The Money Pipeline Called Keystone

Written by Rob Morse on February 7, 2014

We don’t have the Keystone XL pipeline bringing oil to America for a simple reason. Oh, the deal is good for us, maybe even great for us, but the deal is bad for President Obama. The President’s environmentalist donors will shun him if he approves the pipeline. That means no green campaign donations from the Greens. Obama won’t sign the deal because the oil pipeline company didn’t promise to pay tens of millions of dollars for the next several years to make up for Obama’s lost campaign donations. Not yet. That is politics in America these days; the politicians win and we lose. Progressives want more of the same.

The obvious environmental organizations are the Natural Resources Defense Council, the League of Conservation Voters, Environmental Action, Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club. The green lobby has lots to offer Obama and the Democrats. They have high dollar donors. They have lobbying power in state and federal committee testimony. They have academics on retainer to submit expert testimony. Most important, they have databases of qualified donors, activists and voters they will share. These are the political benefits that the IRS will now tax as in-kind contributions for conservatives, but will ignore from progressives.

If the pipeline company caves, the campaign donations won’t have Obama’s name on the checks. The checks will be made out to someone like the Democrat Senate committee. Donations will have the name of Obama bundlers on them. Donations will be made out to the usual Democrat front groups, like environmental funds and victim’s rights groups. These organizations will run third party issue advertizing during the political campaigns. It remains political payoff money even if it changes hands several times.

There is an often overlooked fact the environmentalists don’t mention. There is already a Keystone pipeline bringing oil from Canada to the US. We already move additional oil from Canadian tar sands to the US by train and truck. Keystone XL would replace those means of transport with a safer pipeline. The environmentalists forget to mention that Obama donors have a large stake in the rail line that transports Canadian oil. Keystone would simply move more oil for less money. Environmentalists need this as an issue to counterbalance our failing green economy.

Everyone benefits from lower gas prices if we import more oil. Everyone benefits from less imported oil from Middle East dictatorships. Everyone benefits if we import oil rather than use food to make ethanol. Everyone except President Obama and the Green Lobby.

Even Democrats should support the pipeline. Keystone brings pipeline and refinery jobs to the US. Those are exactly the kind of jobs you want if income equality is more than an excuse for larger government. Poor people in the US benefit when Canadian oil lets them put less money in their gas tank and keep more money in their wallet.

Why would you give the president the authority to approve a pipeline in the first place? Our community activist in the White House is no energy economist or environmental keystonescientist. He is far from it. Requiring the President’s approval is a bribe written into the original legislation. Think like an Illinois politician for a minute. Requiring the President’s signature is a gift from the politicians to the President in office so he can blackmail the pipeline company. When Obama says he will consider the Keystone decision in isolation from politics, he means he will consider the decision outside your political priorities, not his. The Obama administration has killed coal, mining and manufacturing jobs in the US. We gave the government power to do what is right for us, but politicians will do what is right for them. That law of political self-interest is as immutable as any law of nature.

That is why I advocate smaller government. I know we don’t have a perfect world now. We wouldn’t have a perfect world if government were much smaller, but we would have a better world. I can live with the tears of the special interests who would be worse off. And, we’d have a pipeline.

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