Thursday, March 8, 2012

Keystone Pipeline Defeated in the Senate, Win for Obama

Clearly many of our politicians either think the American public is stupid or they themselves are plain ignorant.

Today, the Senate narrowly blocked an amendment to speed along approval and construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.  The amendment was defeated with a 56 to 42 vote.  Sixty votes in favor were required for passage.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested the amendment was four votes shy of the 60-vote threshold because of President Obama’s efforts to dissuade senators from voting for it.

“President Obama's personal pleas to wavering senators may have tipped the balance against this legislation," McConnell said. "When it comes to delays over Keystone, anyone looking for a culprit should now look no further than the Oval Office."

Senate Republicans, along with a handful of Democrats, 11 to be exact, are hell-bent on getting this oil pipeline originating in Canada, extended into Texas.  Short term, the pipeline will provide jobs to American workers while it is being built, but after it is built many of those jobs will disappear.

In addition, as shown by Mitch McConnell's comments, Republicans think that this pipeline will help reduce our gasoline prices.  I've got news for you, it will not!  The United States is already producing more domestic oil under President Obama than was produced under his predecessor in the later years of his two terms and yet gas prices continue to rise.

U.S. Field Production of Crude Oil (Thousand Barrels)

As things stand now, for the first time since 1949, the United States exported more gasoline, heating oil and diesel fuel last year than it imported, the Energy Department reported.  This means that if oil companies wanted to bring the cost of gasoline down, it would very easy to do being that their is neither a shortage of crude oil nor a shortage of gasoline.

What the Keystone XL pipeline will do, is provide an additional revenue stream for big oil, namely BP a British company and Royal Dutch.  Obviously neither of these companies is American.  This oil, like much of the oil that is produced domestically will be processed into gasoline, diesel fuel, and heating oil and shipped overseas to Europe, China, and any number of other countries.  The American public will not see a drop of this oil!

“According to reports the President of the United States is personally lobbying senators to oppose a Keystone XL pipeline amendment in the United State Senate today,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a briefing with reporters. He added, “By personally lobbying against the Keystone pipeline, it means the president of the United States is lobbying for sending North American energy to China and lobbying against American jobs."

How does his comment make any sense?  What House Speaker John Boehner is doing, is what the Republican party always seems to do, and that is to try to  instill fear and misinformation into the conversation.  Unfortunately it has no basis in fact and must be completely discounted.

Senate Republicans will continue to blame President Obama for high gas prices and for his failure to push through the approval and construction of this pipeline. What the U.S. would get from this pipeline is the potential for an environmental disaster, not cheaper oil and certainly not cheaper gasoline which we would have today if big oil chose to take care the people at home first instead of their pocketbooks.  

Those that are staunch proponents of unfettered free markets should love the current trend in gas prices.  Let's place the blame where it belongs...on the oil companies, not President Obama.