Cutting short a permit review process expected to conclude this summer at earliest, President Obama today announced that he has decided to block the Keystone XL pipeline planned to carry more than 700,000 barrels a day of Canadian tar-sands crude into the country.
“After a careful process of deliberation, and a prophetic vision after Easter service on Sunday, I have determined that permitting construction [of the pipeline] would not serve the national interest of the United States,” Mr. Obama said in a surprise speech from the Oval Office on Monday morning.
The president acknowledged that, in announcing his decision today, he had preempted the 45-day period set to end in mid-April in which the State Department was to accept public comments on the project.
“The public input was just for show anyway. I originally told Secretary Kerry to shred the boxes once the comments were in. We’ve seen all the protests, we know people hate this thing and that there was just going to be a bunch of whining about oil spills destroying farmland and climate change and the influence of Big Oil and blah, blah, blah,” Mr. Obama said.
“I just wanted to approve the damn pipeline already so I could get back to kicking Paul Ryan’s butt on the budget.”
But the president said he started to question his planned course of action during the Easter service that the Obamas attended on Sunday at St. John’s Episcopal Church across Lafayette Square from the White House.
“In Dr. [Luis] Leon’s sermon, he talked about how the message of Easter is of the power of love over loveless power. The whole time I was thinking, ‘Wha?’ But later, when I started in on my Easter Bloody Mary, it began to make sense,” said Mr. Obama.
Uninvited brunch guests
The president said that, after arriving back at the White House for brunch, he came to a realization that Keystone XL was “just a way to drown America in the blood of the devil. And not even Sean Hannity could define that as loving, Christian behavior.”
This insight Mr. Obama claimed to have received in a vision of a Manichean battle between good and evil. “The spirit realm just burst into bloom before my eyes like a lily on Easter morning.”
“Or maybe it was just the Eggs Benedict,” offered the First Lady, rolling her eyes. “They seemed a little off.”
“But seriously, I’m chewing on the Canadian bacon,” Mr. Obama said, “and [Canadian Prime Minister] Stephen Harper starts appearing out of the Hollandaise sauce, glowering and cackling while floating over the Reagan china.”
“Then Harper is sidling up to me, like a little devil on my shoulder. And he’s saying ‘Listen here Barry, every day you jerk us around on Keystone, we’re losing millions. If you want us to to keep buying your F-35 fighter jets and bending over forwards for your crappy NAFTA deals, you better bow down and kiss the spigot. And I mean quick. It’s a complete no brainer.'”
Mr. Obama then explained that, as the vision continued, on his other shoulder appeared NASA Climatologist Dr. James Hansen, warning that it was “game over for the climate” if the president caved into pressure from Big Oil and approved the 1,700 mile pipeline.
“You don’t want to fry the planet like your chefs fried this egg, do you?” Hanson taunted.
Before the president could respond to Hansen that the egg was in fact poached, the mealtime apparition continued with a variety of oil industry CEOs and their lobbyists materializing as smooth-talking devils while environmental activists and religious leaders including the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu appeared as scolding angels.
“Ghastly. Ghastly. But a true story,” remarked the president, looking visibly shaken and yet curiously emboldened.
At one point, Jack Gerard, chief petroleum lobbyist, apologized for spending millions trying to defeat Mr. Obama in last year’s election. Then, Gerard tempted the president with the promise of U.S. energy independence within 15 years in exchange for approving the pipeline.
“I admit, it looked pretty good, a big supply of North American oil that would let us kick Venezuela to the curb.”
The president was then haunted by a troika consisting of climate-science denying Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), top GOP energy strategist Sarah Palin and underworld spokesman Donald Trump.
“They all chanted ‘Global warming is a hoax. You owe your presidency to the Kochs. Wall Street muscle is no joke! A hundred thousand jobs!'”
The president reported being a little annoyed by whitey’s lame rhyme skills and then suddenly being blinded by a bright light.
Pretty soon, somebody was washing the president’s size-12 feet.
The Vatican calling
“A voice said ‘Barack, my son, this is Francis,’ and it really was the new pope, just as I felt a bout of indigestion coming on,” Mr. Obama said.
“‘This too shall pass,’ the pope told me. ‘Just like the 5,000 or so temporary jobs from building the pipeline, sic transit gloria mundi.'”
According to the president, the pope went on to say that, if the pontiff himself could ride the subway, then ordinary Americans can certainly ride the “blessed bus. Lead your people to the promised land of energy savings and protect God’s creation from deceivers who would build shoddy pipelines like the one leaking Canadian tar sands oil all over Arkansas right now, confutatis maledictis.”
The Holy Father also foretold that, according to either the Book of Revelations or recent market projections, most of the crude from Keystone XL would go straight to Asian markets where the demand was higher.
“Remember that oil is a global commodity traded by price, my son,” the pontiff warned, according to Mr. Obama. “It’s an error to think that because it comes from Canada it will go automatically to American drivers.”
Mr. Obama explained that Pope Francis concluded with a sternly worded recommendation.
“Now, go forth and spread the word that the tar-sands pipeline is a false god. But first, drop and give me twenty Hail Marys.”
— Staff Reports, Transition Voice