NYT to Obama: Prohibit Pipeline to Choke-Off Oil Supply

March 11, 2013 - 12:40 PM

Barack Obama, Solyndra

President Barack Obama visits Solyndra, a solar energy company that got a $535-million loan from the Obama administration before going bankrupt. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The New York Times published an editorial on Sunday calling on President Barack Obama to prohibit construction of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring oil to the United States from Canada--but not to protect a fragile landscape in Nebraska or anywhere else in the United States.

The reason Obama should prohibit the pipeline, according to the Times, is to begin choking off America’s oil supply.

The paper thinks this is a good thing.

The Times was responding to a draft environmental impact statement on the latest version of the pipeline proposal that the State Department released a week ago. A year ago, the State Department rejected an earlier proposal from TransCanada, the company seeking to build the pipeline, because the route the company proposed at that time would have traversed the Sand Hills of Nebraska. TransCanada subsequently changed the route, and the State Department is now signaling that this new route would not cause significant environmental problems.

Under executive orders issued by past administrations, the president has assumed authority to approve pipelines that cross the international borders of the United States. The State Department carries out that authority.

“The 875-mile pipeline avoids the route of an earlier proposal that traversed the ecologically sensitive Sand Hills of Nebraska and threatened an important aquifer,” writes the Times. “It would carry 830,000 barrels a day of crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to pipelines in the United States and then onward to refineries on the Gulf Coast.”

Citing the State Department report, the Times says that refining and using the Canadian oil the pipeline would annually carry would yield about 17 percent more “greenhouse gas emissions” than the average oil now used in the United States.

“And by focusing on the annual figure, it fails to consider the cumulative year-after-year effect of steadily increasing production from a deposit that is estimated to hold 170 billion barrels of oil that can be recovered with today’s technology and may hold 10 times that amount altogether,” said the Times.

In the paper’s view, this is the real problem: The pipeline will increase the supply of oil in the marketplace. According to the New York Times, President Obama should use the force of government to stop that.

“Supporters of the pipeline have argued that this is oil from a friendly country and that Canada will sell it anyway,” said the Times. “We hope Mr. Obama will see the flaw in this argument. Saying no to the pipeline will not stop Canada from developing the tar sands, but it will force the construction of new pipelines through Canada itself. And that will require Canadians to play a larger role in deciding whether a massive expansion of tar sands development is prudent. At the very least, saying no to the Keystone XL will slow down plans to triple tar sands production from just under two million barrels a day now to six million barrels a day by 2030.”

Less oil, of course, equals higher gasoline prices.

In the New York Times’s view, America’s “appetite for oil” must be curtailed--and Obama can help do that by stopping the pipeline.

“In itself, the Keystone pipeline will not push the world into a climate apocalypse,” said the Times. “But it will continue to fuel our appetite for oil and add to the carbon load in the atmosphere. There is no need to accept it.”

When Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, the average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline was about $1.79, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In January 2013, the average price of a gallon of unleaded was about $3.31