Katie Kieffer

Recycling is fine. Conservation is fine. But sometimes greenies cross the line. They expect you and me to go jobless and hungry so they can save a porcupine.

President Obama has been pampering his radical greenie friends for far too long. Even the Presidents’ State Department has thrice declared Keystone XL to be environmentally safe. Let’s build it already.

Keystone XL is a well-thought-out project that has been in the hopper since 2005 when TransCanada Corp. initially proposed it. Canada’s National Energy Board approved the project on its end in 2007. Five years later, in April of 2013, Canada is still patiently waiting for us to approve this no-brainer, win-win $7 billion jobs and energy infrastructure project.

Here are the facts. Keystone XL would mean:

A daily surge of between 700,000 and 800,000 barrels of crude oil for America.

• Stronger relations with our neighbor and ally, Canada.

• No significant negative impact on the environment.

• Employment for individuals in the construction sector, which has been hard-hit by the recession (the construction unemployment rate is over 16 percent).

The Keystone XL pipeline would initiate in Alberta and then traverse across six states in the contiguous U.S. to its final destination of Texas Gulf Coast refineries. One of these six states is Nebraska, home of Obama’s dear friend Warren Buffet.

Buffett opposes Keystone XL because it means that he will lose some of the profit he’s pulling from his $26 billion 2009 investment in Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company.

Railroads are highly dangerous, inefficient and unreliable as a means of transporting crude oil. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that pipelines transport more crude at less risk of incurring a leak or spill than railroads and that railroad spills are up more than tenfold. Plus, pipelines take routes that are located further from dense population zones, making them safer, even if there is a spill.

Luckily for you, Buffet does not represent Nebraska in the U.S. Senate. Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) recently authored H.R. 3, which would bypass President Obama’s unconstitutional and unreasonable use of executive authority (known as a “presidential permit” in this case) to block Keystone XL.

This month, Robert E. Hogfoss and Catherine D. Little published a piece in the National Law Journal explaining that: “… permits are a creation of the executive branch alone, with no legislative authorization and limited judicial review to date. Presidential permits are intended to provide executive branch review of trans-border facilities and commercial activities between the United States and either Canada or Mexico. No statute authorizes their creation or use, and few regulations govern their review or issuance.”

In other words, there is no hard constitutional or statutory basis for presidential permits. The President really has no business controlling or blocking free enterprise in America or the development of America’s natural resources. But, U.S. Presidents have become quite savvy at finding legitimate-sounding ways to grant themselves whatever power the Constitution does not give them.

President Roosevelt was the first U.S. President to use his executive authority to claim that Congress would need a so-called “presidential permit” in order to approve trans-border natural gas or electric operations. And the rest is history. President Obama now appears to be contemplating using a “presidential permit” to stall Keystone XL.

I recently asked Canadian writer Alex Snyder to give me his take on Keystone XL:

“Canada relies on America for 97 percent of its energy exports, so to say this deal is important for our country would be accurate. The main environmental concerns from certain groups in America is the fact that there is a risk of an oil spill… First, there's risk of a spill in any oil transportation method, so the argument is invalid. Second, tar sands are becoming more environmentally friendly due to stricter environmental regulations from the Canadian government. American environmental groups show little understanding of Canadian politics when they question production methods. Additionally, most companies in the oil sands are continually improving extraction methods to limit their environmental impact, and have incentive to do so. No oil company enjoys the negative publicity that arises from environmental carnage. …Canadians realize Keystone XL… should be approved; it’s just embarrassing that it’s being held up by environmental fanatics.”

The bottom line is that we risk jeopardizing our relationship with Canada and losing economic growth opportunity out of false fears of environmental repercussions. Let’s stop pampering the greenies and build Keystone XL.


Katie Kieffer

Katie Kieffer is the author of a new book published by Random House, LET ME BE CLEAR: Barack Obama’s War on Millennials and One Woman’s Case for Hope.” She writes a weekly column for Townhall.com. She also runs KatieKieffer.com.