Where is the Decision on the Keystone Pipeline?

President Obama recently delayed making a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline project until after the 2012 election, throwing just about everyone into a fury.  In a nutshell, the environmentalists want the pipeline to go away and just about everyone else wants it to be approved. So why delay the decision? The only reason I can think of is political – if you don’t want to tick anyone off, don’t do anything. While this may be good politics, it is lousy leadership.  What do you really stand for, Mr. President? From this writer’s point of view, the risk of the pipeline is minimal, compared to the potential gain. Here are the pluses:

  • It allows access to an additional source of oil, providing downward pressure on prices.
  • It reduces America’s dependence on oil from the Mideast, where we are hardly very popular.
  • It is a clear, shovel-ready project that provides a multitude of jobs (they say 20,000 as soon as approved, with many more indirect jobs soon after).
  • It would provide much needed stimulus to the economy.  Even the unions, whom I don’t usually agree with, like the idea.

The only negative I can think of is the risk of environmental damage from a spill. While this is always possible, new technology developed over the last few years for preventing spills and cleaning them up has reduced and mitigated that risk to a large degree. In my humble opinion, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
But regardless of the direction, it’s time for our President to get off the fence and make a decision and live with the consequences.  Mr. President, forget the election for a change and show some leadership.  The American people are smarter than you think and they are watching.
Saint Leo

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