Opinion

GOLDSTEIN

Panicked Clinton flips on Keystone

By Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in the gymnasium of Moulton Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa, September 22, 2015.  REUTERS/Brian C. Frank

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in the gymnasium of Moulton Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa, September 22, 2015. REUTERS/Brian C. Frank

With her announcement Tuesday she now opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton executed a 180-degree backflip on the issue.

Give her reversal a 0 out of 10 for logic -- there isn’t any -- and a 10 out of 10 for political opportunism.

Clinton, who in 2010 as U.S. secretary of state said she was inclined to approve Keystone based on the need for U.S. energy security, flip-flopped because polls show she’s trailing Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who opposes Keystone, in the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Other than that, Clinton’s reversal -- she still leads Sanders in national polling -- makes no sense.

The State Department she headed from 2009 to 2013 has reported twice after exhaustive reviews that Keystone will not significantly increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to climate change.

That used to be U.S. President Barack Obama’s condition for approving Keystone, which would ship bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, before he started making up new ones to appease radical U.S. environmentalists and billionaire Democratic party fundraisers.

In fact, the State Department found, GHG emissions will rise by up to 42% if Keystone isn’t approved, because the demand for oil isn’t going away and the alternative -- shipping it by rail -- will result in higher emissions.

But logic has nothing to do with the U.S. decision on Keystone, which Obama has delayed for six years.

Obama’s lap dog Environmental Protection Agency has since written him an embarrassing two-and-a-half page opinion that reads like a high school essay, arguing if oil prices stay depressed forever, which has never happened, Keystone could someday increase GHG emissions.

The purpose of this flimsy EPA opinion was to give Obama political cover to reject Keystone, which he doesn’t need because the decision is his alone, as it will be for his successor.

Clinton said Tuesday she didn’t oppose Keystone based on its merits but because the political debate in America about it is a “distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change”.

Obama basically said the same thing in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in April 2012, where he admitted: “The reason that Keystone got so much attention is not because that particular pipeline is a make-or-break issue for climate change” but because of its symbolic value.

In fact, almost everything Obama says about Keystone these days is a lie, as the Washington Post’s Fact Checker feature noted earlier this year in giving him its worst possible “Four Pinocchios” rating, meaning the president is telling “whoppers”.

The Post tore apart Obama’s false claim Keystone only benefits Canada because the oil it delivers will simply pass through the U.S. before being exported, noting it will also benefit U.S. oil producers in North Dakota and Montana in getting their oil to the Gulf Coast, as well as American companies operating in the oil sands, where they control 30% of production.

But again, this is politics, where facts don’t matter.

Obama and now Clinton have made it clear that for the sake of their own checkered political careers, they’re prepared to sacrifice America’s best interests, in addition to spitting in the face of a loyal Canadian ally.

What they’ve done is beneath contempt.

 


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