Fox Ignores Bipartisan Health, Environmental Concerns To Claim Keystone Decision Was "Political"
Research ››› ››› CHELSEA RUDMAN
Fox News figures have been claiming that the Obama administration's decision to delay the Keystone XL pipeline project puts "politics ahead of jobs for the American people." But Fox failed to report on health and environmental concerns raised by the Keystone project; Fox also failed to report that it was unpopular with officials of both parties and residents of the Nebraskan communities where it would have been located.
Obama Admin. Announces Delay Of Keystone XL Pipeline Decision
NYT: "The Obama Administration ... Announced Thursday That It Would Review The Route Of The Disputed Keystone XL Oil Pipeline." From a November 10 New York Times article:
The State Department said in a statement that it was ordering a review of alternate routes to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska, which would have been put at risk by a rupture of the 1,700-mile pipeline carrying a heavy form of crude extracted from oil sands formations in Alberta to refineries in Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast. [The New York Times, 11/10/11]
Fox Claims Keystone Decision Was "Political"
Gallagher: Keystone Decision Sacrifices Jobs "In The Name Of Political Expediency." On the November 11 edition of Fox News' America Live, Fox News contributor Mike Gallagher said that "20,000 jobs now may be sacrificed in the name of political expediency." Gallagher also mocked opponents' concerns about the pipeline, saying, "Aww, the water may get dirty." [Fox News, America Live, 11/11/11, via Media Matters]
Carlson: Obama Put "Politics Ahead Of Jobs For The American People" By Delaying Keystone Pipeline Construction. On the November 11 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson began a segment about the Keystone decision by saying:
CARLSON: President Obama has decided to delay now a key decision on the future of a pipeline, that would create 20,000 jobs until after the elections next year. That's when he's making the decision. So is he putting campaign politics ahead of jobs for the American people?
Carlson's guest, Fox Business correspondent Nicole Petallides, agreed, saying, "This is something that has been looked at for years. The State Department ... basically got the OK. But this is politics ahead of U.S. jobs." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 11/11/11, via Media Matters]
Rivera: Delaying Keystone Pipeline Is "A Kind Of Sleazy Political Move." Later during the November 11 broadcast, co-host Brian Kilmeade asked guest and Fox News host Geraldo Rivera if the Pipeline decision "reek[s] of politics." Rivera agreed and went on to say, "[T]his is a kind of sleazy political move, I think." From the broadcast:
KILMEADE: This Keystone pipeline, the fact that the candidates have been waiting for this to be done and unions want this pipeline, this oil pipeline, put through America, through Nebraska and environmentalists have stopped it, and the president has decided, I'm going to study it more for two years. Does this reek of politics for you?
RIVERA: It does, sadly. It's the president refusing to alienate the environmentalists who are in his constituency, presumably. And on the other hand, he doesn't want to cancel the project entirely because it is the antithesis of his push to get more jobs. You know, if he cancels this --
CLAYTON MORRIS (guest host): -- And union jobs.
RIVERA: -- you're going to eliminate tens thousands of jobs. But by kicking the can down the road, you avoid standing up and taking a position, and by putting it past the election, it just -- it really reeks of opportunism, or the reverse of that, the avoidance of conflict. And that's not what a leader does. I -- you know, generally I like him, as you know, but this is kind of -- a kind of a sleazy political move, I think. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 11/11/11]
Krauthammer: Decision Is "The Most Egregious [Example]" Of "Putting Party Before Politics" That "This Administration Has Made Yet." On the November 10 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said of the decision, "On the merits, it's a terrible decision. It's not going to have any effect on the climate." Krauthammer later called the decision "an egregious example" of "putting party before politics," adding it was "the most egregious that I think this administration has made yet." Fox Nation promoted Krauthammer's comments under the headline, "Krauthammer: Obama Postponing Keystone Pipeline Most Egregious Example of Political Expediency." [Fox News, Special Report, 11/10/11, via Fox Nation]
State Dept. Official: White House Made "No Effort To Influence Our Decision"
State Dept. Official Jones: "There Was No Effort To Influence Our Decision" From The White House. A November 10 Washington Post article about the Keystone pipeline decision quoted an assistant secretary at the State Department as saying that the Keystone delay was "not a political decision" and that "there was no effort to influence our decision" from the White House. From The Washington Post:
Officials at the State Department, which oversees the permitting process, had once promised a decision on the proposal by Alberta-based TransCanada by year's end. But they said Thursday that they had to extend their review of the 1,700-mile pipeline to address Nebraskans' objections to building across the state's sensitive Sandhills region. That area provides habitat for imperiled wildlife and covers the Ogallala Aquifer, a critical source of drinking and irrigation water for state residents.
Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, told reporters that choosing a new route for the Nebraska portion of the pipeline will require a new environmental assessment, which will probably take at least 15 months.
Jones said she and other State Department officials had consulted with the White House in recent days as they began to explore the possibility of a supplemental environmental assessment.
