WashPost Editorial Slams Obama's Nixing Keystone Pipeline, But Then Calls for Higher Gas Taxes

In denouncing President Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline project today, the Washington Post gets it right, but not for the Right's (pun intended) reasons, defending the job-creating project from a liberal position.

The Post editorial board argued today that approving the Keystone XL project "should've been an easy call for the administration." "We almost hope this was a political call because, on the substance, there should be no question," the editorial board concluded, laying out a case from the Left as to why stopping the pipeline isn't going to do squat to "reduce global warming" anyway. But, being the Post, they concluded with a call for higher gas taxes:

We almost hope this was a political call because, on the substance, there should be no question. Without the pipeline, Canada would still export its bitumen — with long-term trends in the global market, it’s far too valuable to keep in the ground — but it would go to China. And, as a State Department report found, U.S. refineries would still import low-quality crude — just from the Middle East. Stopping the pipeline, then, wouldn’t do anything to reduce global warming, but it would almost certainly require more oil to be transported across oceans in tankers.

Environmentalists and Nebraska politicians say that the route TransCanada proposed might threaten the state’s ecologically sensitive Sand Hills region. But TransCanada has been willing to tweak the route, in consultation with Nebraska officials, even though a government analysis last year concluded that the original one would have “limited adverse environmental impacts.” Surely the Obama administration didn’t have to declare the whole project contrary to the national interest — that’s the standard State was supposed to apply — and force the company to start all over again.


...clearly, constructing the pipeline would still result in job gains during a sluggish economic recovery.

There are far fairer, far more rational ways to discourage oil use in America, the first of which is establishing higher gasoline taxes. Environmentalists should fight for policies that might actually do substantial good instead of tilting against Keystone XL, and President Obama should have the courage to say so.

So the Post is half-right for the wrong reasons, perhaps, but it's telling that a liberal newspaper generally supportive of Obama is denouncing the president for being beholden to the leftist environmental lobby and not the overarching interests of the American people.

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Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.