Obama's Pipeline to Nowhere; Ending Keystone XL in Oklahoma Symbolizes Shortsighted Energy Policy

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Byline: H. Leighton Steward, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Obama is slowly walking back his decision to nix the Keystone XL oil pipeline after weathering significant backlash from unions, pro-business groups and the public. But rather than green light the critical infrastructure project linking Canadian oil with American refineries, Mr. Obama has struck a truly astonishing compromise sure to please no one: a pipeline to nowhere. The $7 billion, 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline would connect the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, with American refineries on the Gulf Coast. Mr. Obama rejected the project in January to placate environmental extremists who fear an increased release of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) will cause a climate change catastrophe, a theory that just doesn't hold up in the face of empirical evidence.

His move backfired as unions - typically allies of the president - and pro-business groups slammed the decision while Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper wasted no time in signaling Canada would look elsewhere, particularly China, to sell its oil. In fact, PetroChina has now surpassed ExxonMobil in crude oil production. China's leaders are buying oil and securing rights to new production while the Obama administration shuns new supplies.

Realizing that he's making more enemies than friends with his decision, Mr. Obama now hopes to placate his opponents by allowing construction of the pipeline from the Gulf Coast to - wait for it - Oklahoma. That's about 1,200 miles short of the Canadian oil sands. The decision is already drawing criticism from all sides as Republicans are rightfully calling it an empty half-measure while environmental extremists accuse the president of caving to special interests.

Mr. Obama announced his pipeline to nowhere during his energy-policy roadshow designed to help shield him from the effects of rising gas prices his advisers fear will harm his re-election bid. That roadshow highlights the Obama administration's mixed bag of solar-panel programs, subsidized green jobs and gifts to climate-change alarmists.

It's not unusual to hear defenders complain that the president doesn't set energy prices. He doesn't set them but it's ludicrous to pretend the president's actions and policies don't have a strong influence on energy prices and therefore, he shouldn't share blame when they go up. Mr. Obama has done everything in his power to shake the energy markets and spur the rise in prices at the pump. …