Keystone decision and politics of why now?
Hundreds of people protest the Keystone XL Pipeline in a rally outside of the White House last November.
January 18th, 2012
06:47 PM ET

Keystone decision and politics of why now?

Washington (CNN) - Why did the Obama administration announce the Keystone XL pipeline decision Wednesday? Why not.

It was already a foregone conclusion that they were going to deny the permit, according to multiple Democratic sources. They had made clear they couldn't approve it within the 60 day deadline set by Congress. With the State of theUnionlooming next week, this allowed them an opportunity to address the controversy and move on.

Republicans have argued it is politically damaging for the President to be seen as opposing the pipeline and the jobs and oil it could bring into theUnited States. The president's team said they believe he already took the political heat over Keystone when he announced in November that he'd delay the decision to approve it until 2013 and Wednesday's announcement doesn't cause additional political damage, according to the Democratic sources.

To see the entire story, click here.

soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. dreamer96

    China owns the tar-sands in it's China's tar sand...going to China...We are sending Tar Sand right now and have been for years by trains to Texas it's getting there already..created and keeping American jobs going...The number of jobs this pipeline would have created are too high..most only a year or two..This oil from the tar sands would not help America but we would see more pollution for processing this tar and extracting the oil...

    We should grow our own oil from Algae-green oil...just look at Continental Airlines first flight tested Algae jet fuel in 2009, first passenger flight Nov. 11th 2011...Grow our can make anything from green oil you can make from black oil...motor oil, diesel fuel, gasoline, jet fuel, plastics, medical products....

    January 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • texasgreenacres

      Do we have the equipment and capacity,to produce enough algae to make all the gas and oil america needs?Can we keep up the supply to meet the demand? If possible we should be doing just that.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:03 am |
      • Trace

        uh....tex, a couple things I thought you'd know, being's you are from the state of Texas Tea, Oil that is.

        1) The problem isn't and has never been getting enough oil. The problem is we do not have enough capacity for refining the oil. We've built very few of those facilities over the past 30 years and it has not, by any stretch of the imagination kept up with demand (as you elude)

        2) Even if we grow our own oil, we will still sell to the open market and not simply consume it here in the U.S. Every country, including the U.S., the country with the largest demand for oil, buys on the open market. So even we "grow our own oil" it leaves this country ...just the same.

        So overall this bill was DOA as our main goal isn't getting more oil, its jobs. This is only that shiny object that distracts away from the real deal

        January 19, 2012 at 2:43 am |
      • C-Lo

        @ Trace–Great point! Now the next question–Why do we not have the refining capacity in the US? Is it because people don't want it, don't need it, don't care about it?

        No, it's due to gov't regulations that make it near impossible. And the issue isn't just in building/updating oil refineries, but in ANY form of energy resources. Latest victim is natural gas, which 2 years ago was the up and coming solution. But now the extraction process (fracking) has come under so much scrutiny that it is being derailed as well. Bottom line is gov't is moving at the speed of, well, gov't. You can point fingers any way you want, but, as I have said before, allow a strong court system to deal with damages to parties and the companies will innovate to meet the needs in a safe/reliable manner. Remove the gov't regulations, which still benefit the large corps who can buy themselves out of them (i.e. "agree" to regulations but cap damages from lawsuits. They know the bottom lines and if a lawsuit can be capped by regulation–big gov't–and they can profit above and beyond, then why not?)

        See Trace, the fundamental problem is a combination of what OWS and TP are arguing against. The bottom line is that both parties are in bed with wall street and big gov't "intervention" or "protection" are wool over the eyes.

        I don't argue that there are large factions in the GOP that are misguided or steering the party away from what I advocate, but I don't believe the Dem solutions are the right course of action. In other terms, as a Christian, I am not going to leave my Savior to worship Mohammed, but at the same time, I am not going to fall in line with misguided groups like the Westbough Baptists just because they identify themselves the same as I.

        January 19, 2012 at 9:55 am |
      • steveo


        Like you in the recent past, I have been busy and have only briefly reading when I can. I need to say, that I like what you have said here! You often say exactly what I feel, just more refined and with better spelling! 🙂 I too am a Christian, and that allows me a different perspective than some! Thanks for being a clear voice!

