Filed under: Bureaucracy, Canada, Domestic Policy, Economy, Energy, Environment, Foreign Policy, Global Warming, Junk Science, Law, The United States, Unemployment | Tags: NAFTA, The Keystone XL Pipeline, TransCanada Corporation
TransCanada Corporation has filed two major legal challenges to the Obama Administration. TransCanada is the company that has waited patiently while the Obama Administration played politics with the Keystone XL Pipeline project. The first lawsuit was filed in a Houston federal court stating that President Obama exceeded his authority in November when he blocked the pipeline’s construction.
The company separately filed an international petition under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) seeking to recover the $15 billion in costs and damages which it incurred in its attempts to build the cross border pipeline. What a colossal mess the Obama administration made of the U.S. end of that project.
I’m on TransCanada’s side in this one. I’ve been writing about it ever since the first proposal. It has always been a matter of politics. Obama’s green supporters are violently opposed to the pipeline, mostly because they don’t like petroleum and want it to stay in the ground. Their science is that deep. Also Hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer promised $100 million to the Democrats if they just continued to oppose global warming. (I don’t know if he gave them the money) The unions desperately want the 13,000 construction jobs promised by the project, and the 118,000 estimated spin-off jobs as well. Obama responds that the jobs are just temporary, but all construction jobs are temporary. Skills learned on one job make you more eligible for the next.
“TransCanada’s legal actions challenge the foundation of the U.S. administration’s decision to deny a presidential border crossing permit for the project,” the Calgary, Canada-based company said in a statement.
“In its decision, the U.S. State Department acknowledged the denial was not based on the merits of the project,” it continued. “Rather, it was a symbolic gesture based on speculation about the perceptions of the international community regarding the administration’s leadership on climate change and the president’s assertion of unprecedented, independent powers.”
Obama has asserted his power to decide the fate of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline because it would have crossed an international border — an argument TransCanada said is not supported by the law, the Constitution or NAFTA.
The oil was always going to go to market. Obama’s denial meant that it would go by train, much more dangerous than supposed pipeline leaks, for rail is subject to derailment, as has happened too many times. The State Dept. approved it twice, then disapproved it. The route was changed slightly to allay worries from Nebraska, and from Indian tribes.
For the Obama Administration politics rules in all cases. What is supposed to come first is the welfare of the American people. It’s really that simple.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy | Tags: Diplomatic Disaster, NAFTA, U.S./ Canada/ Mexico
Tuesday’s “Three Amigos” summit meeting was a little different from the usual North American get-together. Obama took the occasion to inappropriately attack the Supreme Court in response to a reporter’s question, but otherwise the media recorded the meeting as— “Obama talks trade, energy with Canada Mexico leaders at Summit (AP).”The press in Canada and Mexico reported it a little differently.
Obama’s neglect of the North American Free Trade Act has put the three nation alliance “on life support.” Obama’s political ploy of denying the Keystone XL pipeline —till after the election — has not only annoyed Americans who were hoping for those jobs, but it has annoyed the Canadians to the point that they will no longer consider America as a single customer. Canada is preparing to sell their oil to China. Until now NAFTA has shielded the U.S. from having to pay global prices for Canadian oil. That will change.
Trade watchers have known that the U.S. has blocked Canada’s entry to the eight-way free trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an alliance of the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Chile and Singapore. Both Canada and Mexico want to be part of the agreement. Stephen Harper says: “Our strong sense is that most of the members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership would like to see Canada join.” This reveals that it is the Obama administration that is blocking Canada, and suggests that payback on energy is coming.
Mexican papers reported that President Felipe Calderon bitterly brought up Operation Fast and Furious, a U.S. government operation that permitted Mexican drug cartels to smuggle thousands of weapons into drug-war torn Mexico. This blunder has cost thousands of Mexican lives. Obama has feigned ignorance to the Mexicans, and hasn’t even apologized.
In an interview with former U.S. Rep. Jane Harmon (D-CA) on Monday, Prime Minister Harper explained that Canada will seek to expand its export market, and will cease to supply oil to the U.S. at a discounted rate. “Look, the very fact that a ‘no’ could even be said underscores to our country that we must diversify our energy export markets,” Harper told the audience of business people, scholars, diplomats and journalists.
Now two major energy companies are planning to build new pipeline that will move as much as 850,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast by mid-2014. There are two separate projects planned by Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners LP and Enterbridge Inc. of Calgary.
Enbridge and Enterprise already operate the Seaway Pipeline which used to move oil north from Freeport, Texas to the massive oil storage hub in Cushing Oklahoma. Last year the companies said they would reverse the flow in that pipeline because the surge in oil from Canadian and U.S. production has created an overabundance of oil in Cushing. The reversal will let Seaway move up to 150,000 barrels a day south to refiners by June 1, and 400,000 barrels a day by early next year by adding new pumping stations.
The cross-border portions of the pipeline are already built. This will not negate the need for the Keystone XL, but simply add to capacity. The usual suspects, NRDC, Sierra Club and others will find some reason to object, and if that doesn’t work, they’ll find another.