- The Washington Times
Tuesday, November 15, 2011


President Obama is sticking by his policy of declaring the producers of trendy, impractical energy sources “winners,” leaving taxpayers to be the losers. Take the case of the Keystone XL pipeline, which the administration is effectively shutting down in the wake of the scandal surrounding solar-panel maker Solyndra. Stubbornly clinging to environmental fashion over a practical boost to America’s energy supply will further cloud America’s economic horizon.

The timing of two announcements out of Washington is hardly coincidental. On Thursday, the White House said it would end its heated standoff with House Republicans. Members sought documents related to the administration’s decision to shower Solyndra with $535 million in taxpayer funds. Before the sun set at Foggy Bottom, the State Department spread word it had ordered a new environmental review of TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Alberta-to-Texas pipeline, effectively delaying any possibility of approval until after the 2012 election. The takeaway from the dual decisions: There’s a price for messing with the not-so-jolly green giant.

Until recently, it appeared the $7 billion pipeline was on track for approval. It would have carried 1.1 million barrels of Alberta’s tar-sands oil per day 1,700 miles southward to refineries on Texas’ Gulf coast. It also would add 20,000 well-paying jobs to the struggling U.S. economy and lessen America’s dependency on overseas oil. Predictably, environmentalists claimed the pipeline would jeopardize Nebraska’s Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies drinking water to Midwesterners. The State Department already had delayed the project for three years while completing environmental-impact studies, which turned up no cause for concern. TransCanada’s offer Monday to alter the pipeline’s proposed route to avoid the Sandhills won’t affect the administration’s new deferral.

The Energy Department has spent the past three years promoting a carbon-dioxide-free America. It’s left-wing dogma that the natural byproduct of respiration and combustion offends Mother Earth. Only ritual sacrifice - or the purchase of a carbon-credit indulgence from Al Gore - will appease her into chilling the planet. Billions in federal cash have been dished out to risky but politically correct energy projects in service of this belief. Taxpayers have watched in dismay as their money has disappeared in a widening sinkhole of bankruptcy. Energy Secretary Steven Chu faces the formidable task of explaining to House committee members on Thursday why strategies to combat “global warming” remain at the top of the agenda as our economy enters a deep freeze.

Administration officials denied any ulterior motives for blocking Keystone XL and its jobs. “This is not a political decision. … The White House did not have anything to do with this decision,” said Assistant Secretary of State Kerri-Ann Jones.

When Solyndra went under in August, along with a half-billion taxpayer dollars and 1,100 jobs, House Republicans seeking to shed light on the debacle were greeted with the sound of the White House door slamming shut. Congressional subpoenas lifted the information blackout by Friday’s deadline, but at a price. The O Force won’t allow oil to eclipse solar. Hence, Keystone follows Solyndra into oblivion, along with thousands of American jobs.

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