Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keystone brings out the loons

I like Robert Redford as an actor, I really do. And I admire many of the things he has accomplished, many of the events he has helped to creat (like the Sundance Film Festival). But let's face it, he's no Paul Newman. Never was, never will be.

Politcally, Paul Newman was very much a traditional liberal, but as a successful businessman he also knew there was a limit. Robert Redford would do well to follow his former compatriots example. We all know Redford is a staunch environmentalist, and that's fine. But if he's going to jump into the fray on national issue, he should get his facts straight. Otherwise, he risks looking like a fool.


Case in point, Redford has penned an op-ed at HuffPo, praising Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Redford begins his piece with a deceptive statement:
President Obama has just rejected a permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline -- a project that promised riches for the oil giants and an environmental disaster for the rest of us.
Does he have a cite for the "environmental disaster" part? No, of course not. Is this project so incredibly different from every other pipeline out there that such a claim can be supported? No, of course not.

He then completely ignores reality and says:
Big Oil had their Congressional boosters put the president to an election-year test by forcing him to decide the pipeline's fate within 60 days.
This is the part that really gets me. One has to believe that Redford has been following this issue for some time, given his politics. But then he would have to know--if that was the case--that the Keystone XL project was fully vetted in 2009 and 2010. It was approved by the National Energy Board in March of 2011. The State of Nebraska found acceptable alternate routes for the pipeline and TransCanada has agreed to go with the State's choice. There's nothing left to do, but start building. And that was true LAST year.

But Obama and others in Congress stood in the way, even though the project would create thousands and thousands of jobs--which is what the administration is supposedly focused on--almost immediately. Congressional Republicans forced Obama's hand, it is true, but Obama's response--that more time was needed to study the project--is a crock. He's the one playing politics here, trying to keep his environmentalist supporters happy in an election year.

And as we can see from Redford's piece, it seems to be working.

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