It takes a special kind of politician to be able to hold a photo-op for a project he’s rejected – twice – and personally lobbied members of Congress to block. The American people are in for just such a spectacle today, as the president continues his tour de farce public relations adventure.
Yes, in Cushing, Oklahoma, President Obama will strain all credibility by declaring his unwavering support for a private-sector project that he’s single-handedly prevented from being completed. His support for part of it, anyway.
The president would love nothing more than to give average American families, paying four dollars a gallon gas, the impression that he’s in favor of the popular Keystone XL pipeline, which would deliver new energy resources from our neighbors to the north. In reality, the situation is the opposite. Not once, not twice, but three times the president has acted to block the project.
Yet, in spite of the president’s rigid resistance, the builder of the pipeline is moving forward with a southern portion of it that doesn’t require Mr. Obama’s signature. So, cue the political opportunism.
Today, the president, looking to have it both ways, is proudly announcing that the federal government will “expedite” the permits required for this leg of the project. To which we can all respond, gee, thanks. The Army Corps of Engineers hands out around 90,000 similar permits each year, usually approving them in a matter of weeks. The approvals needed for this portion are so minor and routine that frankly only a desperate administration would inject the president into the process. And, as it turns out, this major announcement doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. Bloomberg News breaks the story:
“President Barack Obama’s promise to expedite review of the southern leg of TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline won’t speed up the timeline for the project, which already is slated to start construction as soon as June.
“TransCanada’s president of energy and oil pipelines, Alex Pourbaix, said in an interview March 6 that construction on the Cushing phase of Keystone could begin as soon as June. The company doesn’t expect the new review process to change that schedule, Cunha said yesterday.”
It doesn’t take an engineering degree to understand pipelines are significantly more effective when they actually connect to the energy resources they’re built to transport. Despite numerous attempts by Republicans to compel the president to approve the Keystone permit, Americans are still left with a 1,179 mile gap between the oil resources and this southern portion of the pipeline. It’s the Obama energy gap – the gaping space between his rhetoric and his actions. And that gap is only making matters worse for families and small businesses.