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Fourth Down for President Obama?

National Journal magazine is asking in its weekly forum if President Obama will punt his Keystone XL decision until after the upcoming midterm elections.  Consumer Energy Alliance’s David Holt shares his analysis:

If, as pundits and media widely report, President Obama is playing the Keystone XL pipeline for its political gain than he has reached the point of diminishing returns.

Delays are already hurting the thousands of laborers, pipeline fitters and welders who have been waiting for over five years for a green light. Delays are
hurting the energy consumers who continue to pay over $3.50 for a gallon of gasoline. Delays hurt the northeast which found itself this past winter in the middle of a home heating oil and propane shortage stemming from a lack of energy infrastructure.

When word came from the U.S. State Department of another delay, frustrations erupted. Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America:

“It’s not the oil that’s dirty, it’s the politics. Once again, the Administration is making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country. This certainly is no example of profiles in courage. It’s clear the Administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”

Some critics contend the president’s political base is will be motivated to vote in midterm elections as long as the president delays. Polling
conducted for Consumer Energy Alliance disproves this theory.

More than three-quarters of likely voters polled in four key states, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana and North Carolina, said they will consider a candidate’s position on energy issues, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline, before deciding whom they will support.

Looking at the politics, the president’s decision to delay his Keystone XL decision is putting at risk his party’s control of the U.S. Senate. Predicting Congressional majorities is very much an inside the beltway parlor game, but one that carries real world consequences.

In the real world, jobs are sitting idle, energy costs remain high and the U.S. continues its unhealthy dependence on overseas crude oil imports. Keystone XL would help displace imports from Venezuela and the Middle East by 43%.

Everyday which goes by without certainty for KXL is another day hurting American energy consumers – and no matter which way you look at it that is bad
politics.

Originally published at National Journal.com 

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