New Keystone XL Delay: ‘A Stunning Act Of Political Cowardice

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by Christopher Helman,

from FORBES,

Whenever businesses and bureaucrats don’t have the guts to stand behind a decision they’ve made, they release the news late on a Friday. In the case of the Obama administration’s move to delay indefinitely a decision to approve or deny the Keystone XL pipeline, it speaks volumes that the announcement was made not just on any Friday, but on the convergence of Good Friday and Passover.

Got to be just coincidence, right? The cover story is that another delay in the five-year Keystone saga couldn’t be avoided because of unresolved legal issues over land seizures in Nebraska. Mmm-hmmm.

In what must be in the running for the week’s biggest load of baloney, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said on “Meet The Press” yesterday that “I want to make sure the right decision is arrived at and that the president makes that decision carefully and doesn’t factor politics into his decision, which I don’t think he is.”

TransCanada TRP -3.65%, the company behind the project, is naturally annoyed. CEO Russ Girling said in a statement: “We are extremely disappointed and frustrated with yet another delay,” Girling said. “We are also disappointed the United States will continue to rely on suspect and aggressive foreign leaders for the eight to nine million barrels of oil that is imported every day. A stable, secure supply of oil from Canada and from the U.S. makes better sense and I am sure a majority of Americans agree.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee said Friday that the delay was “nothing short of a stunning act of political cowardice.”

But what is most interesting is that even Obama’s erstwhile political allies are sick of the delays. The best quote came from Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. “Once again, the administration in making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country,” said O’Sullivan, according to Bloomberg. “It’s clear the administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”

And as the Washington Post’s Jaime Fuller pointed out, even Democrats are calling Obama a coward:

Sen. Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee called the delay “irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable.”

Sen. Mark Pryor (Arkansas) said in a statement “there’s no excuse for another delay.”

While Sen. Mark Begich (Alaska) said, “I am frankly appalled at the continued foot-dragging by this administration on the Keystone project.”

All three of those senators are up for re-election this fall, and have been taking pains to distance themselves from the president on constituent-unfriendly issues like Obamacare and Keystone.

They shouldn’t expect to get much help from billionaire Tom Steyer, who has pledged to spend well more than $10 million supporting Democrats in this year’s races. Steyer, in a statement Friday said the administration’s delay was “rotten eggs for TransCanada and good news on Good Friday for those who oppose Keystone as not being in our nation’s best interest.”

Steyer made much of his money at Farallon Capital by investing in fossil fuel producers, before he saw the light and became an anti-carbon crusader. Billionaire oilman Harold Hamm calls Steyer “the world’s biggest hypocrite.

the bottom line is this: as long as North America still relies on oil shipped from the other side of the globe to keep our cars and trucks running, it makes far more sense to keep those petrodollars sloshing around Calgary, Houston, Ottawa and Washington instead of Moscow and Riyadh.

If President Obama really believes otherwise, he should say so.

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