Keystone decision and the politics of timing
January 18th, 2012
06:30 PM ET
8 years ago

Keystone decision and the politics of timing

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 the Union looming next week, this allowed them an opportunity to address the controversy and move on.

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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 the United 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.

Read about Wednesday's Keystone XL announcement HERE.

Additionally, these Democrats said they considered the following before making the decision public: gas prices won't rise as a result of this decision; for months young people on college campuses have held rallies objecting to the pipeline, which is an important constituency for the president in an election year; and some communities along the pipeline's route have also rallied against it in red states as well as blue.

As for jobs, Democrats both inside and outside the administration said the number of jobs that would be created by the pipeline is a moving target. TransCanada, the company building the pipeline, argues it would create 20,000 jobs.

The State Department puts the number at 5,000-6,000. And a study by Cornell University says it's closer to 2,500 to just over 4,500 jobs.

Then there's this: Daniel Weiss, an expert with the progressive Center for American Progress crunched the numbers from the Bureau of Labor statistics and points out, under President Obama 40,000 jobs have been created in oil and gas extraction and 66,000 in the oil and gas industry overall.

The American Petroleum Institute, a major trade organization representing the oil and gas industry, doesn't dispute those numbers, but they point out that if the pipeline were built – the US would have many more energy jobs.

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Filed under: Democrats • President Obama • Republicans • White House
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. diridi

    good for this nation. Stop addicting for Oil, and do some Green Energy projects. Canada ruse, GOP nasty drama. Jobs not produced this way...

    January 18, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Simon

    This Administration is destructing the USA. Citizens say that Prez Obama is stupid I say he is cunning like a FOX, not stupid. He wants to change this country, bet you he is have done it already. Today this was the blow for all American Jobs. Obama is putting the cart before the horse. As an Environmental professional, I can assure you that all necessary contingency plans have been submitted and we have the technology to disrupt the environment to the minimum.

    January 18, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    In the Obama Administration politics trumps economics. No wonder unemployment is still over 8% and debt is climbing past $16 trillion.

    January 18, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  4. 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 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. Hammerer

    All about politics. obama had to stroke the left for their votes, forget about economy, jobs, cost to the working stiff that is having trouble making ends meet.
    VOTES ABOVE ALL ELSE. That has been obama's guidelines from day one.

    January 18, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  6. T'sah From Virginia

    The Republicans tried to pull a fast one on the President and the President flexed his muscles and slapped them back in the face. Congress is always trying to "add" ridiculous attachments to bills in an attempt to BLUFF our President and I guess he's just tired of it – and so are the American people!!!

    GoBama 2012!

    January 18, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |