- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Affordable power dissolves liberal fantasies. White House wise men insist on spending the public’s money to promote retro power plants such as windmills, which went out of fashion with the Industrial Revolution.

Eliminating the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would take cheap crude from the oil sands of Canada down to the Gulf Coast of Texas, is nevertheless a liberal priority.

President Obama, whose passion is basketball, has employed the “four corners” strategy he picked up in his days shooting hoops in junior high school to stall on energy, and particularly the pipeline.

In the early days of basketball, before the slam dunk became all, teams of modest talent could get a lead and press the advantage by passing the ball endlessly around the perimeter of the court until the clock ran out.

The NBA undermined the “four corners” offense by installing a 24-second shot clock that forces teams to take a shot. Mr. Obama’s version of the “four corners” strategy passes the Keystone decision around the federal bureaucracy without anyone having to make a decision.

The State Department seems to be tiring of throwing the ball around, and the administration may soon be up against the buzzer.

Nine years have gone by since the idea of a transcontinental pipeline to bring oil from the Sedimentary Basin in Alberta, Canada, to the ports of Houston was first proposed.

To keep political benefactors in the environmental movement smiling, Mr. Obama keeps asking for more studies. The latest ploy was his demand that the State Department review the environmental impact of the project, the fifth federal examination of the project.

The study is now complete, the State Department has no objections, and the White House is running out of places to throw the ball.

The 11-volume State Department report finds that the project would have negligible effects on global warming, even if there is such a man-induced problem.

The report acknowledges the obvious; namely, the Canadians are not going to keep the oil in the ground forever. If we don’t buy it, they’ll sell it to someone else. Rejection of the Keystone pipeline won’t lower the temperature of the planet by a single degree.

Radical environmentalists, whose deep pockets the Democrats need for the fall elections, will never admit their agitations have been in vain.

“If President Barack Obama truly wants to be able to tell his kids he did everything he could to combat climate change,” says Greenpeace Canada, “then he must reject this pipeline, because it is a fuse to one of the largest carbon bombs on the planet.” Carbon bomb. That’s a new one.

The “carbon” refers to carbon dioxide, the same substance we exhale, and the “bomb” is what enables plants to grow and thrive. The State Department says the pipeline won’t even make a mess in the countryside.

“Keystone has agreed to avoidance and mitigation measures,” write the State Department analysts, “to minimize negative impacts to all populations in the proposed project area.” That includes tunneling under rivers and routing around sensitive environmental areas when possible.

The economic upside is huge. “During construction,” says the State Department, “proposed project spending would support approximately 42,100 jobs (direct, indirect and induced) and approximately $2 billion in earnings throughout the United States.”

Using Obama stimulus math, those jobs would cost at least $12 billion if funded by taxpayers. The Keystone project costs taxpayers nothing.

Mr. Obama has failed to turn the American economy around after a half-decade of trying. This project ought to be a no-brainer.

The administration is on the shot clock, and soon the greenies must take their foolish fears and figments of overwrought imagination to the basement to stew alone about that dud of a carbon bomb.

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