Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quote of the Day: Rick Perry

Gotta love this "Perryism of the Day" as noted by Andrew Sullivan:

“Every barrel of oil that comes out of those sands in Canada is a barrel of oil that we don’t have to buy from a foreign source,” governor Rick Perry

7 comments:

Eric said...

It was quite a goof, and par for the course for Perry, but it pales in comparison to a President who holds up an important new supply pipeline from Canada for purely political reasons at the same time Iran is threatening to shut down access to 20% of the world's oil. I think most people understood what Perry meant. I think very few understand what Obama is doing.

Huck said...

I think it's quite reasonable to evaluate environmental and safety impacts before sanctioning any kind of major activity like a pipeline that will run all the way from Canada to Texas. It's not like we've ever had to deal with major environmental disasters from the oil industry over the past 30 years, have we? A little prudence and oversight before rushing into this project is not unreasonable.

What people don't understand about Obama is not because there's nothing to understand, but because people just don't care to look into it more fully beyond the propaganda.

What's actually "conservative" is precisely not to rush into Keystone, especially in the wake of the BP oil spill. Imagine a pipeline failure over the breadbasket of the United States and over the country's major river system -- a system which is the source of my city's drinking water, by the way. Anyone who is not partial to careful consideration and study of what this pipeline will mean to our environment is the irresponsible one. Again, it's not like Obama's opposed to the thing, he wisely doesn't want to be rushed into a premature decision regarding it. And that's actually the "conservative" attitude to have. Frankly, it's the so-called conservatives who are demagoguing Keystone for purely political reasons. And if folks can't understand that, then that's on them, not on Obama.

And, really, Eric, you know as well as I that any benefits from Keystone in terms of affecting the supply of oil are many, many years down the road. As such, if Iran shuts down access to 20% of the world's oil anytime soon, Keystone won't mean squat to the immediate impact of this development.

Eric said...

But it has been evaluated, at least three times, and pipeline construction is not some uncharted new technology like deepwater drilling, it is a standard and highly regulated practice in every single state (and those regulations would have to be followed in each state the pipeline passes through), and the Keystone proposal includes INCREASED safety measures that go beyond the safeguards called for by state regulations. There are oil and gas lines running under my property that are less safe than the Keystone pipeline would be.

The US State Department did an extensive study and green lighted the project in 2010. The EPA wanted them to do more study on oil spill response plans... they did that and turned in a revised report in August stating the project posed "no significant impacts" to most resources if the proposed environmental protection measures are followed. They've offered up increased pipeline thickness and alternative routes that the Canadians have agreed to that bypass the most sensitive areas. There has been no "rush" into Keystone, and this is not about safety concerns.

The groups that have been protesting this, the same groups who pressured and convinced Obama to block the pipeline, are not complaining about possible environmental impacts. They are complaining that the pipeline brings more oil into the US and that will hurt alternative energy initiatives. And by caving to their protests, Obama has agreed to pursue a policy of actively blocking new oil supplies in order to give alternative fuels a better chance to take root. During a time when when the security of oil supplies are under the biggest threat in the last 35 years.

Huck said...

Eric - That's not my read on the situation. My understanding is that the Sandhills area of Nebraska has been a particular concern to the citizens of that state with regard to the environmental impact of the proposed pipeline on this region of the state. This issue has even resulted in the Nebraska State Legislature convening to grapple with it, the result of which was a request by the State Legislature to reroute the pipeline and to conduct a study of the environmental impacts of potential new routes. Even the Republican governor of Nebraska wants the path of the pipeline re-routed to avoid the Sandhills area. This action on the part of the Nebraska State Legislature took place only about six weeks ago. And given the re-routing of the pipeline, which TransCanada has agreed to, needs to be reviewed and evaluated for its environmental impact by the appropriate agencies of the federal government, subject to the proper time necessary for notifications and public input on the plans for re-routing.

Is there some politics at work here that led to the Nebraska legislature and governor calling for a re-routing of the pipeline? Very likely. But it is this process, that comes from the state level, that has caused the announced delay with the final decision at the federal level until the first quarter of 2013. The US Dept of State's original Environmental Impact Assessment was exclusively regarding the original pipeline route. Now that the pipeline will have to be rerouted, those Environmental Impact Assessments need to be re-done to consider the new route. In fact, even the Nebraska Legislature is adamant about studying for itself (and not relying on the US Dept of State exclusively) the environmental impacts of any potential new routes before giving their approval on the final agreement.

I think that if some folks have a problem with how this has been handled, these folks should look at the State of Nebraska and what's been going on there recently, and how these machinations at the state level are tying the hands of the feds and pushing back the decision-making process.

I'm not saying that there aren't any politics at work at the federal level. No doubt that there are -- and one little bit of politics is the GOP's attempted extortion of the Obama Administration by linking an immediate approval of Keystone with approval of an extension of the Payroll Tax holiday. I still don't understand why the GOP wanted to link the two items and not consider the Payroll Tax holiday extension unencumbered by any other unrelated matters.

Regardless, in spite of whatever politics there may be, I think there is sufficient credible evidence of environmental reasons as well as deference to states rights to not rush an executive federal decision on Keystone.

Eric said...

The federal government can approve the deal conditional to agreement by the states (in fact, that's the only way they can approve it). Instead, Obama (not the democratically elected legislature, not the State Department, not the regulatory agencies, but Obama himself, one person) put himself in the middle of that process and stopped it cold. Because 12,000 people showed up at the White House complaining about how it was going to encourage more consumption of fossil fuels.

Huck said...

Eric - We'll just have to agree to disagree here. Obama is involved because the President, as the executive, has the constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations, and this pipeline, because it traverses international borders, gives Obama the right to "put himself int eh middle of that process."

I don't deny that politics is involved. I'm sure there's some of what you say going on. I'd be surprised if there wasn't. That's the democratic process at work. And it works in both directions, too, as evidence by the linkage of Keystone to the Payroll Tax holiday legislation by Congressional Republicans.

But I also believe that the situation is much more nuanced and complex than you indicate. There are state issues intertwined with federal issues, and legitimate environmental concerns involved.

I predict that the pipeline will be approved by the Obama administration. It's just a question of time. In fact, the Obama administration has to decide within 90 days according to the legislation recently approved that extended the Payroll Tax holiday for two months. Again, this should have been a victory for the Republicans, but the House GOP snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

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