The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler has given four Pinocchios to President Barack Obama for his statement that the Keystone XL pipeline proposal “bypasses the United States.”
After Obama had vetoed a bill in Congress last week to approve the construction of the oil pipeline from Canada, he made a deceptive statement to a North Dakota radio station defending his position, according to Kessler.
“I’ve already said I’m happy to look at how we can increase pipeline production for U.S. oil, but Keystone is for Canadian oil to send that down to the Gulf,” Obama said during the interview.
“It bypasses the United States and is estimated to create a little over 250, maybe 300 permanent jobs. We should be focusing more broadly on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers, and that’s something that we very much support.”
But Kessler said that Obama had repeated false claims about Keystone and managed to make his statements “even more misleading than before” by suggesting that the pipeline would not benefit American producers “at all.”
“The Fact Checker … takes no position on the pipeline, and has repeatedly skewered both sides for overinflated rhetoric,” Kessler wrote. “Yet the president’s latest comments especially stand out.
“When the president says ‘it bypasses the United States,’ he leaves out a very important step. The crude oil would travel to the Gulf Coast, where it would be refined into products such as motor gasoline and diesel fuel.
“Current trends suggest that only about half of that refined product would be exported, and it could easily be lower.”
Kessler noted that a report released in February by IHS Energy, which consults for energy companies, said that “Canadian crude making its way to the USGC [Gulf Coast] will likely be refined there, and most of the refined products are likely to be consumed in the United States.”
Although environmentalists say IHS comments are self-serving, the findings are similar to those in the State Department’s environmental impact statements on the Keystone XL project.
“This is what is especially strange about Obama’s remarks, as he appears to be purposely ignoring the findings of the lead Cabinet agency on the issue,” Kessler wrote.
The Fact Checker also noted that although Obama claims that Keystone is just for Canadian oil, the pipeline would actually help U.S. oil producers in North Dakota and Montana.
“Moreover, U.S. companies control about 30 percent of the production in Canada’s oil sands region,” Kessler wrote. “Thus, contrary to Obama’s suggestion, it is not strictly Canadian.
“When Obama first started making the claim that the crude oil in the Keystone pipeline would bypass the United States, we wavered between Three and Four Pinocchios — and strongly suggested he take the time to review the State Department report. Clearly, the report remains unread.”
Kessler concluded by saying: “The president’s latest remarks pushes this assertion into the Four Pinocchios column. If he disagrees with the State Department’s findings, he should begin to make the case why it is wrong, rather than assert the opposite, without any factual basis.
“Moreover, by telling North Dakota listeners that the pipeline has no benefit for Americans, he is again being misleading, given that producers in the region have signed contracts to transport some of their production through the pipeline.”