Barack and a hard place
Once again, Obama weasels out of a difficult choice. This time it has to do with the proposed oil pipeline from Canada. It would double the capacity of an existing pipeline from that country.
The Keystone XL pipeline pits two major supporters of Obama against each other. Labor is for the pipeline and the 20,000 “shovel-ready” jobs it would bring. Environmentalists are against it, claiming it would reinforce U.S. dependence on oil.
Obama will hold off on a decision until after the 2012 election. The administration says time is needed to figure out a way around Nebraska’s Sandhills, an ecologically sensitive region. Nevermind that Nebraska’s governor and state officials have committed to change the route of the pipeline. Senators Ben Nelson and Mike Johanns likewise have given bipartisan support to the project. They want to get on with it.
Canada is champing at the bit. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is stepping up efforts to sell oil to Asia. That won’t be a hard sell. In 2006, China was rated third in car ownership.
Harper visits Washington this week. Border security and trade are on the agenda. The Prime Minister will plead his case for the pipeline.
But he has no illusions about the man in the White House. In a recent interview, Harper said he was “disappointed with the politics down there.”