Keystone: Mr. Obama, this is your Nike moment (just do it)

President Obama has run out of excuses. No matter. He now seems committed to vacillation and procrastination without any reason or pretext.

When the Nebraska Supreme Court recently tossed out an effort to stop the proposed route for the Keystone XL pipeline, it effectively removed Obama’s latest vacuous excuse for indecision. His response? More indecision.

President Obama's justifications for inaction on Keystone are so convoluted and illogical they border on comical. It is a bizarre dichotomy for a president enamored of ruling by executive fiat.

Congress, understandably frustrated with a president who cannot seem to decide on the pipeline, is now moving ahead to do it without him. The Senate and House are advancing legislation to take away the decision-making from the “Indecider-In-Chief.” Passage is expected at the end of the month.

President Obama's justifications for inaction on Keystone are so convoluted and illogical they border on comical. It is a bizarre dichotomy for a president enamored of ruling by executive fiat.

Since Obama is vowing a veto, the only unanswered question is whether enough Democrats will join Republicans to overrule him. Two-thirds of both chambers must vote to override a veto, which has never happened to the 44th president.

With the battle enjoined, it is clear Obama wants to keep the power. He just can’t bring himself to exercise it. His justifications for inaction are so convoluted and illogical they border on comical. It is a bizarre dichotomy for a president enamored of ruling by executive fiat.

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    Every time a government study is published, Obama commissions a new one to buy himself more time. The last one was published a full year ago. It advised him that “the proposed pipeline would serve the national interest” both economically and environmentally. But that only prompted him to contrive a new, alternative excuse –the Nebraska litigation, which has now run its course.

    In truth, the decision should be a “no-brainer.” Here is why.

    Carbon Emissions

    Keystone is one of the most exhaustively engineered and researched construction projects in modern history. There have been 5 environmental impact studies completed over the course of 6 long years. The latest, from the Department of State consumes 11 mind-numbing volumes.

    All these studies have reached the same, inexorable conclusion: the pipeline will not significantly increase carbon pollution. To the contrary, it will help reduce it. How? It’s quite simple.

    Transporting 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada through a contained and protected pipeline in the U.S. emits a very low level of carbon into the atmosphere. The Environmental Protection Agency places it at less than 1 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The impact is infinitesimal.

    However, if the pipeline is not built, the oil will instead continue to be transported by truck and rail. The State Department study determines that the burning of diesel fuel and electric rail operations produce emissions that are “28 to 42 percent greater than for the proposed pipeline.”

    So, how can environmentalists claim Keystone will be devastating for the environment? Perhaps they never bothered to read or comprehend the reports. More likely, their zealousness obscures their judgment and common sense. It is impossible to reason with the unreasonable, especially if their ideology is blind to facts and science.

    Thus, every day environmentalists succeed in delaying the pipeline, the more they are the ones who are harming the environment. I am sure the irony is lost on them.

    Safety

    Environmentalists and President Obama, are also costing precious human lives. The State Department study concludes that current truck and rail transportation of oil results in at least 6 deaths and 49 injuries each year, compared to no fatalities if the pipeline is built.

    The history of rail accidents involving transported oil has been catastrophic. The worst one in 2013 triggered a thunderous explosion that wiped out an entire town. 47 people were killed. They might be alive today had Obama approved Keystone long ago.

    The pipeline itself will be the safest ever built with 58 special conditions enforced by federal regulators to protect against breaches or spills. By comparison, rail accidents are frequent and create much larger spills with more severe environmental damage.

    And yet Obama won’t decide.

    Economic impact

    For a president who joked belatedly that his promise of “shovel-ready” jobs was a fraud, Keystone XL is an economic antidote. His own administration projects the project will create 42,000 jobs over two years, create $2 billion in earnings, add $ 3.4 billion to the GDP and generate more than $ 5 billion in tax revenue.

    Last month, the head of the Teamsters Union implored Obama to get off his duff and take action to begin construction. The Chamber of Commerce and a myriad of business leaders have also endorsed it. Bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate support Keystone. A recent Fox News poll finds that almost 70% of Americans are in favor of it.

    But the president can’t seem to decide.

    Broken promises

    A permit request to build Keystone was filed with the U.S. government way back in 2008. After missing several of his own decision deadlines over the course of 4 years, President Obama promised a definitive decision by the end of 2013. That vow resides in his trash heap of broken promises. At the conclusion of every environmental review he conjures up another vapid excuse to delay and dither. He rarely offers an explanation.

    The closest Obama has come to committing himself was in a speech at Georgetown University a year and a half ago. He announced he would approve Keystone only if “it does not significantly exacerbate the climate problem.” By his own standard then, he should fulfill his promise. Every single government study has produced the same result: Keystone will reduce, not increase, carbon emissions.

    But still, Obama cannot decide.

    When it comes to building a simple pipeline, Barack Obama is to presidential leadership what Charlie Brown is to his fellow “Peanuts” characters: wishy-washy. In a job that demands firmness, strength and command, Obama seems paralyzed by indecision, uncertainty and doubt.

    Charlie Brown was afflicted with self-doubt. Fed up, he wondered, “Why can’t I change just a little bit? I know! I’ll be wishy one day and washy the next.”

    There’s a lot of that going around these days. In the Oval Office.