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Obama's Upcoming Visit To Keystone Pipeline Site: 'So Hypocritical And So Ironic'
On Thursday, as part of a roadshow for his “all of the above” energy strategy, President Obama is scheduled to visit Cushing, Okla., home to the world’s biggest oil storage complex. There he is to tour a yard where TransCanada is storing pipes to be used in building the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. The line will stretch from Cushing down refineries on the Texas gulf coast.* * * * * * * * * *
It will be a strange and remarkable visit considering that Obama in January denied a permit for the northern section of the pipeline that would have crossed the Canadian border. The strangeness wasn’t lost of Harold Hamm, the chief executive of Continental Resources, Mitt Romney’s new energy advisor, and a first-rate oil tycoon...
“It’s so hypocritical and so ironic after everything he’s tried to do against the industry,” said Hamm in a phone interview with me today. “He’s trying to take credit for all the gains we’ve made against the backdrop of the biggest oil storage complex in the world.”
Isn’t it more likely that the president is going to Cushing (as well as another stop to an oilfield in New Mexico) to bash oil? After all, it was just a couple weeks ago at a campaign stop in North Carolina that Obama dismissed oil as “the fuel of the past.”
Maybe the president is going to Oklahoma to apologize for the comments of his actor friend Alec Baldwin ... Over the weekend Baldwin tweeted that Oklahoma’s pro-oil, anti-environmentalist Senator James Inhofe should be retired “to a solar-powered gay bar.” Baldwin also tweeted, “Is there a bigger Oil Whore than James Inhofe?”
Maybe he wants to take credit for the mammoth gains in domestic oil and gas production in the past three years? No, that couldn’t be the case either. The president knows full well that he had nothing to do with the development of oil and gas from shale reservoirs in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and North Dakota. In fact, it’s clear as day that the president thinks oil and gas companies should be drilling less, not more. Why else would he have said in his radio address last Saturday that Congress should move to cut billions in oil and gas tax breaks. A congressional vote, he said, would put lawmakers on record as to whether they “stand up for oil companies” or “stand up for the American people.”
It’s an either/or, huh? Tell that to the oil-and-gas boom states of Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Louisiana, or North Dakota, which has the lowest employment rate in the nation, and where there are thousands of jobs available working on the Bakken shale oil field ... Last month North Dakota surpassed California as the state with the third-most oil production. Hamm says it will pass Alaska later this year. Thanks to fracking, domestic oil production is up 20% since 2008 to 5.8 million bpd.
Yet we know the Obama administration doesn’t like oil drilling in the Bakken because last year the Department of Justice brought a criminal indictment against Hamm’s Continental Resources (and other oil companies) over the death of a handful of migratory birds that apparently died in a wastewater pit. Nevermind that an estimated 100 million birds die each year from flying into windows. (A judge threw the case out.)
The southern stretch of the Keystone XL will be instrumental in opening up the bottleneck that has prevented Bakken oil from getting to market. Bakken producers have had to rely on tanker trucks and trains (especially those operated by Obama buddy Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe) to get crude to market.
To put things in context, consider where obama will be coming from when he visits the oil storage complex in Cushing.
President Obama will visit the 48-megawatt Copper Mountain Solar 1 facility in Boulder City, Nev., this week as part of a multistate trip to promote his energy policies. The president will also make stops in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Ohio on the trip Wednesday and Thursday.However, solar and wind power farms share one problem with shale oil fields: how to get their energy to market. With shale oil, it's pipelines. With wind and solar, it's high power transmission lines.
The Boulder City facility, operated by San Diego-based Sempra Energy, is the largest photovoltaic solar plant operating in the country and produces enough electricity to power 17,000 homes, the White House said. The plant sells its electricity to Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
The proposed new power lines would stretch through rural areas of the High Desert to connect a substation near the Cajon Pass with the utility’s Coolwater Substation, near Daggett. Edison officials say the project is needed to provide increased capacity in its power grid to enable the utility to deliver higher volumes of electricity generated from solar projects in the Mojave Desert to more densely populated areas in the San Bernardino Valley.I can't add anything that would rival that last paragraph for irony
Because the earliest the line could be completed is in 2018, some solar plants in the desert will be operational before then and the utility’s infrastructure may not be able to handle all of the new power they generate, officials said.
None of those problems would be an issue with the Keystone pipeline. However, despite obama's purported policy of "all of the above," I'm not holding my breath...