President Obama's unilateral rejection of the proposed KeystoneXL oil pipeline that would have brought petroleum and jobs to the U.S. is another in a long list of issues dominated by politics rather than common sense, economics and science.
After seven years of dithering on Keystone, the president said he was following the recommendation of Secretary of State John Kerry that the pipeline was not in the country's national security interest, which he said includes being a global leader in the "climate change" campaign.
Only last year, the State Department issued the long-awaited Final Environmental Impact Statement in which, writes the Washington Post, the study determined that the pipeline "would be unlikely to alter global greenhouse gas emissions." That seemed to meet the president's standard announced in a 2013 speech that he could approve the pipeline if it would not "significantly exacerbate" greenhouse gas emissions. It wouldn't, but he rejected it anyway. When the facts conflict with his political objectives and those of radical environmentalists, the president ignores the facts and goes with the radicals.
The president seems to think Canadian oil is going to remain in the ground. In fact, it will be extracted and transported on fuel trucks and by rail, increasing the possibility of accidents and spillage that would be less likely in a well-constructed and monitored pipeline. And then there's diplomacy.
Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, according to The New York Times, pushed the issue of Keystone "as a top priority" in Canada-U.S. relations, so blocking Keystone during his administration would have "bruised ties with a crucial ally." New Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while supporting the pipeline, has not made it a central issue, thereby maintaining close U.S.-Canada ties.
Another of the president's excuses for rejecting Keystone is that gas prices have fallen to their lowest level in several years. But there is no guarantee they will remain low. Have we forgotten how quickly gas and heating oil prices can spike due to terrorist attacks and other international incidents? Isn't it better to have ready access to cheaper oil from a friendly country than to rely on the uncertainties of Middle East oil from which some of the profits go to fund terrorist groups, build mosques in Europe and the U.S. and create textbooks for Islamic schools that teach hatred of Jews and Christians?
A New York Times editorial supported the president's decision with the ludicrous claim that the pipeline would not "create meaningful, lasting jobs." For some of the more than 93 million Americans not in the labor force any job would be meaningful if it puts food on the family table and pays the rent.
Obama again returned to his bogus "climate change" position, a belief he holds with all the fervency of a cult member. The president ignores a growing body of evidence from climate scientists that the Earth isn't warming and that contrary to some reports the sea ice in Antarctica is expanding, not contracting, according to satellite imagery released by NASA. In fact, there has been no warming of the planet for nearly 19 years, according to the Remote Sensing Systems satellite (RSS).
The pipeline has overwhelming public support, along with the approval of state legislatures along the pipeline's projected path, from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico. It doesn't matter to this president, whose misplaced faith in "climate change" and longing for a legacy trumps facts and job creation.
If a Republican wins the White House in next year's election, perhaps he (or she) will unblock the Keystone pipeline; that is if the Canadians haven't lost faith in us and decided to sell and transport their oil to China, a country that doesn't seem very concerned about curtailing their carbon output. The Wall Street Journal notes China burns coal at a rate 17 percent higher than previously thought, amounting to 70 percent of U.S. coal emissions.
Don't look for China to help President Obama with his legacy at the upcoming the 21st United Nations Climate Conference in Paris because the Chinese are unlikely to significantly reduce carbon emissions as they continue to grow their economy.
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Cal Thomas, America's most-syndicated columnist, is the author of 10 books.