“Canada is a sovereign nation and we will develop our resources with appropriate regulations and enforcement to protect the environment,” said Paula Caldwell St-Onge. The Consulate General of Canada, St-Onge was in Albuquerque to talk up, and answer questions about, the Keystone pipeline.
She’d done media interviews prior to her arrival at the University of New Mexico Science and Technology Park where a smattering of aggressive, sign-waving Keystone opponents awaited. Security escorted St-Onge from the parking lot to the meeting room.
I, too, was addressing the folks who’d come in support of the controversial pipeline.
Sans security, I approached the rotunda alone. (Guards were present to keep the protesters from accosting the attendees who were bold enough to continue past the cluster of vocal opponents shouting accusations about “ruining the planet for the children.”)
When I passed by, one called out: “That’s Marita Noon! She supports the oil-and-gas industry! She doesn’t believe in climate change!” Basking in my newfound celebrity, I turned, smiled, and waved as if I was greeting adoring fans—and entered the building.
I was the first speaker, followed by Bill Eden, international representative of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada. St-Onge rounded out the trio.
Always the optimist, I opened with: “This is an exciting time to be alive!” and addressed the fact that we were on the cusp of achieving the holy grail of energy security that had eluded decades of American presidents. I pointed out how the Keystone pipeline was an important part of that goal. I talked about my visit to the Canadian oil sands and Mexico’s new energy reforms. I bragged about New Mexico’s energy riches.
I looked at St-Onge and repeated my frequent prediction that Keystone would not be approved under the Obama Administration. I stated: “We know that Obama doesn’t care about Republicans. We know he doesn’t care about the oil-and-gas industry. We may even question whether or not he cares about America. But he does care about his base—and, of his base, there are only two groups who care about the Keystone pipeline.” I asked the audience who those two groups were. They rightly asserted: “environmentalists” and “unions.”
I, then, explained what I call the Obama Doctrine—his primary mode of operation: “Reward your friends, punish your opposition.” With a shrug, I told them, “You don’t need to know anything more than that to know that Keystone will not be approved.”
At first the audience was puzzled—after all, both the environmentalists and the unions are “friends” of the Administration. I asked: “What have the unions done lately?” And answered: “Publically embarrassed Obama on his signature legislation.” The lights came on.
I backed up my view with a quote from the December 14 New York Times regarding John Podesta’s return to the White House: “his very presence could influence Mr. Obama’s thinking on the proposed pipeline from Canada’s oil sands—even though Mr. Podesta has said that he will recuse himself from the final decision because the liberal think tank he founded 10 years ago, the Center for American Progress, has been unsparingly critical of the entire enterprise.”
When St-Onge took the platform, she pointed to me and, in a jovial manner, said: “Marita, I hope you are wrong.” I called out: “I hope I am too! And, I hate to be wrong.”
All the while, the protesters were outside—at first pressing their signs against the windows (until the blinds were closed) and then shouting through a megaphone in a failed attempt to disrupt the meeting.
Fortunately, I’d had major plumbing problems at my home that morning. I am not happy that I had to leave two plumbers in my house when I headed off to speak at the Keystone meeting, but dealing with the problems prevented me from reading the pages of research I’d printed out on John Podesta and his views on the Keystone pipeline. I read them later in the day, on the plane on the way to join my family for Christmas.
Had I read everything I had on Podesta, I couldn’t have started with: “This is an exciting time to be alive!” I couldn’t have been my usual, positive, cheerleading self.
While I’ve been pessimistic about the future of the Keystone pipeline, I’ve spoken and written optimistically about America’s overall energy position and related politics. I’ve touted the increased domestic oil-and-gas development. I’ve pointed out the general demise of the climate change argument and the failure of Europe’s green energy policies. I’ve talked up the good-paying jobs provided by the energy industry. I’ve been encouraged by the changing politics in the other countries of the Anglosphere. I’ve said: “With my ear to the ground, I see good things coming…” But, with Podesta’s return to the White House as an advisor specializing in energy policy, I must admit my optimism was misplaced. I’ve been wrong. And, I hate to be wrong.
Having read extensively on Podesta and his policies, if I was giving the speech today, I’d have to start with: “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
The Daily Caller (DC) starts an article on Podesta’s White House return this way: “John Podesta’s return to the White House should have oil, gas and coal producers worried.” He is a former lobbyist and chief of staff to President Clinton. He is the founder of the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress (CAP)—which Bloomberg news called “an intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals.” Many Obama staffers and policies have come from CAP. The DC says: “In 2010, Podesta wrote the foreword for a CAP report on how the president could use his executive authority to advance a progressive agenda, including actions to unilaterally force the U.S. economy to become greener.” CAP and the name Podesta have come up repeatedly in the Green-energy Crony-corruption Scandal that I’ve covered extensively with Christine Lakatos.
The New York Times states: “Mr. Podesta’s main task will be to give the Environmental Protection Agency the support it needs to devise new rules controlling greenhouse gases from new and existing power plants.” And, “He will further elevate the issue of climate change.” The New Yorker Magazine’s coverage of the Podesta position agrees: “Podesta’s climate-change portfolio will therefore be limited largely to overseeing the implementation of E.P.A. regulations.”
Regarding Podesta’s role, The Hill reports: it's “likely to include administration decisions about how to lease out federal lands and which energy development and mining projects to permit.” It also cites Jay Carney as saying: “Podesta will help implement ‘executive actions where necessary when we can’t get cooperation out of Congress.’” And, states: “Officials and outside energy groups are particularly optimistic he’ll be able to advance the administration’s environmental agenda through administrative policy.” According to the New Yorker, Podesta believes that Obama needs “to be expansive in his use of executive power.”
Specifically addressing the Keystone pipeline, Podesta has said: “I think he should not approve it. I’m of the view that you just can’t meet the standard now that Obama set out: Does it or does it not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution? What are the net effects? And I think a fair review of that would say the net effects are big and they’re negative.” The New Yorker ends its “Podesta and the Pipeline” report with this: “If Obama approves the project, he will have to do so knowing that he is contradicting the assessment of his new climate-change adviser.” The Washington Free Beacon (WFB) claims: “President Obama has consigned Keystone to bureaucratic purgatory.”
According to the DC, the Keystone pipeline is: “A minor concern when compared to the potential regulatory onslaught that Podesta could unleash from within the White House”—about which the WFB coined the term “Regicide.”
Yes, oil, gas and coal producers should be worried—and the individuals and industries that count on America’s abundant, available and affordable energy should be afraid, very afraid.