Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Obama 'Colbert' Show Appearance Won't Have Canada's Oilpatch Laughing

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Obama 'Colbert' Show Appearance Won't Have Canada's Oilpatch Laughing

Article excerpt

Obama appears to diss Keystone XL on Colbert


WASHINGTON - In the Monday night episode of "The Colbert Report," the joke was on Canada's oil industry.

That's because the featured guest appeared to take a dig at the industry's long-awaited, long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline project.

Unfortunately for project proponents, it just so happened that this skeptical guest was the man who controls its fate: U.S. President Barack Obama.

The issue was raised by pretend news anchor Stephen Colbert. The instant he began touting the potential merits of the plan, the show's young, left-leaning studio audience began booing.

"Obviously these young people weren't polled," Obama said.

The segment was taped at George Washington University in the U.S. capital, where the students left no doubt about their preference and the president didn't appear keen to dissuade them.

Obama went on to list the project's pros and cons. He dwelled far more heavily on the negative, continuing a recent pattern in which he's sounded dismissive of Keystone.

He might have to make a decision as early as next month.

Obama assured the audience that he'll be guided by climate-change considerations because the economic merit is too negligible to be the deciding factor.

"These young people are going to have to live in a world where we already know temperatures are going up," Obama said, referring again to the crowd.

"Keystone is a potential contributor of that ... We have to weigh that against the amount of jobs it's actually going to create -- which are not a lot."

Obama said the pipeline wouldn't drive down gas prices for Americans, and experts generally agree with that. But he repeated a far more contested claim, that the pipeline would simply allow Canada to export its oil. He said the pipeline might be good for Canada but would only create a couple of thousand temporary construction jobs for Americans.

There were big cheers for what Obama said next: "We've got to measure that (benefit) against whether or not it's going to contribute to an overall warming of the planet -- which could be disastrous. …

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