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Right Turn
Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 05/02/2012

Pipeline obstructionism

The Post editorial board writes on the XL Pipeline:

Even if environmentalists manage to stop one pipeline or another, given high world oil prices, the enthusiastic support of the Canadian government, the many transport options and the years available to develop infrastructure, it’s beyond quixotic to believe that enough of the affordable paths out will be blocked. Environmentalists might succeed, however, in relocating some construction jobs outside the United States.
So President Obama’s refusal so far to authorize Keystone XL has little rational basis.

It may be awkward for Republicans to try to push the pipeline approval through by attempting to “amend bills to mandate the approval of Keystone XL, attaching such a provision to a transportation bill they passed last month.” But how else is the the measure to escape the clutches of Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (R-Nev.) and his filibuster-ready Democrats?

The only way to reverse an irrational policy such as the president’s, which is also extremely unpopular, is to expose it to the public scrutiny — and ridicule. The way to avoid making the pipeline a “political football” is for Reid and the White House to stop using it s a bone for extreme environmentalists whose positions increasingly seem to have less to do with the environment than with making oil and gas prohibitively expensive for Americans (and making us more dependent on foreign sources of energy).

Far be it from me to offer Reid and company advice, but the smartest thing Reid could do to help at-risk Democratic senators on the ballot is to defy the president, join forces with the Republicans and pass a pipeline bill. If the president vetoes it (and he might not), the Senate at least did its job.

Goodness knows lawmakers from energy states — e.g. Sens. Robert Casey, Jr. (D-Penn.), Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) — would breath a sigh of relief. They can tell their constituents until they are blue in the face that they are in favor of domestic energy development, but so long as Reid is holding up the show, a vote for Democrats in November is a vote to keep Reid and lose the pipeline and the jobs it will create.

We’ll see if Reid is smart enough to hop off the president’s trainwreck of an energy policy. I’d like to be surprised, but I doubt he’s got the nerve or political finesse to help his own members — and keep himself as majority leader.

By  |  12:00 PM ET, 05/02/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign, Senate Democrats

 
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