        January 19, 2012 at 11:08 am |
      • Facepalm28

        Uh...C-lo, there's a reason "fracking" has come under intense scrutiny and government oversight. Personally, I'd much rather have the government get involved than be able to light my tap water on fire. I see the point you're trying to make, but your example is actually proof of why government regulation is sorely needed, and why the EPA in particular is necessary.

        January 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
      • C-Lo

        @Facepalm–I understand, too, your point of view, and am not disagreeing with the fact that we don't want our tap water to be ignitable.

        1. I don't know where you're from, and didn't want to get in too much detail, but in short, fracking in Wyoming has been happening at shallow levels, don't have the exact #'s but it's like 500-1500 feet deep. In Colorado, its on the magnatude of a mile to 1.5 miles or deeper. Again, don't know have the acurate #'s on hand...the point being is that the effects of the shallow fracking in WY is causing legislative "oversight" in CO on much deeper extraction (far below the water table).

        2. If courts were involved rather than legislation, the effects of the fracking could be much more heavily penalized in a system where damages were not necessarily limited, and, more importantly, individuals could not hide behind the veil of a corporation to limit personal exposure when directing a company that creates actual damages (tainted tapwater for instance) against another party, be it individual, community, or business.

        January 19, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • jean2009

        Ohio, has a moratorium on waste water injection wells from fracking for a 5 mile radius around Youngstown, due to a series of 11 earthquakes over the period of the last year.
        BTW, Governor Kasich wants to increase and extend the states' severance tax for oil and natural gas drillers to also cover propane, and other products related to gas and oil drilling, to pay for damage to the state's infrastructure. Guess who is whining about that?

        Green energy.....please!

        January 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
      • jean2009

        @C-Lo We do have refineries in the Midwest...we just do not have a tax-free zone of international refineries in the Midwest. We only have those on the gulf, where oil and oil byproducts can be sold U.S. tax free to the highest bidder.

        January 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
      • C-Lo

        We have a large refinery here just outside of Denver too. The fact of the matter, as Trace pointed out, is that we still don't have the capacity needed at this point in time. When these refineries were built 35+ years ago, the intent was they would operate about 75% of the time, with the other 25% going toward maintenence. They now run in the upper 90's for capacity and time, only coming off line for "needed' repairs instead of ongoing maintenence.

        Regardless of what you may think, jean, I am not necessarily against "green" energy, but like with abortion, I am a realist. If you want green energy, get gov't OUT of energy and let it stand (along with other sources) on it's own 2 feet.

        Given the CHOICE many people will look for green alternatives–for instance my household recycles about 2-3x as much as we throw out, and are beginning to compost more as well. We shop with cloth/canvas bags, It's not forced, and we could just as easily (if not more so) throw out all of the recycables and use the store's plastic. See jean, I feel like you have a super cynical view of mankind. I believe, again given the choice, many people will move toward good and healthful solutions. I also believe the population is like a teenager–you force something on them and they will rebel, you give them the choice, and most times they will make the correct one. Yes there are bad apples out there, let the courts sort it out. Exxon just paid $1.6 mil to Montana for the spill that contaminated the Yellowstone river–peanuts. If outdoorsmen, sorry outdoors people, and downstream "victims" would have gotten involved in a class action lawsuit for actual and punitive damages, the costs to Exxon would have been much, much larger.

        January 20, 2012 at 10:07 am |
      • jean2009

        @C-Lo Currently Canada is not using all the capacity we have to refine their oil. We purchase 97% of their oil...their only desire is to ship it to the tax-free international zone on the gulf so they can sell it to the highest bidder. This will not cut our energy cost it will make our energy costs increase as much as $3.9 billion per year.

        Ask yourself why are 3 Nebraska refineries suing to get out of the pipeline deal? The reason being they know the oil is going to the tax free zone and to China. Ask yourself why isn't Canada building a pipeline to the Pacific? Because Canadians are fierce about not wanting it to cut a path across their country.
        Read the article by Vance Wade – Are We Risking Our Land & Water For China at: dated Jan. 15, 2012 at Bold Nebraska-Jane Kleeb

        As for recycling, I have recycled for many years...even at age 76, and in icy weather, I still make it to the closest city recycle bins. Very little trash goes out our door if it can be recycled it is recycled. Not always easy as the care-giver for a disabled husband.

        Plus, as a university trained master gardener, with a 25 year affiliation to a gardening organization; I not only compost, but build new beds using lasagna gardening techniques.

