WSJ: Obama’s Keystone Jujitsu

He now supports and opposes the pipeline.

The Wall Street Journal editorial is below.

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Obama’s Keystone Jujitsu
Review & Outlook
February 28, 2012, Wall Street Journal

President Obama claims that voters aren’t stupid about gas prices, but then they’d have to be to understand his energy policy. Try to parse the latest turn—make that backward triple somersault with two twists—in the Keystone XL pipeline saga.

Yesterday TransCanada announced that it plans to break up the $7.6 billion project into several stand-alone parts, beginning immediately with a leg connecting Cushing, Oklahoma with the Gulf Coast. The original plan was to connect U.S. refiners with Alberta’s oil sands crude and other Canadian and U.S. energy resources, but to mollify the environmental lobby Mr. Obama’s State Department refused to issue the cross-border permits last month.

Now, apparently, it’s time to mollify the Administration’s union supporters that favored the thousands of jobs that the shovel-ready Keystone would have thrown off—not to mention the many not-so-stupid voters who’ve noticed Mr. Obama’s antijobs politics. The White House immediately put out a statement claiming that “The President welcomes today’s news” and even that “we support the company’s interest in proceeding with this project.”

In other words, Mr. Obama is simultaneously opposing and supporting the Keystone XL. The only problem is that he hasn’t had a change of heart on the important part. The new side-project will help alleviate some of the bottlenecks around Cushing, but it doesn’t do anything to get oil from Canada to the U.S., which is the main point of the pipeline.

The White House has also been encouraging TransCanada to reapply before the November election for a new permit from State that it may never receive if Mr. Obama wins the election, in another bid to have it both ways. Perhaps TransCanada should call Mr. Obama’s bluff. Split the Keystone into two sections, each running a mile or so up to the 49th parallel, and then let State decide on the short interconnection. It isn’t any crazier than the status quo.