to foreign markets, it and the Gulf Coast refineries that would process the oil would be operated not by robots but by American workers. Would President Obama rather live in a world dependent on oil from North America or on oil from the Middle East and OPEC?
Most of the Bakken crude is now carried to market via far more dangerous shipments by BNSF Railway Co., which has more than 1,000 miles of tracks in the region. BNSF was bought by Obama's favorite one-percenter, Warren Buffett, in 2010.
The Keystone XL bill should arrive on the president's desk just as the State Department receives final comments on the proposed Canada-to-Texas project. Agencies are required to send their recommendations to the State Department by Feb. 2, another step in the seemingly endless six-year review of the project. We have fought and won wars in less time.
As the Heritage Foundation notes, an earlier approval by Hillary Clinton's State Department concluded that:
"The pipeline posed minimal environmental risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish and wildlife, and creates few greenhouse-gas emissions. Keystone XL also met 57 specific pipeline safety-standard requirements created by the State Department and the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration."
The State Department has also concluded that not building Keystone will not accomplish anything environmentally, since the crude will still be extracted from Alberta's oil sands and simply shipped by another route, as Canada is already planning to do.
Obama's opposition is about presidential ego and ideology more than about environmental safety or jobs or even infrastructure. We don't know if enough votes can be mustered to override a veto. But we do know there's another election in 2016. Thankfully, this president's job isn't permanent.
What do you think, Hillary?
Read more at Investor's Business Daily