Keystone pipeline rejection a product of crony capitalism?

**Posted by Phineas

As they say, Hmmm…

Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.

With modest expansion, railroads can handle all new oil produced in western Canada through 2030, according to an analysis of the Keystone proposal by the U.S. State Department.

“Whatever people bring to us, we’re ready to haul,” Krista York-Wooley, a spokeswoman for Burlington Northern, a unit of Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in an interview. If Keystone XL “doesn’t happen, we’re here to haul.”

The State Department denied TransCanada a permit on Jan. 18, saying there was not enough time to study the proposal by Feb. 21, a deadline Congress imposed on President Barack Obama. Calgary-based TransCanada has said it intends to re-apply with a route that avoids an environmentally sensitive region of Nebraska, something the Obama administration encouraged.

Buffett, aside from being a master investor (1), is also a big supporter of Barack Obama and famously demanded to be taxed at a higher rate, even though a) he can voluntarily pay as much as he wants, and b) his company owed a billion in back taxes as late as last year. (2)

Now, I’m more inclined to think Obama killed Keystone to pander to the enviro-whacko Left, but he’s also shown no restraint about using the power of the federal government to help his buddies. (Solyndra? LightSquared? The UAW?)

As Artie Johnson would say, “Verrryyy interesting!”

Footnotes:
(1) Seriously. If you invest for yourself, his letters to shareholders are must-reading.
(2) Economist Daniel J. Mitchell has called Buffett “innumerate” for his opinions on taxes.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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