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Obama Will High-Five Keystone -- and Flip Environmentalists the Bird

Posted: 02/15/2013 1:11 pm

The big decision about Keystone pipeline will soon be upon us. I predict President Obama will flip the bird to the U.S. environmental movement and approve the Keystone pipeline from the Alberta oil sands into and through the United States.

I agree with Andrew Restuccia when he suggests, in a very astute Politico article, that Obama is going to try to appeal to both sides on this issue.

I believe Obama will grant permission to the Keystone pipeline, but he will also impose stronger rules and regulations relating to coal-fired plants.He will attempt to kick-start the fledgling green energy industry with some more green-energy initiatives. Look for some more heavily-subsidized wind turbine deals and solar panel start-ups.

Contrary to the opinion of columnist Terence Corcoran of the National Post, I do not think Obama will impose a carbon tax. That would require Congressional consent. He will never get that. But he will not kibosh the Keystone pipeline either. There are too many Democratic Congressmen and Senators who are dependent upon Democratic voters screaming for the jobs that this pipeline will create. And all the economic direct and indirect benefits that will accrue. There are too many jobs on the line to stop this pipeline.

The anti-Keystone environmentalists have no where else to go, politically. They will never depart to the Republican side. The Democratic blue collar and white collar workers, on the other hand, could gravitate to the Republicans who are supportive of Keystone and the energy jobs that this pipeline will create.

My prediction is that if Obama nixes Keystone, he will lose the Senate, the Democrats will be further diminished in Congress and he will never get any other substantive legislation through in the next two years. Obama will also be hammered on the national security front, for undermining American energy and national security, by thumbing his nose at Canada, the U.S.'s major ally.

Canada will just redouble its efforts to attract Chinese investment in the oil sands. And the U.S. does not want its major competitor, China, well entrenched politically and economically in Canada. I predict Obama will approve Keystone, but throw some regulations at climate change, to at least minimize the anger on his left.

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  • 'Ethical oil'

    The term "ethical oil" has become the centrepiece of a new application for a classic marketing strategy. After being added to the Conservative political lexicon, the slogan is slowly beginning to creep into the public discourse. And like other attempts by industry and advocacy groups to use value judgements to alter public opinion, it has the potential to change the way we think about Canadian oil.

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  • Ethical Oil

    An ad from <a href="http://www.ethicaloil.org/" target="_hplink">ethicaloil.org</a>, a new site trying to rebrand Alberta's oil sands.

  • Ethical Oil

    An ad from <a href="http://www.ethicaloil.org/" target="_hplink">ethicaloil.org</a>, a new site trying to rebrand Alberta's oil sands.

  • 'Pork. The other white meat'

    In 1987, pork producers in the United States were steadily losing ground to chicken and turkey, which prompted the National Pork Producers Council to take a different tack. To counter the still-widespread belief that pork was a red meat, The New York Times reports that the council set out to appeal to health-conscious consumers by reminding them that pork was in fact <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1987/01/15/business/advertising-dressing-pork-for-success.html" target="_hplink">considered a white meat</a>. The series of print and TV ads that followed featured pork prepared in ways that had been traditionally been reserved for poultry, such as cordon bleu and cacciatore a l'orange, as well as a new slogan: "Pork. The other white meat." (After nearly 25 years, the council recently changed its well-known catch phrase to "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/04/pork-be-inspired-slogan-other-white-meat_n_831331.html" target="_hplink">Pork: Be inspired</a>.") (AP File Photo)

  • Pork Commercial

    Pork, the other white meat.

  • 'Fair trade coffee'

    Though tracing the precise history of the fair trade movement is difficult, most observers agree that the concept was popularized by its application to the coffee industry. The <a href="http://www.maxhavelaar.nl/faq/how-did-it-start?destination=english&backtitle=FAQ's" target="_hplink">first official fair trade label</a> was launched by a Dutch NGO, which imported the pioneering fair trade product -- coffee from Mexico -- to the Netherlands in 1988. Billed as an effort to secure better prices for producers, and guarantee certain environmental and labour standards, the demand for fair trade coffee quickly spread. But it's still a niche item that carries a premium: as The Toronto Star pointed out in 2007, only a small percentage of the java bought by coffee-giant Starbucks is <a href="http://www.thestar.com/living/article/250730" target="_hplink">fairly traded</a>. (Photo: Getty Images)

  • Starbucks is the largest purchaser of Fair Trade Coffee

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  • 'Clean coal'

    The notion of coal as a clean source of energy was thrust into the spotlight in the United States in 2008, when a $40-million industry-sponsored campaign helped make it a talking point during the presidential race. An attempt to counter the public perception of coal as an acid rain-causing, environmental scourge, Businessweek observed that the <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_26/b4090055452749.htm" target="_hplink">"clean coal" campaign</a> tugged at the heartstrings with emotional TV ads featuring teachers and farmers -- and won the endorsement of both presidential candidates. (AP Photo)

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    The recognition in the late 1990s that diamonds were being used to fuel bloody conflicts in African countries like Angola and Sierra Leone prompted the United Nations Security Council to find some way to track the movement of the precious stones. The resulting identification scheme, dubbed the <a href="http://www.globalwitness.org/campaigns/conflict/conflict-diamonds/kimberley-process" target="_hplink">Kimberley Process</a>, was put in place in 2003 to separate so-called blood or conflict diamonds from those used to fund legitimate governments. Though the process remains imperfect, the terminology was cemented in the minds of the general public, and soon found its way into popular culture: Edward Zwick's 2006 film Blood Diamond grossed more than US$171 million. (AP Photo)

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    Trailer for the movie 'Blood Diamond'

  • 'Dolphin-safe tuna'

    Dolphins tend to stick close to the surface, making them easy to spot, and easy prey for fisherman angling to catch tuna, which often swim alongside the large mammals. Despite several attempts by the United States government to limit the killing of dolphins by U.S. fishing boats, by 1990 the practice of purposefully ensnaring <a href="http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aer793/aer793f.pdf" target="_hplink">dolphins in tuna nets</a> became so widespread -- and so highly publicized -- that it had prompted a public boycott of canned tuna. In response, Congress instituted a consumer labelling program, and canneries that bought from fisherman that steered clear of dolphins started identifying their product as "Dolphin safe." Though the designation initially carried a premium, the program soon spread throughout the industry, making the additional cost worthwhile. (AP Photo)

 

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