Jan. 10, 2016 5:57 p.m. ET
TransCanada TRP 0.92 % took Uncle Sam to court last week to reclaim some of the damage done by the Obama Administration’s multiyear, drawn-out rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. It may not come up in the litigation, but someone should point out that the same Obama Administration that rejected Keystone seems to have no problem supporting a new oil pipeline project in Africa.
That was the story last week out of Kenya, where U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec told Kenya’s energy minister that Washington would help Nairobi raise $18 billion to finance its PowerAfrika project. The pipeline would stretch from Kenya’s Rift Valley to Lamu on the coast. “Kenya needs $18 billion worth of financing,” Mr. Godec said, according to a dispatch in Oilprice.com, “so one of the questions we are discussing is how we can work together with the private sector and governments to raise that sum, to find ways to make certain that this financing becomes available.”
Has Mr. Godec checked with Secretary of State John Kerry, or, perhaps more important, anti-oil Democratic financier Tom Steyer? Kenya and Northeast Africa could certainly use the investment and jobs that would come from the oil project. Then again, so could the United States. What’s with the double standard on pipelines?
Meanwhile, TransCanada said it is bringing an international arbitration case against the U.S. for not treating the Canadian company the way it would an American company, as it is obliged to do under the North American Free Trade Agreement. The company said it would seek to recover some $15 billion in costs and damages, and don’t be surprised if the case succeeds given the extraordinary regulatory barriers the U.S. imposed on the investment. Though multiple reviews showed no environmental harm, President Obama rejected the pipeline on arbitrary political grounds. TransCanada also filed a suit in U.S. federal court claiming that Mr. Obama’s decision to block Keystone exceeded his constitutional authority.
These cases are worth watching, especially by those who still want the U.S. to welcome foreign investment. Meanwhile, U.S. taxpayers will want to keep an eye out to see if their dollars are used to finance the Kenya project.