“President Obama, of course, would have vetoed the measure had it ever reached his desk. But any such straightforward expression of his own beliefs would have put him on the wrong side of unionized workers the pipeline would have employed or voters worried about the unemployment rate.”
The Wall Street Journal editorial is below.
Review & Outlook
Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2012
The best way to judge a politician’s true intentions is to look at what he does, not what he says. By that measure, Thursday night’s 56-42 Senate vote to kill an amendment to fast-track the $7 billion, shovel-ready Keystone XL pipeline contains a wealth of information about President Obama and the Senate Democrats’ priorities.
TransCanada filed an application to build the 1,661-mile underground pipeline in September 2008 and passed two lengthy State Department reviews. But the White House bowed to the green lobby and the Environmental Protection Agency and sent the parties back to the drawing board in January. The amendment Thursday would have eliminated the need for a federal permit and addressed environmentalists’ concerns by letting Nebraskans determine the pipeline’s route.
On Thursday Senate Republicans voted unanimously for Keystone, which would bring 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Alberta, Canada, to interconnections in Oklahoma and refineries on the Gulf Coast, easing supply constraints and creating thousands of much-needed jobs. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sees the world through a different lens: He didn’t want to let Republicans “appease the Tea Party or big oil companies.”
President Obama, of course, would have vetoed the measure had it ever reached his desk. But any such straightforward expression of his own beliefs would have put him on the wrong side of unionized workers the pipeline would have employed or voters worried about the unemployment rate.
Hence the White House phone calls to the Senate this week to on the one hand urge Harry Reid to block the bill, while on the other hand releasing politically vulnerable Democrats to cast a useless vote for the bill.
And so the result was that the Keystone pipeline died yet again, even as Missouri’s Claire McCaskill with her vote is able to claim she’s one Democrat who is for the pipeline. The others are listed nearby. Harder for mere mortals to explain are the no votes of Virginia’s Mark Warner, who said Thursday that he supports Keystone, and Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, whose own Governor backs the pipeline.
Republicans have vowed to introduce the Keystone amendment again and there’s no reason not to do so. With the President and Senate Democrats dancing merrily on every side of the energy debate, it’s always a good time to identify the Keystone Democrats.