"This is not a political decision," she said, adding that when it came to White House involvement, "there was no effort to influence our decision." [The Washington Post, 11/10/11]
Furthermore, Pipeline Route Raised Public Health Concerns ...
NYT: Nebraskans Opposed Pipeline Route Because It Would Have Crossed "A Critical Source Of Drinking Water." A November 10 New York Times article noted that "[p]ublic officials and citizens in Nebraska" opposed the proposed pipeline route in part because it would have "cross[ed] the Ogallala Aquifer, a critical source of drinking water for the Great Plains." From the article:
Public officials and citizens in Nebraska have been vocal about the proposed pipeline route, not only because of fears about the Sand Hills region but because it will cross the Ogallala Aquifer, a critical source of drinking water for the Great Plains. Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska, a Republican, has been pushing for the pipeline to be rerouted and recently called a special legislative session to focus on Keystone XL.
"I am pleased that Nebraskans have been heard," Mr. Heineman said in a telephone interview. "We've tried to make it very clear that we support the pipeline but oppose the route over the Ogallala Aquifer," Mr. Heineman said, adding he was not expecting the State Department's decision. "I hope we can find a common-sense solution, change the route and begin construction of the pipeline."
The pipeline's opponents in Nebraska hailed the decision as a pivotal victory, at least for now.
"This is a game changer for our state," said Jane Kleeb, director of Bold Nebraska, a citizens' advocacy group that has been leading efforts to block the pipeline. "We've been fighting this every day and night for almost two years." [The New York Times, 11/10/11]
... As Well As Environmental Concerns ...
NYT: Decision Calls For "A Review Of Alternate Routes To Avoid The Environmentally Sensitive Sand Hills Region Of Nebraska." From the New York Times:
The State Department said in a statement that it was ordering a review of alternate routes to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska, which would have been put at risk by a rupture of the 1,700-mile pipeline carrying a heavy form of crude extracted from oil sands formations in Alberta to refineries in Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.
The Sand Hills region has a high concentration of wetlands, a sensitive ecosystem and extensive areas of very shallow groundwater that could be endangered by an oil spill. The State Department, which is responsible for approving transboundary pipelines, said that it expected that the review could be completed early in 2013.
Kerri-Ann Jones in the State Department's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs said the agency's decision to look for alternative routes was sparked by the significant outcry from Nebraska residents and officials.
"What we're hearing from the public and from comments across the nation is the concerns about it going through this fragile landscape," she said of the proposed pipeline. "We've heard this loud and clear." [The New York Times, 11/10/11]
... And Route Was Opposed By NE Residents, GOP Officials
GOP Gov. Heineman Called For "Rerouting" Of The Pipeline, Applauded Delay. A November 11 Omaha World-Herald article quoted Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, a Republican, as responding to the announcement of the pipeline delay by saying, "This is an exceptional moment for Nebraska ... Concerns from Nebraskans have been heard." The article also noted that Heineman has previously "called for a rerouting of the pipeline." [Omaha World-Herald, 11/11/11]
GOP Sen. Mike Johanns "Welcomed News Of The Delay." The World-Herald article also stated: "Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., supports development of the tar-sands oil resources and the pipeline but has been an outspoken critic of the Sand Hills route. He welcomed news of the delay." [Omaha World-Herald, 11/11/11]
GOP Rep. Fortenberry "Praised The State Department's Move." The World-Herald article also said that Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) "had also pushed for a route change and praised the State Department's move." [Omaha World-Herald, 11/11/11]
Bold Nebraska Exec. Director Said "Bipartisan Nature Of Nebraskans' Opposition Helped Sway The Decision." From The Washington Post:
Jane Kleeb, executive director of the environmental group Bold Nebraska, said the bipartisan nature of Nebraskans' opposition helped sway the decision. "We stuck together, despite differences in what is on our voter-registration cards, and stayed focused on stopping the pipeline from destroying the Sandhills and risking the Ogallala Aquifer," she said. [The Washington Post, 11/10/11]
State Dept. Official Cites "Concern That Nebraskans Lacked A Regulatory Or Legal Framework To Help Influence The Pipeline's Route." From The Washington Post:
[Assistant secretary Kerri] Jones said she and other State Department officials had consulted with the White House in recent days as they began to explore the possibility of a supplemental environmental assessment.
But she emphasized that they were spurred by concern that Nebraskans lacked a regulatory or legal framework to help influence the pipeline's route. The Nebraska legislature is in a special session to consider its own options for directing the pipeline. [The Washington Post, 11/10/11]
Fox Previously Used Inflated Jobs Numbers To Hype Pipeline
Fox Wildly Inflated The Number Of Jobs Keystone Pipeline Might Create. Fox News figures claimed that the Keystone XL pipeline will create somewhere between 50,000 and a million jobs.
- In Fact, Even TransCanada Acknowledges Total Jobs Created Would Be Fewer, And Independent Report Projected Even Lower Numbers. Even TransCanada has acknowledged that the total jobs created would be far fewer than 50,000 to one million, and an independent report has found that the project could actually destroy more jobs than it creates through higher fuel costs and environmental damage. [Media Matters, 11/9/11]