Stuck in Seoul with Medvedev and the rest of the international gang, President Obama has had the logistical pleasure of being nowhere near the Supreme Court while his legislative baby was ripped apart by the doubtful. Before he left though, the commander-in-chief set a ticking time-bomb for a large portion of his supporters. Upon arrival in the States, Barack has some electoral bridges to rebuild with his base before November, starting first with the green crowd.
In Cushing, Oklahoma, which may or may not have been the home of Bruce Willis’ oil-drilling posse in Armageddon, the President announced that he would sign off on the southern half of Keystone XL, which may or may not be the name of Keystone’s response to Bud Light Platinum. This mega-highway of gas by TransCanada, scorchingly deemed the “Pipeline to the Apocalypse” by the Sierra Club, spans 485 miles, from Cushing to the Gulf Coast off Texas, and will be finished sometime next years. By doing so, the President might have just lost the environmental vote and at the least opportune time.
The same day President Obama made his pipeline dream official, the New York Times reported that the United States is steamrolling its way to energy independence. Yes, no more foreign oil or slavery to the gas pump — America could begin to rely on itself to provide the resources for the economy in the coming years.
This unbelievable milestone for our country adds a question mark to the necessity of an enormous steel snake underneath the South and similar projects in the work but the President’s narrative that afternoon dismissed any sort of response. Instead, Obama fired away at Congress for its politicization of an all-species issue and then showed that he was not immune to the same sickness he just prescribed. Keystone XL, a blatant gesture to the other side of the aisle at a time when Obama needs machismo in the face of rising gas prices, could have been the nail in the coffin between Obama and some of his oldest friends.
When the pro-survival-on-Earth groups helped propel Obama into office in 2008, they were ecstatic: the Bush administration was the most oil-driven administration since the days of John D. Rockefeller and Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force was a showcase of petroleum freaks. Finally, the green crowd would have a President who “starts thinking” about a March that could be mistaken for an early May. Three years later, the eco-supporters learned like the rest of America that Obama’s signature executive move is unprincipled pragmatism.
A step forward (the stimulus package’s eco-friendly investment package) was always met with two steps backward (the end of EPA regulations on coal and ash, the expansion of offshore drilling post-BP-spill, etc.). A House of Representatives bent on restoring the oily Bush days has forced Obama to cave on a green platform he swore by as a candidate. Here’s what “progress” has been in a nutshell: it’s the year 2012 and the first EPA regulations on power plants’ greenhouse emissions were considered “historic.”
As a project, Keystone XL was the last holdout Obama had in the eyes of the already downtrodden environmental community. In January, when President Obama delayed confirmation of Keystone XL until 2013, they let out a universal sigh of relief that lasted only until reality kicked in.
Needless to say, the environmental wing has moved up from the Big Oil hell that was the Bush years and is now floating in an Obama purgatory where their hope for a clean energy legacy is dismal. And, to Obama’s dismay at the ballot box, the Keystone XL approval solidified this limbo.