Are we living in a Banana Republic? A place where laws are passed for fun and broken for sport?
That’s what Wall Street Journal Latin American affairs columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady, who covers Banana Republics for the newspaper, wants to know.
In a column published today, O’Grady accuses Obama of UNMITIGATED CYNICISM AND ABUSE OF POWER in his handling of the Keystone XL pipeline, suggesting his behavior is worthy of the Chavistas and likely to chill future investors in U.S. infrastructure.
Like all Banana Republic satraps, this one is claiming perfect adherence to the laws of the land, even as he bends them for his own political ends.
The White House has been piously intoning that the decision to reject the pipeline arises from nothing less than its fanatical devotion to proper procedure, preaching the line that the State Department must perform its due diligence and analyze the environmental impact of a new route for the project through Nebraska.
But . . .well . . . the State Department is only analyzing the new route because it decided it didn’t want to accept the results of its own three year analysis of the old route, which determined that it wouldn’t ugly up Nebraska a single bit.
This is exactly what happens in Banana Republics, where they say things like, “I don’t like the results of this election! Let’s have a new election!”
As O’Grady puts it:
State had already issued three environmental impact statements over three years finding that there would be “no significant impact” on the environment from the pipeline. But as it prepared to issue its final ruling, the environmental lobby descended on the White House with protests.
Within days, State announced that a rerouting in Nebraska was necessary, which implied yet another round of environmental impact studies.
Obama said well, we’ll just have to wait until the new studies are in before I make a decision. That would delay the possible disappointing of Obama’s peevish environmental allies and his deep pocketed Prius-owning crowd of donors until after the election.
So Congress passed a law, A LAW, MIND YOU, requiring Obama to make a decision a little sooner – like in two months – since State had already spent three years on the taxpayers’ dime a thinkin’ and a thinkin’ and it was time, you know, to move your bowels or remove yourself from the commode.
Now, the law, THE LAW, MIND YOU, required Obama to base his decision not on whether State should keep considering the matter until after Obama’s political problems were behind him, but to decide on the merits of the project. Not on its impact on the ozone layer, the temperature of the earth, rare species of mollusks, or any other issues related to The Great Outdoors.
The three bullet points that cover this point in the rider couldn’t be much clearer: First, “the final environmental impact statement issued by the Secretary of State on August 26, 2011, satisfies all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 . . . and section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.” Second, “any [my emphasis] modification” to the route “shall not require supplementation of the final environmental impact statement . . .” Third, “no further Federal environmental review shall be required.”
Congress anticipated that Mr. Obama would try to use the complex process of environmental study as a fig leaf for further delaying the pipeline.
And the Commandante – I mean, the president – decided to ignore all of this and reject the pipeline because, in his own words,
. . . the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment.
Waiiiiit a second el Presidente. Are you rewriting laws by executive order? Like in Havana? You can’t decide this on the environment. According to the law, if you fail to make a “national interest” determination and instead make an “Obama interest” determination, the pipeline goes ahead as planned.
And so, mi amigos, we’ll see whether Sr. Boehner and his Sr. McConnell have the cojones to have the law enforced.