'Tom Steyer Veto' Delays Keystone Pipeline Decision

Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 11:03 AM

By Rich Lowry

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
In their wisdom, our Founding Fathers created a system of checks and balances and competing influences among the president and Congress, the states and the federal government, and billionaire liberal donor Tom Steyer.
 
Tom Steyer isn't Senate majority leader, or chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, or even Senate president pro tem. He's merely the man who wants to spend $100 million on Democrats this year and who hates the Keystone pipeline.
 
President Barack Obama famously boasted that he has a pen and a phone that give him the power to make Washington act. Except, evidently, if Tom Steyer doesn't want him to.
 
Last week, the Obama administration yet again delayed its long-delayed determination whether to approve the Keystone pipeline, a nondecision strategically announced not just on a Friday, but a Friday that is one of the holiest days of the year. The administration had enough self-awareness to know its latest exercise of executive inaction was nothing to be proud of.
 
Even in the mainstream media, almost everyone assumed the move was entirely political. The project has undergone multiple reviews beginning in 2009 and always gotten a clean bill of health.
 
The administration cited a lawsuit in Nebraska that might affect the path of the pipeline as reason for the new delay. This is an absurd fig leaf. A fight over the pipeline in one state doesn't affect whether the State Department — which is involved because the project crosses an international boundary — can determine whether the pipeline is in the national interest or not.
 
One theory is that the White House thinks the delay is good politics because it allows endangered Red State Democrats who favor the pipeline to distance themselves from the president by attacking his foot-dragging. If so, this is highly counterintuitive political strategy: We'll do you a big favor by making another in a series of indefensible nondecisions that are unpopular in your state.
 
The simpler explanation is that Tom Steyer, as well as the liberal donors and climate activists allied with him, is getting his way. They were always an influential constituency in the Democratic Party, but became even more so a few months ago when Steyer pledged $50 million of his own money to Democrats in the midterms, to be matched by another $50 million from other donors. In a punishing year for Democrats, this was rare good news. Why mess it up by deciding Keystone on the merits?
 
For all the complaints about money in politics, it is unusual that a high-profile decision seems to have such a direct connection to one big-time donor. This isn't sneaking a small but consequential provision into a 1,000-page bill in the dead of night. It is blocking a project in broad daylight that is important to a close ally (Canada), that will instantly create thousands of construction jobs, that will send a signal to Vladimir Putin that we are serious about developing energy resources and that will have no net effect on global warming (as the latest State Department review established).
 
Steyer deserves perverse credit for his success defying what would otherwise be uncontroversial public policy. Rarely does a meritless cause get so much traction. But union workers can be forgiven for not appreciating Steyer's virtuosity. The president of the Laborers' International Union of North America went further than any Republican in denouncing the latest delay. He called it a "gutless move," "politics at its worst" and "another low blow to the working men and women of our country."
 
Needless to say, Steyer hasn't received a fraction of the press coverage of the Koch brothers, whose funding of conservative groups has made them an obsession for The New York Times and other outlets. Steyer isn't nearly as interesting — he's just the guy with effective veto power over a major infrastructure project clearly in the national interest.
 
Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review and author of the best-seller “Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream — and How We Can Do It Again.” He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and a variety of other publications. Read more reports from Rich Lowry — Click Here Now.
 
 

© King Features Syndicate

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Obama Wages Halfhearted War

Friday, 12 Sep 2014 10:26 AM

Only President Barack Obama would feel compelled to mention the success of the American auto industry in a speech rallyi . . .

Immigration Is Politics for Obama

Tuesday, 09 Sep 2014 09:21 AM

The White House let it be known over the weekend that it is putting off executive action on immigration at least until a . . .

England's Brutal Rape Cases Brought to Light

Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 08:48 AM

It should be taken as a given that a rapist is a rapist, no matter what his religion or ethnicity. . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved