There’s nothing surprising about presumptive U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden saying if he defeats Republican President Donald Trump in November, he’ll kill the Keystone XL pipeline.
This latest fight over the $8-billion, 1,930-km pipeline intended to move bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, is all about American presidential politics in which Canada is a bystander.
Trump revived the Keystone XL pipeline project in 2017.
Intended to carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily, it was killed by Democratic president Barack Obama in 2015, after he dithered about it for seven years.
At that time, Biden, as Obama’s vice-president, obviously backed his boss in opposing Keystone.
Never mind that Obama’s state department twice told him after major reviews of the project that it would not significantly increase industrial greenhouse gas emissions, and that any alternative method of moving crude oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast would increase emissions compared to the Keystone XL.
Eventually, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency gave him an embarrassing 2 1/2-page opinion that read like a high school essay but said what Obama wanted to hear.
That is that, based on some incredibly flimsy logic, Keystone might someday increase emissions compared to other methods of transporting the oil to the U.S.
Obama then killed Keystone XL, which he had the sole authority to do because it crossed the Canada-U.S. border.
This was to pander to American anti-pipeline protesters and to Obama’s political base of know-nothing, jet-setting Hollywood celebrities, who were wailing (as they still do) about climate change, while leaving huge carbon footprints in their wake, because of their high-consumption lifestyles.
While killing Keystone, Obama simultaneously boasted out of the other side of his mouth, saying — as he did to U.S. pipeline workers in Oklahoma in 2012 — that under his presidency, “we’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline (in the U.S.) to encircle the earth and then some.”
Obama was never a friend of Canada on this issue.
Billionaire investor and Obama supporter Warren Buffett said he should have approved Keystone.
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler gave Obama “four Pinocchios” for telling “whoppers” (lies) about Keystone.
Obama vetoed it to burnish his phony environmental credentials heading into the 2015 Paris climate accord summit, since there was no political cost to him, given that Alberta oil workers have no say in U.S. politics.
Now Biden is using the same strategy to distinguish himself from Trump and highlight his promise to have the U.S. rejoin the Paris climate accord if he wins the election, which Trump scrapped.
As it was for Obama, bashing Keystone is an easy way for Biden to burnish his “green” credentials at no political cost to his Democratic base, who couldn’t care less about oil workers in Canada or Alberta’s $1.5-billion investment in the project.
For good measure, unsuccessful U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did the same thing leading up to the 2016 presidential election she lost to Trump, coming out against Keystone after saying in 2010 — when she was Obama’s secretary of state — that she was inclined to support it in the interests of energy security.
Keystone is still tied up in the American court system as it has been for years, a convenient punching bag for hypocritical U.S. Democrats, election after election.
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