        If the pipeline were really about American oil my view might be different, but that is not the case. It is about getting the dirtiest of Canadian oils to the gulf so they can be sold to the highest bidder (China). This at the expense of the American people, and our environment. Basically to provide excessive income to a very wealthy minority of investors....the Koch brothers.

        January 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Laurel Canada

      How do you know that the OIL sands belong to China? Last time I looked, there was American and Canadian companies that were working up there. Have friends who work there and no Chinese firms seen there.

      January 19, 2012 at 9:13 am |
      • jean2009

        Because the shale oil transported by the Keystone XL pipeline would be transported to refineries on the gulf that are located in free trade zones. From there the refined product can be ship to international locations without paying U.S. taxes. That is the only reason Keystone wants to pipe it to the gulf and not to refineries located further inland.

        January 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
      • jean2009

        Research (google) "Keystone XL Will Raise Oil Prices by Moving More Oil Out of the U.S." by Susie Madrak -December 20, 2011.

        The only problem Canada has with the existing pipelines is they all currently end in the U S Midwest with one buyer the U.S. If they can get their product to international free zone refineries located on the gulf, they can sell it for a better price untaxed on the world market.

        January 19, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  2. gerald

    i would say in ten years our export of oil to china will surpass what we ship to the US

    January 18, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  3. Iamnotfooled

    The Republicans are obstructing again. Plain and simple. The Keystone Pipeline is just a diversion from the payroll tax cuts. Has everyone forgotten the massive oil spill in the Gulf already? Do you really want an oil spill in an aquifer where there are no tides or currents to help disperse it should there be a spill. Does 20 Billion for 100 years make sense? Why not build up our infrastructure instead? The American Jobs Act would add 1.9 million jobs and not affect the environment. It would also pump a lot more then 20 billion into our economy over 100 years.

    January 19, 2012 at 3:40 am |
    • John

      So if BO is reelected (big, big if) and he decides we need the pipeline after the election you will still be against it?

      January 19, 2012 at 6:39 am |
      • justanotherguy60

        How about this. The pres had three years to decide and why wait until after the election? He gave the Republicans a statement that he didn't want an arbitrary dead line to meet. So, what was he doing for the last three years that hasn't done in the last 60 days? I am all for the pipeline but only if the oil is going to the US and not overseas. This pres reminds me of another that waffled on so many points. Now the Chinese will be getting the oil at probably a cheaper cost, than what we are getting from the Mideast. The pres is playing politics, plain and simple. Now we lost, all of US.

        January 19, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • tomclements

      Obama denying a permit is republican obstruction. Life's good on those food stamps isn't it lamnotfooled.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:27 am |
      • Len

        You need to know facts my man: Those Americans that are on food stamps: 58% are white Americans and 28% African American and other minoritiies. Just thought you would like to know.

        January 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
      • John

        Ok, so what are you saying?

        January 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
      • tomclements

        What I'm saying is that this president has put more poeple on the food stamp program than any pres in history. The pres, denies the pipeline which costs (everybody agrees its thousands) more jobs, potentially sending more people to the food stamp program. The shame is not being on food stamps. The shame is denying an obvious shovel ready project that your own justice dept. said there were little environmental risks. I'm surprised you have not heard the term food stamp president.

        January 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • tomclements

      The justice department did not have the chicken falling from the sky issues that you present. I wouldn't fly in an airplane if I were you though because you most certainly will end up a statistic.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  4. Joey

    Obama is pandering to the lefties, that's all there is to it. Lefties hate success by anyone other than themselves.

    January 19, 2012 at 5:26 am |
    • KatR

      The same logic applies to the righties.

      January 19, 2012 at 8:19 am |
      • Trace

        KatR, you are somewhat correct. Actually the righties are pandering to their own pockets. The GOP/Tea Pottys, went long in the market for this deal, especially John Boehner. He would make some serious money if this deal got approved. Because the president is saying more time is need, Boehner's and I'm sure many other insider trading GOP/Tea Pottys monies are sitting there costing interest and not making any interest. That's why the GOP is really getting pissed at Obama.

        Its people like Joey that thinks that this has only to do with party politics. That putz doesn't realize its really about the ALMIGHT $$$$

        January 19, 2012 at 9:10 am |
      • justanotherguy60

        Nice try, lefties is mostly pro union and how much $$$$ can be given at our expense. The righties believe in free enterprise, no gov't intrusion.

        January 19, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Trace

      Yeah Jerry...lefties love trees more than they love helping to fill the pockets of The GOP/Tea Pottys. The Righties like John Boehner and others went long in the market for this deal. They stood to make some serious money if this deal got approved. Now that thepresident is delying it, the GOP/Tea Potty inside traders look bad to their masters over at big oil...And my heart is broken for them as well.....NOT. Buy a clue Joey...if you need some money, contact your GOP representative. they'll send you a check as soon as the market closes. DUH!

      January 19, 2012 at 9:17 am |
      • jean2009

        Sorry Trace, that was meant for Joey, andjustanotherlamebrainguy.

        January 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
      • tomclements

        If gas prices go to 4.50-5 bucks this summer (current estimated average), and if you have a job you certainly did not get a raise this year, you are falling further behind. Unfortunately I drive a lot and gas is a huge budget item. Along with developing other green energies, which I believe oil is still retrieved from mother earth, isn't the real complaint the pollutants? Hasn't there been huge improvements with re-formulated gas etc, better engine technologies, use of computers in cars , to address pollution? The smartest, brightest people around the world are trying to develop an alternative to oil. But until there is one which will allow us to use all of our tools to operate in our society lets keep improving the things that get us from here to there. As aside I get a kick out of the green building council giving huge leed points for building products that contain insulation and other products that are petroleum based.

        January 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • jean2009

      Do you really consider shipping Canadian Keystone oil to the international tax free zone refineries on the gulf so they can refine it , ship, and sell it at a better price to China, all the while forgoing paying U. S. taxes; or selling it to us at one of our Midwest refineries any benefit to us? They skip paying U.S. taxes, damage our environment, and all around screw us a good thing.....Really!

      January 19, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
      • tomclements

        lies...lies...liies...The keystone project in no way changes the way crude is bought sold or distributed.

        January 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  5. paul adjemian

    as difficult as this may sound, assuming that the final product is shipped back to the mid-north west, why not move some of the refineries to the north, reduce crude oil piping to the south.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • jean2009

      Because Keystone wants to ship it to the international tax free zone refineries, on the gulf, so they are not a captive hostage to what we are willing to pay at our Midwest refineries. This alone will increase the price American's pay for Canadian oil by $3.9 billion dollars per year.

      "So the pipeline will raise our price for oil, avoid paying U. S. taxes, create only a handful of temporary jobs and further destroy the environment. What's not to like by all the whining righties, on here?

      January 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
      • tomclements

        jean, you have soaked up some lies that are being passed around the internet...Cushing Oklahoma will be the southernmost hub of the proposed 2,148-mile (3,457 km) Keystone Pipeline that will transport up to 590,000 barrels per day (94,000 m3/d) of crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta to a huge tank farm in Patoka, IL. From there there is distribution to a refinery in Wood River, Illinois, as well as to the Cushing Hub.

        Tired of the lies from the left.. Cushing already holds 5-10% of us total crude inventory. Its hub is connected to distributors in the gulf. The keystone project will not change the selling methods/distribtution methods that are already in place. There simply will be a heck of lot more oil. There is no conspiracy to screw the american public. The concern is environmental only, which are all what ifs. What if you get on an airplane you have a 1 in ten million chance of dying. If the gov. construction regulators do their job properly, there will be no safety concerns.

        January 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
      • jean2009

        Tom you are wrong. The Keystone pipeline according the the Vancouver Sun will be built in stages with the sole purpose of getting it to the international-zone refineries at Port Arthur, Texas. Cushing, Oklahoma is only one of the many hubs for the pipeline. If anyone knows what Canada's intent is and where the final destination of the oil is, I think the Vancouver Sun would have a handle on the details.
        You may want to check their articles for Sept. 26, 2011 and the article on Jan. 19, 2012. Both point out Port Arthur is the final destination of the tar-sands oil and that is in the tax-free zone.

        January 23, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  6. TexDoc

    Over a half million miles of pipeline already in this country. The protest about Keystone wasn't about pipelines, enviormentalists, just don't like oil, and oil sands projects in particular. This oil is coming out of the ground, will be bought, shipped, and burned. Might as well be here, we'll take the jobs, no matter how few, and the reliable source of oil from a true friend and neighbor.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • jean2009

      Selling it to China from an international tax-free zone on the gulf....doesn't benefit us.

