Skip to content

Political Pipeline

© Adam Zyglis

In December, Congress tucked a provision into the bill extending payroll tax reductions that required Obama to make a decision within two months on the Keystone XL project — an oil pipeline from Canada all the way across the US to the Gulf of Mexico. But they weren’t actually expecting the Obama administration to make a decision that fast. After all, the State department has not even finished their review of the project. What they really wanted was a talking point for the upcoming election. And they got it.

The real problem is not the pipeline, but the politicization of decisions like this. Where is the calm and reasoned discussion of the merits and disadvantages of this pipeline? Or a comparison with alternatives? The fact that the pipeline has become a political football means we may never have that discussion.



  1. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    After reading several things, I came to the conclusion that the administration’s decision was more or less irrelevant because Nebraska essentially leveraged their state’s rights (that thing the Republicans love) to make them the final authority on the pipeline as it ran through their state. Specifically, the location…they didn’t like the locations it ran through.

    Now, the governor of Nebraska has spoken out and said that’s not true. He said that they could have had ‘conditional approval’ of the pipeline and essentially started building both ends of the pipeline while Nebraska sorted out where it would run through the state.

    I personally think that is insane. I can’t imagine any company that would start a 7 billion dollar project that had an obvious enormous question mark right in the middle of it.

    I would also LOVE to see how many people in congress invested in oil, or even directly into TransCanada, in the last 6 months. I still can’t believe we allow this practice, which essentially amounts to insider trading and is likely the largest reason why congress is absurdly wealthy.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink
  2. Great White North wrote:

    In Canada the debate has been about how environmental groups have been well funded by American organizations to protest the Keystone pipeline. Huge outrage in conservative circles that our environmental groups have been ‘radicalized’ by the Americans, and are being funded by foreign sources.

    Ironically, most of the investment ($billions) in the oilsands are foreign…

    Personally I’d prefer to see our oil processed in Canada and then shipped outside of the country once our needs are met. But like always, our shortsighted governent is looking for the easiest, quickest dollar and avoids looking for long term development strategies. Like most of our other plentiful resources, we ship out raw materials and then buy it back as finished products from someone else. You can be sure that if these oilsands were being developed in China they would take it one step further and would not only be refining, but manufacturing other petroleum products. For a ‘first world country’ our business sector (and government) still has a lot to learn.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink
  3. Don wrote:

    GWN: I’ve wondered for some time – but been too lazy to research it thoroughly – why Canada doesn’t do what to me is the intelligent thing and process the tar sands oil in Canada. I’m guessing the largest profits are to be made from the refined products, not the crude input to the refineries.

    That being said, I’m even more concerned that Canada is looking at this as a resource (properly pronounced “rezorse”) to balance their trade deficit. Are our neighbors to the north so flush with energy reserves that they are set up to export with no consideration of their future energy needs? If Canada is so flush with energy, why isn’t it actively moving ahead with replacements for it’s fossil fuel sources while it can support its own internal petroleum/coal needs? At some point, it will no longer have adequate internal resources.

    A second question is why dig up extremely large areas of wild Canada to feed the petro/coal habit of Canada or any other nation? The climate is really shifting to the warmer side, folks. Oh, wait, I forgot – many of the current climate models show Canada becoming much more successful agriculturally as central North America slowly warms. Aha – caught you. Trying to corner the wheat and corn belt, eh? Tricky folks, those Canadians. Speed up climate change and Canada increases its global strength through agricultural exports. Very savvy.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink
  4. Great White North wrote:

    LOL! Yes it’s all one great conspiracy theory of the Canadians on our deep and long range plan to rule the world!

    Conveniently, oil in the middle east is already surrounded by desert. I don’t imagine it was always desert. It was probably once lush forests or pasture land. The oilsands just happens to be in relatively remote pristine wilderness, and worse case scenario it will be replanted to native species when the oil is extracted. No hope that the deserts in the middle east will ever become green again.

    No ideas why the powers that be don’t plan our resources more strategically. We’re just another banana republic…

    Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink