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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Keystone XL Pipeline Veto ... Another Example of Why American Politics Sucks ... Obama Says to Hell with Safety ... Just Move the Oil By Rail

Politics Sucks. That much we all know, or at least should know by now. And just how much it sucks was evident by our master politician President Obama and his veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline legislation.

Obama's Oil-by Rail Boom is subtitled 'Activists get their jollies blocking pipeline construction, but the crude still flows through your neighborhood:'       

"It’s better to be lucky than good. President Obama, who arrived promising to heal the planet and halt the rising seas, instead presided over a fossil-fuel renaissance in America. If you were unemployed and found a decent job in Obama’s economy, there’s a good chance it was a fracking job. If things are finally looking up for the middle class, cheap gas is a major contributor.

He was lucky again on July 6, 2013. Thanks to various competing news stories (a plane crash in San Francisco, the Trayvon Martin shooting trial), Americans did not dwell on a fiery oil-train accident in Canada that killed 47. For if there’s one boom Mr. Obama can claim authorship of, it’s the oil-by-rail boom.

A business that barely existed when he took office now moves an impressive million barrels a day. The oil pouring forth from America’s resurgent fields, after all, has to reach market somehow....

The publication Energy Monitor Worldwide elaborated in September: “Environmentalists and governments are making it more and more difficult to get approval to build pipelines, so producers are increasingly using rail to get their oil to refineries for processing into products that the American public needs. . . . If all the railcars carrying crude oil on a single day were hitched together to a single locomotive, that train would be about 17 miles long.”

Yes, oil can move by ship, but America’s 94-year-old Jones Act, a law cherished by Democrats and labor unions, makes it prohibitively expensive. If the goal is to move U.S.-produced oil to U.S. markets without some gimmicky side-trip through the European refining industry, that leaves rail.

All the more newsy, then, is Mr. Obama’s unsurprising veto of bipartisan legislation that would have authorized the Keystone XL pipeline. Opposing Keystone, it goes without saying, will not make the slightest difference to things opponents claim to care about. It will not alter by an infinitesimal fraction of a degree mankind’s reliance on fossil fuels or the continued development of hydrocarbon resources.

It will, however, give fresh impetus to America’s oil-by-rail boom. . . .

The International Energy Agency forecasts that North America will invest $2.5 trillion in oil infrastructure over the next 20 years, of which Keystone would have represented just 0.3%. More of those dollars now will be spent to build oil-by-rail infrastructure, less to build pipeline infrastructure, although most experts consider pipeline a safer way to transport oil.

Not to worry, however. In all likelihood, a tragedy like the accident that wiped out the Canadian town of Lac-M├ęgantic 20 months ago won’t recur. Railroads have steadily gained experience to handle their explosive windfall without major disaster. But, as we are reminded every few weeks, trains will still derail, oil will spill, and messes will have to be cleaned up.

Which raises a question: What are Mr. Obama’s true policy convictions, if any? . . .

We . . . would have expected him finally to wave through the Keystone pipeline, if only out of irritation with green allies for tormenting him over a phony symbolic issue.

Wrong . . . . Polls show the public supports the pipeline; labor wants the jobs. But for Mr. Obama, the balancing factor is clearly the criticism he would receive from the Sierra Club . . . .

What seems absent from his calculations are any practical considerations outside the political bubble, such as the millions of barrels of flammable liquid that will be rumbling through America’s residential neighborhoods aboard mile-long oil trains."

Summing Up

President Obama is a devoted politician, first, last and always.

And politics sucks. It really does.

As does his veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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