Friday, March 9, 2012

Obama Pressures Senate to Kill Canadian Keystone Pipeline Bid to Reduce Foreign Oil Dependence

WASHINGTON, D.C.. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Under pressure from the White House, Democrats with the majority vote in the Senate blocked a Republican bid Thursday to expedite approval for the development of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport tar sands oil from Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast. Even with President Obama urging Democrats to lobby against the pipeline, 11 senators sided with Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) lashed out at the administration, saying: "President Obama's personal pleas to wavering senators may have tipped the balance against this legislation. When it comes to delays over Keystone, anyone looking for a culprit should now look no further than the Oval Office." Democrats countered by pointing out that the pipeline's route has not been established; any impact to the price of gasoline remains conceptual at best. Environmental dangers also run high in the long-haul transport of dirty oil, which requires excessive amounts of energy to extract. But Obama's primary motivation was to uphold his pledge to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil -- a Republican talking point. "Canada is a foreign country. We import more than 25 percent of our oil from these aliens," Obama told reporters, his confusion visible. "I vowed to stop this practice in agreement with the GOP. I don't understand."

Interestingly, the United States is less dependent on foreign oil than it would seem, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. America produces 51 percent of its oil domestically. Of the remaining 49 percent, the bulk comes from the Western Hemisphere (North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean including U.S. territories). Only 18 percent of imported crude oil and petroleum products originate in Persian Gulf countries (Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates).

"If we truly want to wean our nation and our people off foreign oil, Canada is the place to start," White House press officials noted. "This is precisely what the Republicans have been demanding for years. But now that we agree with them, they've flipped their positions and are working against us. So what do they want? More reliance on other countries? They offered harsh criticisms of France during the Iraq War, but now they're fighting to outsource our energy production to freedom-hating, French-speaking nationalists in Canada. It makes no sense."

Obama added, "If Republicans want to move this project forward, they should at least find an American company to own the pipeline, not a foreign entity. This has all the backward logic of Bush's botched plan to use Dubai Ports World -- a Middle Eastern company -- to secure our shores from Middle Eastern terrorists."

On Friday morning, spokespeople from Sen. McConnell's office issued a statement to the press, clarifying the Republican Party's definition of a foreign country: "President Obama and his supporters have made a specious argument to kill the vital Keystone pipeline project by way of a logical fallacy. When we say a country is 'foreign,' we of course mean in its overall composition, culture and appearance. Canada -- a largely Caucasian, mostly English-speaking, Christian nation -- is our neighbor and ally. Mexico -- with its endless mix of brown people, indigenous religions, strange native cultural norms, and different language -- is a foreign country. The GOP is interested in stopping only those oil imports from brown, non-Christian nations with exotic cultures and spicy foods. The Middle East, Africa, Venezuela, places like that. This rationale also explains why we stand assured that President Obama is a foreign-born Muslim who has no legal claim to his office."

(c) 2012. See disclaimers.

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