The Washington Post accuses environmentalists of being short-sighted on the debate over whether to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline and alleges that President Barack Obama lacks courage in taking them on.
The Post’s comments came in an editorial today
about the president’s decision to reject the application of TransCanada Corp. to build the pipeline, which would have “transported heavy, oil-like bitumen from Alberta — and, potentially, from unconventional oil deposits in states such as Montana — to U.S. refineries on the Gulf of Mexico coast.”
Environmentalists opposed the project for ecological reasons stemming from fears of spills and global warming reasons. The president had initially put off the decision until after the November elections but congressional Republicans forced a decision. TransCanada has promised to reapply so the issue is not dead.
“We almost hope this was a political call because, on the substance, there should be no question. Without the pipeline, Canada would still export its bitumen — with long-term trends in the global market, it’s far too valuable to keep in the ground — but it would go to China,” the Post editorial asserted. “And, as a State Department report found, U.S. refineries would still import low-quality crude — just from the Middle East. Stopping the pipeline, then, wouldn’t do anything to reduce global warming, but it would almost certainly require more oil to be transported across oceans in tankers.”
The Post also noted that the pipeline would have created much-needed jobs in a “sluggish economic recovery.”
“Environmentalists should fight for policies that might actually do substantial good instead of tilting against Keystone XL, and President Obama should have the courage to say so,” the Post concluded.
The New York Times
came to the opposite conclusion, stating in its own editorial: “President Obama has property rejected, at least for now, the Keystone XL oil pipeline that would run from Canada to the Gulf Coast. He rebuffed the demand of House Republicans that the controversial project be decided in haste under an election-year deadline.
“The foolish requirement that Mr. Obama issue a decision on the pipeline by Feb. 21 — cynically inserted into the payroll tax bill passed in December — could never be met given the need for a thorough environmental study before any judgment is made.”
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