by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
What do we need to turn our country around? Well, for starters, we need a president who stops getting his energy policies from Hollywood movies — and Hollywood liberals.
Consider President Obama’s dithering when it comes to approving the Keystone XL pipeline. First proposed in 2008, this massive infrastructure project would bring low-cost crude oil from fields in Canada southward to the United States. Despite nearly six years of government reviews — and nearly four dozen oil and gas pipelines already safely operating between the U.S. and Canada — the Obama administration and the State Department still have not approved the pipeline.
The president and liberals in his administration apparently believe in energy policies that are a twisted version of Kevin Costner’s vision in Field of Dreams. While Costner believed that “If you build it, they will come,” the administration apparently believes that if it doesn’t approve Keystone XL, the oil resources in Canada will stay where they are.
But President Obama couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, the Canadian government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently gave preliminary approval to the Northern Gateway pipeline. That project would transport Canadian crude oil from the fields in Alberta westward to British Columbia. From there, it could be shipped by tanker to countries in the Far East.
So the question is not whether or not crude oil will move from Canada into worldwide consumption; that will occur regardless of the State Department’s decision on Keystone XL. The real question is whether the United States will capitalize on the opportunity that Keystone brings to expand our energy supply and reduce prices for consumers — or whether those benefits will go to other countries, including economic and strategic rivals like China.
In addition to generating well-paying jobs — the State Department’s own review concluded that construction would create 40,000 jobs — Keystone XL also represents a key plank in securing the resources America needs to support our economy. The project could reduce the amount of oil America imports from Venezuela, the Middle East, and other unstable regions of the world by up to 40 percent. This will be oil produced in North America, by companies employing thousands of American and Canadian citizens, under governmental frameworks that protect the environment and respect human rights.