. Energy News .

Obama rejects bid to tie pipeline to tax row
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Dec 7, 2011

President Barack Obama Wednesday warned he would reject any bid by Republicans to make his plans for a payroll tax cut conditional on his prompt backing for a contentious US-Canada oil pipeline.

As he met Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who supports the Keystone XL project, Obama staked out a tough stand on the latest pre-election year spat with congressional Republicans.

His intervention came after some Republicans in the House of Representatives suggested they may not approve any extension of a payroll tax cut that Obama is pushing unless he makes a swift decision on Keystone.

"First of all, any effort to try to tie Keystone to the payroll tax cut, I will reject," Obama said as he stood beside Harper at a press conference.

"So, everybody should be on notice. And the reason is because the payroll tax cut is something that House Republicans, as well as Senate Republicans, should want to do regardless of any other issues," he said.

"I don't expect to have to veto it, because I expect they're going to have enough sense over on Capitol Hill to do the people's business and not try to load it up with a bunch of politics."

Democrats and Republicans are generally in agreement on passing an extension to a cut in 6.2 percent payroll taxes that fund the social security retirement system, but are far apart on exactly how to pay for the reductions.

Democrats want to hike income taxes on the richest Americans but Republicans are calling for a freeze in hiring of federal workers and oppose more burdens on wealthy citizens who they say create jobs.

Obama says the plans will offer working Americans a $1,500 pay rise next year, and warn everyone will pay an extra $1,000 in taxes if the extension is not passed.

Supporters say the plan to bring oil from Canada's tar sands to the United States is the ultimate shovel-ready job creation project and could spur the hiring of thousands of workers.

Environmental activists fear an accident along the 1,700-mile (2,700-kilometer) pipeline extension would be disastrous for aquifers in central US Great Plains states.

Others oppose the multibillion-dollar project because exploiting the tar sands requires energy that generates a large volume of greenhouse gases that scientists blame for global warming.

The Obama administration has ordered an extra environmental assessment of a possible new route through Nebraska, which could delay a final decision until after next November's election.

That move prompted Obama's opponents to accuse him of dodging a difficult issue to avoid angering sections of his Democratic political base vote.

Republicans welcomed Obama's threat of a new confrontation over the pipeline, in a frenetic period of political wrangling between the White House and Congress ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

"We are working on a bill to stop a tax hike, protect Social Security, reform unemployment insurance, and create jobs," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner.

"If President Obama threatens to veto it over a provision that creates American jobs, that's a fight we're ready to have."

Harper's government had pressed Obama to approve the pipeline, which would stretch through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma before ending up in Texas.

Canada, the pipeline's lead company TransCanada, and Obama's Republican opponents say the $7 billion project would provide the United States with a stable source of energy from an ally and create thousands of jobs.

"While it might make for inconvenient politics for the President, the administration is out of excuses and running out of time," Boehner said.

"Prime Minister Harper has made clear that if this project is not approved, American competitors, such as China, will gain from our loss."

In its long-awaited environmental impact statement on the project, the State Department said in August that the pipeline would be safer than most current oil transportation systems. But it later decided more study was needed.

Environmental campaigners praised Obama's tough talk.

"I'm glad to see President Obama stand up to Prime Minister Harper and the oil industry's friends in Congress by affirming his commitment to a rigorous review and by pledging to veto legislation that would rush a decision," said Kim Huynh, dirty fuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth US.

Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Bulgaria pulls out of Russia-Greece oil pipeline
Sofia (AFP) Dec 7, 2011
Bulgaria said on Wednesday it was pulling out of a long-stalled pipeline project meant to bring Russian oil to Greece through its territory, but Athens and Moscow said they remained committed. "Bulgaria suggests cancelling the project by mutual agreement. Otherwise, it will back out unilaterally in 12 months," Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said. The government said the project, origina ... read more

Carbon dioxide emissions rebound quickly after global financial crisis

Global Carbon Project annual emissions summary

Stanford scientists subject rocks to hellish conditions to combat global warming

NZ sees carbon market with Australia, possibly with EU

China urges compromise in Juba, Khartoum oil row

Canada approves major oil sands expansion

Iraq pressures Exxon over deal with Kurds

Argentine blockade upsets Spain, U.K.

Mortenson Construction Completes Elk Wind Project

Enel: More new wind capacity in Iberia

AREVA Wind M5000-135 offshore turbine evolves proven M5000 platform

New Bladed link to offshore code checking tools

Enecsys and SMTC Partner to Build Next-Gen Solar Energy Conversion Technology

City of Dinuba Goes Solar

SCE and G and Boeing Flip the Switch on Large Rooftop Solar Project

Exceptional Aesthetics of Customized Solar Modules from Odersun Are Recognized

Japan plant operator mulls new nuclear water dump

India uranium sales 'unique': Australia

How sustainable is nuclear power for the UK

After Fukushima, the nuclear industry wonders what's next

US Navy in big biofuel purchase

E. Coli Bacteria Engineered to Eat Switchgrass and Make Transportation Fuels

OSU study questions cost-effectiveness of biofuels and their ability to cut fossil fuel use

Mast from classic racing yacht holds one of the keys to sustainable biofuels

First Crew for Tiangong

China post office offers letters from space

15 patents granted for Chinese space docking technology

China plans major effort in pursuing manned space technology

World must learn to 'manage the planet': UNEP chief

UN climate talks eye carbon levy on shipping

Climate talks deadlocked as ministers haggle

Climate dilemma: Has Kyoto run its course?


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement