President Obama, after a seven year “review,” rejected the Keystone XL pipeline over what he claims are environmental concerns. Speaking at the White House and flanked by Vice-President Joe Biden and fellow eco-warrior Sec. of State John Kerry,, he said the nearly 1,200 mile pipeline was bad for the planet and didn’t to America any good.
“Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security,” the president said. “What has increased America’s energy security is our strategy over the past several years to reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world.”
Actually, what’s increased America’s energy security is a dirty word Obama couldn’t say in this press conference — fracking.
At least, that’s what National Geographic says:
Output from oil fracking in the U.S. has tripled in the past three years, from about one million barrels per day in 2010 to more than three million barrels per day at the end of 2013. Total U.S. oil production has risen to more than nine million barrels a day, a level close to 1970’s historic high and nearly as high as the 9.6 million barrels of daily oil production from Saudi Arabia.
While the U.S. still relies on imports for about 40 percent of its petroleum, oil imports have dropped since 2005 because of improved domestic supply from oil fracking, better vehicle fuel efficiency, and depressed fuel demand as a result of the 2008 economic crash.
Unless President Obama’s “strategy” was to cut off oil producers’ ability to drill on federal land, he didn’t have anything to do with the increase in oil production in America.
But it’s tough to point to fracking when it’s the most hated activity of the audience you’re trying to appease — the environmentalist.
“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change,” Obama said. “And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that’s the biggest risk we face—not acting.”
“Today, we’re continuing to lead by example,” he claimed. “Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.”
Yeah, about that last part. See, the thing is, that oil isn’t staying in the ground. Canada has always had the choice of sending it to us, or east to China.
Since we bowed to the environmental lobby, Canada will most likely start digging eastward, towards the refineries in China.
Ever seen one of those? They’re not exactly “carbon neutral.”
And the fuel they produce? It’s far more polluting than in America.
So how exactly does allowing dirty oil to flow to a country that will produce more pollution while refining oil into a fuel that created more pollution than we would helping save the planet?
It isn’t. It’s helping save Obama’s legacy.
Even NBC’s Chuck Todd sees that:
[Obama and Sec. of State Clinton’s] positions shifted dramatically when “the environmental movement on the left” made Keystone a be all, end all, giving an ultimatum of sorts to politicians: “If you’re truly an environmentalist, you’re against this thing [constructing the pipeline]. If you’re not, then you can’t call yourself a real advocate on the climate change issue. You can’t call yourself a real environmentalist.”
Todd believes these environmentalist forces on the left “dragged” Obama and Clinton away from their shared initial view to their current position staunchly against the pipeline.
It comes down to what is seen and not seen. What is seen is President Obama, standing before the world, declaring America a leader in fighting climate change.
What is not seen are the barrels of oil going to a country who doesn’t care two wits about pollution. What is not seen is the smog created for lower quality diesel fuel and gasoline from oil that could have been refined in America in a way that created less pollution.
What is not seen is how much damage this move literally does to the environment.
It’s a stunning example of political theater.
“Look at how much I care, but don’t look over there, lest you see the tragedy of my decision.”
This wasn’t about saving the planet. It was about saving Obama’s legacy as a green president. All that matters is the appearance of doing something, or in this case, not doing something.
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