GOP on Keystone XL: Stunningly stupid

  • Published on January 18th, 2012

keystone cartoonWe told you earlier today that the Obama Administration has cancelled the planet-killing Keystone XL oil pipeline, in response to a misguided GOP attempt to strongarm them into prematurely approving it.

We also commented that their only possible motivation in pushing for a decision now – when the Administration had already said pushing too soon would mean they’d have no choice but to say no – was to kill it in time for the election, so they could run campaign ads painting Obama as a job-killer.

Now, I’m not so sure. They might have just been stupid.

GOP Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called the decision “a stunningly stupid thing to do…  There’s no other word for it. These people are so out-of-touch with reality it’s as if they’re governing Mars.” Which is ironic since the GOP talking points on this are spectacularly fact-free.

House Speaker John Boehner upped the ante in comments today, accusing the President of killing 100,000 jobs, when even the pipeline company’s own, grossly exagerated report only claimed 20,000 jobs. The actual number of real, long-term, American jobs would be closer to the hundreds than the thousands. The only sure source of jobs would cleaning up after the inevitable spills – the companies involved have suffered dozens of oil spills over the past couple of years.

And Boehner’s spokesman, Brendan Buck, said the Obama move would be selling “American energy security to the Chinese,” which is also ridiculous, since:

  • The Canadian pipeline proposal that would allow them to sell tar sands oil to China is also blocked, since it is also an environmental nightmare and the people in its path have no desire to allow it to move forward
  • The Keystone XL has nothing to do with American energy security, since it’s designed to pump particularly dirty oil all the way across the US to Texas refineries for export to OTHER countries. (See: The Keystone XL pipeline isn’t about jobs – it’s about exporting oil).

GOP front-runner Mitt Romney jumped in the game, accusing Obama of pandering to his base and not being serious about creating jobs.

Funny thing, when President Obama proposes serious job-creation programs that would help the US move into a clean energy future, the GOP calls it a boondoggle and blocks it from moving forward. When President Obama blocks a boondoggle that will create a handful of jobs while helping no-one but big oil companies, they call him a job-killer.

So why did President Obama say he was rejecting the pipeline? Because the GOP forced him to.

“The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact,” he said. “This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the state department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people.”

Oh, and… this isn’t a permanent end to the process. The State Department acknowledged they could re-apply next year. And in the meantime, Republicans in Congress are trying to figure out ways to change the rules to make the pipeline happen, regardless.

What you can do

Send a message to President Obama that you support him on the environment – either a basic message on the White House website, or by sending a donation via the ActGreen PAC page on Today of all days, show you support the greenest President we’ve seen in a generation – and by donating via ActGreen, you’re reinforcing the message that it’s not just big oil that supports candidates with their donations… it’s also people who care about the environment!

About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.


  • I may have some bias here as I am an Albertan, but rejection of this proposal just seems foolish. Sure the oil from the tar sands isn’t the cleanest, but a bit of dirty oil is much better than blood lost in the pointless wars in the Middle East. Lets face it, everyone needs oil, even so called “environmentalists” who drive cars, buy electronics, the list goes on.

    Dependance on oil isn’t going away anytime soon, so why don’t promote the tar sands and find ways to extract and refine it in a way that isn’t as damaging to the environment. You will be kicking yourselves for not letting this pass if use of the Straight of Hormuz is restricted in the coming months. Canada has some of the largest reserves in the world; if we worked to promote use and extraction of this oil instead of fighting endlessly in the middle east, you may not have to live with gas at $3.50/gallon ($5 if the Straight of Hormuz is closed), and war after war in the Middle East.

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