Mort Zuckerman, the New York billionaire real estate magnate and publisher of U.S. News and World Report was an early cheerleader for Obama. No more. In August he penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal titled: "Obama and the 'Competency Crisis'," The subtitle was: "Like many Americans who supported him, I long for a triple-A president to run a triple-A country."
In light of Obama's decision to delay the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada, Zuckerman writes again. You'll want to read it all. Here are some highlights:
It's not right to compare the Obama administration's performance in the matter of the Keystone XL pipeline to the Keystone Kops. Yes, the bunglers of the Charlie Chaplin silent movies are so busy blowing whistles that they arrest the victim while the bad guy makes off with the swag. But that was very funny, and the confused cops didn't know what they were doing. The administration knows full well what it is doing.Remember this story next time you are filling up your gas tank with prices that will likely top $4 a gallon quite soon and keep on heading higher. Obama's own Administration took three years to determine that there were few environmental risks from the pipeline yet it will be stalled or killed so that Obama can retain the loyalty of environmental zealots during the presidential campaign. Meanwhile, it's not just higher gas prices, but fewer jobs, lower tax revenues and increased dependence on overseas oil. None of that is as important to Obama as pleasing environmental zealots!
The original Keystone pipeline won approval after two years and is operational. But in 2013, the Keystone XL (extension) will be in its fourth year of review, a Great Dither not justified when the State Department conducted three consecutive environmental reviews to reach its conclusion of minimal environmental impact. In that time, there have been many public hearings to satisfy local communities and private property owners. More than a dozen alternative routes have been surveyed, and TransCanada Corp., the builder, agreed to 57 special conditions beyond current federal pipeline regulations.
The president wants a relatively short section of the route from Alberta through Nebraska reconsidered. It means the State Department will have to agree to a new understanding with Nebraska and secure the governor's approval.
It's a calculation which assumes that the voters concerned about the energy future that Obama paraded will be less active than the more extreme environmental lobbyists—who, in fact, will never be satisfied with anything to do with villainous Big Oil. Throwing a sop to the leftist anti-oil campaigners and "four more years" are apparently more important to the president and his campaign advisers than reducing our dependence on those unstable regions he mentioned and maintaining the momentum of the small improvement in the lamentable unemployment totals.
A final go-ahead for the $7 billion shovel-ready project would have supported tens of thousands of jobs now: 20,000 in new, direct well-paid construction and manufacturing jobs, and roughly 100,000 in indirect jobs along the pipeline, according to the developer, TransCanada. But the president's political concerns seem more important than enraging the Canadians, than giving China more edge in economic competition, than the defense and national security interests of truly independent energy.
Keystone XL became a political issue only after the environmental lobby focused on a modest adjustment to the route involving about 100 miles of the pipeline, which would carry some 800,000 barrels of oil south each day. The state of Nebraska was unhappy about even this modest adjustment, given that its own exhaustive studies in three environmental impact statements over three years concluded that there would be "no significant impact" from the pipeline. The environmentalists argued that the state's ecologically sensitive Sand Hills region might be threatened by this minor change, but TransCanada had already said it would be willing to adjust the route in consultation with Nebraska officials. This did not suffice, because the more leftist environmentalists are just dead set against the development of Canada's oil-rich tar sands, which they wish to stifle by cutting off the export route to get the oil to market.
The business community is also up in arms. As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce put it, "The president's decision sends a strong message to the business community and to investors: Keep your money on the sidelines, America is not open for business." The president's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness restated the concern that if the United States is going to have inexpensive and reliable energy, it needs "to optimize all of its natural resources and construct pathways (pipelines, transmission and distribution) to deliver electricity and fuel."
UPDATE: Get this! At a recent White House briefing Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney denies that Obama delayed the Keystone pipeline and blames Republicans!
Jake Tapper: "How can you say that you have an all the above on approach if the President turned down the Keystone pipeline? And you blame the Republicans for making it political."It's amazing that the White House Spokesman can lie so brazenly and have the press corps sit there and not break out laughing every single minute!
Carney: "But the President didn't turn down the Keystone pipeline. There was a process in place, with long precedent, run out of the State Department because of the issue of the pipeline crossing an international boundary, that required an amount of time for proper for review after an alternate route was deemed necessary through Nebraska at the request of the Republican Governor of Nebraska and other stakeholders in Nebraska and the region that needed to play out, to be done appropriately. You can't review and approve a pipeline, the route for which doesn't even exist.
"The RepublicansThey decided to play politics with this decision and attack the payroll tax cut extension. Even though it was made clear by the State Department that doing so would make it impossible for them to conduct the review responsibly, they did it anyway knowing what the result would be.
It's abundantly clear that it was Obama who was playing politics with this issue. It was his Administration that took over three years to complete the necessary reviews before overturning their own findings and stalling the project.
It used to be a joke to say "how do you know a Democrat is lying? His lips are moving." It's more and more true every day!