The Keystone Pipeline

The Keystone Oil Pipeline seemed to have appeared out of nowhere, but in fact it’s been a 6-year process. TransCanada Corporation operates numerous pipelines throughout Canada and the United States. The construction of these pipelines to move petroleum products provides jobs to an estimated 120,000 U.S. and Canadian workers. Maintenance and refining of the products carried by these pipelines are believed to account for another 260,000 American jobs.  The Keystone Pipeline isn’t a totally new pipeline, per se, as the much of the area for the planned pipeline is already in operation through the conversion of natural gas pipeline that was already in place, to carry petroleum, which started in 2010.

The proposed Keystone Gulf Coast Expansion Project is an approximate 2,673-kilometre (1,661-mile), 36-inch crude oil pipeline that would begin at Hardisty, Alberta and extend southeast through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. It would incorporate a portion of the Keystone Pipeline (Phase II) through Nebraska and Kansas to serve markets at Cushing, Oklahoma before continuing through Oklahoma to a delivery point near existing terminals in Nederland, Texas to serve the Port Arthur, Texas marketplace.

Obama’s Quandary: to Keystone or not

President Obama finds himself in a major pickle. Obama’s top donors are the unions and the unions are firmly behind the Keystone project. Construction of the pipeline represents fifty to one hundred thousand union jobs and Obama slow-roll of the project has them up-in-arms. Unfortunately for the president the greenies are another major part of his base and we all know where they stand on the Keystone Pipeline. Obama bowed to the greenies, but many of his party in Congress and the unions aren’t taking accepting his decision to hold off making a final determination on the Keystone Pipeline till after the election.

Obama has promised a veto of the payroll tax cut bill if it includes action on the Keystone oil pipeline; but the lead Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell said Sunday that the president’s threat is little more than “posturing.” McConnell said that enough Democrats support building the Keystone Pipeline that at least a vote will take place on the GOP compromise.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News Sunday that Senate Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid and the president may want to check with their base before threatening to hold up a House version that calls for tying an extension of the payroll tax holiday to a “shovel-ready” project like the Keystone Pipeline.

Democrats like Dick Durbin believe that if there is not enough money for a government give-away then someone must not be paying enough in taxes. Targeting those who pay ninety percent of all income taxes fits right into the Liberal redistribution-of-wealth view. Taxing the haves to give a tax break to the have-nots is the epitome of the left-wing socialist redistribution philosophy.  The economic benefit derived from the Keystone project will outstrip the revenue he and his progressive counterparts hope to suck from the “rich” many fold, but Durbin can only see things from a progressive-liberal point-of-view.

“What the Republicans offer us is the same formula that brought us into this recession. Cut taxes on the wealthy. And cut that government oversight to make sure we have clean drinking water, air we can breathe, and make sure that wall street doesn’t run Washington, instead of the other way around,” Durbin said.

Dick Durbin, like many on the far left, is in full-on class-warfare mode in preparation for the upcoming elections. The subtext of Durbin’s words are elect Republicans and thousands if not millions will die from pollution related issues; elect Republicans and Wall Street will control our government; elect Republicans and the rich will get richer while the rest will sink into depression-level poverty; it’s enough to make you lose your lunch!

The proposed House legislation extends the current payroll tax cut for another year, extends unemployment benefits for 59 weeks and shortens the timeframe for approval of the Keystone Pipeline project. Additionally the House bill removes a regulation proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that drastically limits output of boilers that opponents say might cost as many as 800,000 jobs.

Senate Majority Leader Reid said sending the House bill over to the Senate would be a waste of time because it will not pass, but Mitch McConnell disagrees.

“It has bipartisan support. But we also need to have something in there that prevents the loss of jobs and something that will create the jobs,” McConnell said. “And that’s why we inserted Boiler MACT, supported on a bipartisan basis and the Keystone Pipeline supported on a bipartisan basis. One would save jobs, one would create jobs right now.”

Democrats need the unions if they want any hope of avoiding total demolition in 2012 and that means Democrats opposed to the Keystone project will take it in the piggybank.  McConnell knows the sway the unions have with Senate Democrats and going on record in favor of delaying the Keystone project till after the election can only hurt Dems who are up for re-election.  It will be very hard for the 17 Senate Democrats facing the electorate in 2012 to vote against the Keystone Pipeline.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican S.C. said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ “taxing one group to pay for a tax cut for another is not going to sell. We are not here to defend high income people. And in this bipartisan package that we’re just discussing, we make sure that millionaires don’t get unemployment and don’t get food stamps. We freeze the pay for members of Congress and for all federal workers, continue to freeze the pay that has been frozen. This is a very balanced package.”

And The Winner Is?

Like everything in Congress, nothing is a certainty. If Democrats want election talking-points for the 2012 election, the Keystone Pipeline project won’t get approved and the payroll tax cuts will die a political death. Should that happen expect that the Democrats will try to get every mile they can out of tarring the Republicans as the party of the wealthy, protecting the ultra-rich while raising the taxes of the middle-class.

What the Democrats don’t understand, at least many of them, is that the American public is interested in jobs and the economy and not more politics as usual. Their attempts at class-warfare will be another miscalculation, like Obamacare, and the result from the 2012 election will look very similar to 2010. With the holiday break just around the corner we won’t have to wait long to see who blinks first.  Hopefully rationality will make one of its rare returns to Washington and we’ll see the Keystone project and the economic benefit it brings to the country, and the idea of taking money out of the hands of those who invest in growing our economy and handing it out to those who didn’t risk losing everything to make it will die the inevitable death of liberalism.

TransCanada and the Canadian government has made it clear that if the Keystone project isn’t given a green light in Washington they are completely ready to reroute the Keystone to the West Coast of Canada to sell the oil to the Chinese.

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