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.