Today’s Wall Street Journal featured a very good article entitled, “Why We’re Suing Obama Over Keystone.” The article was written by Kristine Kelkus, an executive vice president and general counsel at TransCanada. I strongly suggest you follow the link above and read the entire article, but I am including a few excerpts from the article that illustrate how damaging an out-of-control President has been to our country and our neighbors.
The article reports:
For 65 years, TransCanada has built oil and gas pipelines in North America. It’s a job the company is good at, and one we much prefer to building lengthy legal filings that could take several years to resolve. Still, when TransCanada in 2008 walked its application for a presidential permit into the U.S. State Department, the company was prepared for an extensive evidentiary process—albeit one that has traditionally been straightforward.
Until the Keystone XL pipeline, no U.S. administration had prohibited the cross-border construction of a major oil pipeline. And within the past decade, U.S. regulators approved two very similar, large cross-border pipelines that transport exactly the same type of oil that the Keystone XL pipeline would have carried from the same region in Alberta, Canada, to the U.S.
TransCanada already operates the initial Keystone pipeline, which was approved in 2008. And in 2009 the State Department under Secretary Hillary Clinton and Mr. Obama permitted Enbridge, a direct competitor to TransCanada, to build another. Each of these permit reviews took about two years.
…But environmental activists made rejection of the project a litmus test of the president’s climate-change credentials. The State Department’s official Record of Decision reasoned that permitting the pipeline to proceed would “undermine U.S. climate leadership” because “the understanding of the international community”—contrary to the administration’s own findings—was that the pipeline would increase greenhouse-gas emissions. Permitting construction would “undercut the credibility and influence of the United States” in negotiating with other countries, including at the coming Paris climate conference.
In other words, the pipeline and its benefits were sacrificed to increase the president’s negotiating leverage with other countries.
My first reaction to this article was to wonder who runs Enbridge, if campaign contributions were involved, and if Berkshire Hathaway owns the railway that was carrying the oil before the Enbridge pipeline was built (see here).
The article further concludes:
The administration’s actions harm business and public interests that extend far beyond a particular pipeline. The decision calls into question the entire process for cross-border facility approvals. It strongly suggests that investing in the U.S. is subject to a level of “sovereign risk” usually associated with far less developed economies.
Unless they are remedied in court or arbitration, the Keystone decision and the political expediency underlying it will also encourage future administrations to conclude that they, too, can disregard the most basic legal requirements.
We need a President who puts the interests of all Americans above the interests of special interest groups and major contributors.