Mark Caserta: President wrong to ignore people’s will

19 Feb

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FSP EDITORIAL

Feb. 19, 2015 @ 12:01 AM
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President Obama seems to have his mind set on preventing the Keystone XL pipeline from ever being constructed, regardless of the truth about its environmental and economic impact.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill, by a vote of 270-152, to approve construction of the pipeline. That sets the stage for the first veto showdown of the new Congress with President Obama. Twenty-nine Democrats crossed party lines to vote in favor of the pipeline. The Senate approved the legislation in January by a 62-36 margin.

In passing this bill, Congress is rightfully representing the majority of Americans who now favor the pipeline, according to a recent CNN/ORC poll. Results showed 57 percent of Americans surveyed support the project while only 28 percent oppose it.

But far be it for Barack Obama to allow the will of the people to influence his executive decision-making for America. It’s been six years since TransCanada initially filed an application with the U.S. government to construct the multibillion-dollar pipeline, and the administration continues to assert it’s “studying the potential impact on the environment.”

Originally, liberal opponents of the pipeline were concerned with potential spillage as it transported an estimated 830,000 barrels of oil per day during its trek from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast of Texas. But the narrative now seems to have shifted to its impact on “climate change” through increased carbon emissions.

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Despite opponents’ attempts to minimize the jobs numbers, tens of thousands of construction jobs would be created. In fact, the State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact statement found the project would support more than 42,000 direct and indirect jobs nationwide. At the southern portion of the pipeline, which did not require Obama’s approval and is already built, 5,000 construction jobs already have been created, according to the Pipeline and Gas Journal.

With regard to spills or increased carbon emissions, pipelines are the safest mode of transporting oil and gas. After four comprehensive environmental reviews, the Department of State determined that the Keystone XL poses minimal environmental risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish and wildlife. State Department studies also concluded the climate effects of the pipeline would be minimal in that Canadian oil is coming out of the ground whether Keystone XL is built or not, so the difference in greenhouse gas emissions is miniscule.

It’s well known that Barack Obama’s loyalties lie with environmentalists and the myth of man-made global warming. But the Keystone XL pipeline would connect the largest, most sophisticated refining hub in the Gulf Coast with the third largest oil reserves on the planet. The U.S. would be closer to energy independence and less at risk from the increasing uncertainty of a volatile oil market.

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If President Obama continues to ignore the voice of the people and indeed vetoes this legislation, Congress must react with a presidential veto override, which requires two-thirds majority.

Interestingly, with the 2016 election on the horizon, legislators’ hearing seems to be improving. So now is the time to make your voice heard.

Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch.

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