Senate Refuses to Play Let’s Make a Deal on Keystone XL Pipeline

The Senate vote on the Keystone XL pipeline this week was like that old game show Let’s Make A Deal. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., doing a Bob Barker impression, told Republicans if they looked behind Door Number One and voted for his energy bill, they could trade their vote for what was behind Door Number Two, which could be the Keystone XL pipeline, or some other prize.

Republicans wisely decided not to play the game and blocked Reid’s energy-efficiency bill after Reid repeatedly blocked their efforts to vote on five energy amendments, including approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The entire affair was an exercise in futility from the start, since everyone knew that President Obama would veto the Keystone XL pipeline if it crossed his desk.

The American Petroleum Institute points out that the United States and Canada have the largest trading partnership across the longest peaceful border globally. Getting more North American energy from Canada would reduce U.S. reliance on energy resources from less stable regions, create jobs in the United States, increase domestic energy supplies and strengthen national security.

The Keystone XL pipeline expansion would increase U.S. energy security by bringing more than 800,000 barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries — from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region. Crude imports from Canada could reach 4 million barrels a day by 2030, about twice what we currently import from the Persian Gulf.

For a nation crying out for good-paying jobs, why do Democrats continue to fight the Keystone?

First, the pipeline has been hijacked by a small, but vocal, group of environmentalists who have been able to press the point that the pipeline would raise carbon emission levels.

Now there’s increasing evidence that the pipeline would actually reduce carbon emissions, so this entire argument is built on a false premise.

Then we have big Democratic donors such as billionaire Tom Steyer, a liberal activist and founder of the political action committee NextGen Climate, who pledge large amounts of money to fighting climate-denying candidates in the mid-term elections.

Let’s not forget big Democratic donors with investments in rail lines that would suffer if the pipeline is approved.

And finally, as a blatant example of cronyism, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., opposes the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Is it because he’s a staunch environmentalist?
Nope. It’s because he has between $15,000 and $50,000 invested in Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, which wants to build a pipeline that would directly compete with the Keystone XL pipeline.

Is it any wonder why the nation is skeptical about the increasingly weak arguments emanating from the White House that positions the Keystone XL pipeline as a mistake?

A Pew Research poll taken in the fall of 2012 found Americans support its construction by a 2-1 margin, with strong majority support among both Republicans and Democrats. In fact, 11 Democrats have signed a bill supporting the Keystone XL pipeline.

These Democrats, unlike the president, recognize that opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline is a political liability that could cost Democrats their Senate majority. It is estimated that 14 different races can (and likely will) be affected by the president’s decision whether to permit Keystone XL or not, including the open seats in Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota, Michigan and West Virginia, combined with states where incumbent Democrats running for re-election have voted to support the pipeline, including Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, North Carolina and Virginia.

It’s obvious by most people paying attention to the Keystone XL pipeline that Harry Reid and the president are backing the wrong horse and should give up their failed pronouncements about the vitality of the pipeline.

If not, when Reid emcees our version of Let’s Make a Deal, he’ll look behind Door Number One and find that he’s out of a job as Senate Majority Leader, and that Democrats have lost the mid-term election.

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