      January 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  7. HD/ride

    You people make me sick, you know the republicans don't give a rats butt about us but you will side with them at any cost, the pipeline is a big joke. how should you give away your health for 5,000 say so jobs, when THEY had a chance to put millions of people to work, do me a favor drive around and look at your infrastructural surrounding and honestly say we don't need this. WAKE UP YOU DUMB-MASS SHEEP. Then you retards always say we looking out for our kids and the future. if he is playing politics good for US.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • FLIndependent

      Absolutely right. First off, if we already have miles of pipeline why aren't our gas prices low? Secondly, why does this country have to be torn up and have more pollution and possibly dirty water just so this oil can be pumped out only to be sold on the open market. The President didn't say this would never go through but wants to be sure all the studies are completed which is very smart of him. The Repubs are only in this for the money...pure & simple. They are tied to BIG OIL!! If they are so concerned about jobs then why didn't they even allow a vote on the President's jobs plan?

      January 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  8. arale norimaki

    Oil companies are in the business for profit. Drilling for or refining more crude domestically won't do anything on the cost of gasoline.The fishy issue is why did TransCanada purchase, order and stockpile $1.9 billion in pipe on the hope that the pipeline would be built.NO company invest $1.9 billion in inventory without a firm deal in hand.

    January 19, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • C-Lo

      Because the oil needs to be piped somewhere, it's just a question of which way the pipe goes–East/West or North/South.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  9. SafeJourney2

    TransCanada, the company looking to build the pipeline, could reapply for permission after a NEW route had been developed. The OLD route of the pipeline would have been built over farmland and water supplies

    January 19, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  10. NOvember 2012

    obama is in campaign mode...he has to solidify his base, the radical environmentalists... to heck with jobs and the economy. Its his job or yours...typical narcissist!

    January 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  11. NOvember 2012

    This pipeline will be built...after the election. Obama is interested in power as all socialist are...he didn't get where he is without the help of wall street and bilge oil...all you need to do is see where his financial support came from. This is just posing for reelection...playing the left wing wackos for the fools they are, solidifying his base...

    There is no morality or honesty in radical left wing politics... they want to own and control you at any cost.

    January 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • NOvember 2012

      thats BIG OIL...not bilge oil hahaha

      January 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
      • jean2009

        Read my posts above and check out the real reason why Keystone wants to ship Canadian oil to the international tax free refineries on the gulf; so they can sell it on the world market to the highest buyer and not pay U.S taxes. Research before you post.

        Don't believe everything Faux tells you.

        January 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  12. mike proctor

    I have one thing to said!! BP,BP.BP, thank you Mr. President for looking out for our future !!

    January 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  13. jean2009

    Keystone another Koch Brothers plot to destroy America.

    January 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  14. jean2009

    Try this title – Energy Facts- Keystone XL Pipeline: Undermining U. S. Energy Security and Sending Tar Sands Overseas.

    January 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  15. tomclements

    Lets see coal, oil, and natural gas come from the earth. As they are produced into energy, the resulting pollution is really the issue. The brightest minds in the world are attempting to convert, sunlight, wind, geothermal, nuclear into alternatives. It used to be just politically incorrect to suggest clean coal or clean oil technologies, but the market had an interest in developing these techs. But if our own production is going to be systematically dismantled by not allowing pipelines for example, do not be surprised that your energy bills are unaffordable. Or, that we keep sending trillions to countries who don't like us. Presidents do matter.

    January 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  16. tomclements

    Cushing Oklahoma will be the southernmost hub of the proposed 2,148-mile (3,457 km) Keystone Pipeline that will transport up to 590,000 barrels per day (94,000 m3/d) of crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta to a huge tank farm in Patoka, IL. From there there is distribution to a refinery in Wood River, Illinois, as well as to the Cushing Hub.

    Tired of the lies from the left.. Cushing already holds 5-10% of us total crude inventory. Its hub is connected to distributors in the gulf. The keystone project will not change the selling methods/distribtution methods that are already in place. There simply will be a heck of lot more oil. There is no conspiracy to screw the american public. The concern is environmental only, which are all what ifs. Waht if you get on an airplane you have a 1 in ten million chance of getting screwed. If the gov. construction regulators do their job properly, there will be no safety concerns.

    January 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • jean2009

      According to Vancouver Sun Keystone on January 19th Keystone will build the first section of its pipeline from the gulf to Oklahoma first.

      January 23, 2012 at 11:20 am |