Reuters: Obama advisers fret over Keystone XL pipeline’s political risks

UPDATE: Yep, they were lying about the jobs too. (Ignore the misleading headline and read the first few paragraphs.)

Finally. There’s a lot that’s right about this Reuters story, and some stuff that’s wrong. First the link and their lede:

Reeling from months of protests, President Barack Obama’s advisers are worried that administration approval for a planned oil pipeline from Canada could cost him political support from Democrats in 2012.

Finally. Environmentalists always seem to have a back seat in the progressive coalition, as do population concerns.

Not now; the protest over the planet-killing Keystone XL pipeline has changed that. And that protest has finally provoked a much-needed (by him) response from President Obama. (By the way, the Koch Bros are deeply involved in this; don’t forget that, Mr. Prez. Your friends on the right, right?)

Reuter’s political analysis is dead on. For example (my emphasis):

Obama’s re-election plans depend partially on his ability to energize his base of supporters, many of whom are disillusioned with his progress in fighting climate change and attaining other environmental goals.

The pipeline has galvanized that discontent, leading to protests in Washington and across the country. More than 6,000 opponents have signed up to form a human ring around the White House on Sunday in what they hope will be a dramatic signal to keep the pressure on Obama[.] … Obama advisers fear that a decision in favor of the project could dampen enthusiasm among volunteers needed for door-to-door campaigning in battleground states that are critical to Obama’s re-election.

There’s more like this in the article. And they’re right. There’s a good chance that Obama’s target of $1 billion for his 2012 ad campaign is designed to offset an anticipated lack of willing volunteers — you know, those among the dewy-eyed who were offered hope and wanted change. Caving to the Koch Bros before the election won’t be likely to help.

But there’s misinformation in the article as well. For example, this anonymously sourced — and unchallenged — assertion: “Some administration policy advisers expect the pipeline will be approved because of the energy security and jobs it would create.”

Or this: “Saying no would mean turning down a chance to substantially increase oil imports from a friendly neighbor” as if Canadian oil was somehow better than … what? Iraqi oil? Saudi oil?

One more time, this is the dream that no one wants the nostalgia-driven Happy Motoring public to awaken from: The U.S. somehow has oil.

The U.S. does not have oil. Exxon has oil. The Koch Bros have oil. When the oil is in our ground, Exxon (or whoever) owns it. That gives them the right to spend some of their billions to bribe (sorry, campaign-contribute, lobby) our public officials to let them drill it out.

Then they put it on the open market, where we have the right to bid against the entire rest of the planet to poison ourselves with it.

And that doesn’t begin to touch the jobs hypocrisy. Other than that, the article is dead on (and I mean that in a good way).

What you can do — Join the DC protest on Sunday, November 6.

I’m sure your president hopes that you care, and is open to change. Details here.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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