Keystone obstructionism, like the pipeline itself, defies consumer interests

"Tyson Slocum" gasAs Reuters reports: “The U.S. Senate could vote as early as Thursday on a plan to fast-track the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, a bid that is unlikely to attract enough Democratic support to pass but will give its Republican supporters an opening to criticize President Barack Obama’s energy policies.”

The Keystone pipeline has been added on as an amendment to the House version of the much-debated transportation bill.

Public Citizen Energy Program Director Tyson Slocum, an oil and gas expert, had this to say of the House’s transportation rider:

It’s obstructionism at its worst to add the Keystone pipeline project as an amendment to the transportation bill.  The Keystone pipeline is irrelevant both in terms of domestic energy security and gas prices. The pipeline is designed to import Canadian crude, refine it, then export the U.S.-refined gasoline and diesel for sale to other countries, a pass-through that would do nothing for American consumers.

Slocum, who blogged about the American Petroleum Institute’s PR war framing on this issue for Citizen Vox a month ago,  continued: “In fact, Keystone’s export function will lead to higher gasoline prices for Americans.”

The idea that Keystone would help solve energy needs is a convenient ploy for Republicans to ignore real factors affecting gas prices, like rampant financial speculation on the energy commodity markets, where traders engage in short and long selling splicing and dicing that ought to give anyone who remembers sub-prime mortgage crash the shivers. Obama has not stooped so low himself, but his “reconstitution” of a task-force to look into financial speculation’s effect on gas prices is telling of the widespread cognitive dissonance in Washington, where the deep-pockets of Big Energy companies regularly command elected officials to turn a blind eye.