President Barack Obama told a group of House Republicans Wednesday that two of their big arguments in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline are baloney:
Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., said Obama appeared "conflicted" on the pipeline, saying that many of the promised jobs would be temporary and that much of the oil produced likely would be exported.
But Terry said Obama also indicated that dire environmental consequences predicted by pipeline opponents were exaggerated.
"He said there were no permanent jobs, and that the oil will be put on ships and exported and that the only ones who are going to get wealthy are the Canadians," Terry said [Matthew Daly, "Keystone Pipeline Jobs Numbers Are Probably Exaggerated, Obama Allegedly Told Republicans," AP via Huffington Post, 2013.03.13].
I'll take the enviro hit. If we aren't getting jobs or oil, what reason is left for the President to approve tearing up land and land rights? Do we really want to raise our gas prices as a favor to the Canadians?
Don't forget the empirical evidence: Keystone 1, TransCanada's big tar sands pipeline across eastern South Dakota, produce no massive jobs bump. Keystone 1 also resulted in no decrease in our gasoline prices. The only reason that pipeline didn't increase our gasoline prices was that it ends in Illinois. Keystone XL will send its oil to the Gulf Coast and the global export market, where China, India, and other foreign buyers can bid it up.
But Rep. Terry responds to that part of the President's negative commentary with a bit of sheer fabrication:
On at least one aspect of the pipeline, Obama is "flat-out-wrong," Terry said. While some oil is likely to be exported, the total is far less than a majority, Terry said. "That was disturbing to me," he said [Daly, 2013.03.13].
What's disturbing is Rep. Terry's inability to understand the fundamental economics driving Keystone XL. U.S. oil demand is down. The Keystone XL business case revolves around exporting the tar sands oil to Asia or maybe Europe. The U.S. will still import as much oil from overseas, and what Keystone XL oil we might get will be dirtier than current sources.
The President's own State Department—or at least the TransCanada contractor whom State hired to write the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement—says Keystone XL will create far fewer jobs than TransCanada has contended and will not significantly change the amount of oil headed for the Gulf refineries. TransCanada itself has said the project is meant to raise our gasoline prices. There just doesn't seem to be much reason left for an American President to give up American land rights and money to support this foreign oil project.