American Elephants

The Keystone XL Pipeline Reveals an Enormous Amount About President Obama’s Real Priorities. by The Elephant's Child

TransCanada has proposed a pipeline, the Keystone XL, which would bring 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the oil sands of  Canada’s Alberta Province all the way to Texas and Oklahoma refineries. Application was made in 2008, and as an international project, it was the responsibility of the State Department.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was expected to approve it.  She said” there is no reason to believe” that the State Department is “biased in favor of the pipeline,” and ” it is better to get oil from a friendly neighbor like Canada than from the Middle East.” All the regulatory agencies have approved it. So what’s the problem?

Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid has other ideas.  He wrote on October 5 that:

The proponents of the pipeline would be wiser to invest instead in job-creating clean energy projects, like renewable power, energy efficiency or advanced vehicles and fuels that could employ thousands of people in the United States rather than increasing our dependency on unsustainable supplies of dirty and polluting oil that could easily be exported…The fastest and best way to break our addiction to oil and free our country and our economy from the dangerous grip of OPEC is to develop and deploy new technologies and clean affordable alternatives that destroy demand for oil not exacerbate it.

To quote an old, but famous line about another subject: Every word of that statement is false including ‘and’ and ‘the.’ This is the kind of misinformation that drives much of the left and makes the ideological divide so nasty. Reid wants, apparently, a world free of fossil fuels, with the heavy hand of government doing a great deal of social engineering. Nancy Pelosi has claimed more than once that natural gas is not a fossil fuel. It’s discouraging to learn that our representatives have not done their homework and don’t know what they are talking about. They are only ordinary people, after all, but I do believe that we should expect them to be better informed than they often are. There must be some reason why they hav all those aides.

Fossil fuels will be the dominant fuels for the rest of the 21st century. There is no alternative. “Renewable power,” which cannot exist without 24/7 backup from fossil fuels, is not an alternative to oil.  Oil powers the transportation section. Corn-based ethanol or (non-existent) cellulosic ethanol only exist with large government subsidy, and their impact on food prices is becoming more apparent each day.

Wind and solar, with full-time back-up from fossil fuel electric plants, produce miniscule amounts of electricity at extraordinarily high cost. Britain is backing out because of the cost, and Europe is sure to follow. They keep thinking that improvements in the turbines or the solar panels will solve the problems, but they won’t. The problem is in the intermittent nature of wind and the diffuse nature of solar energy.

There are no net green jobs. Green jobs cause more lost employment in the regular economy than there are new green ones.

“Addiction to Oil” is cheap sloganeering, and completely ignorant. It would be like saying we’re addicted to water because we require so much of it in our daily lives.

The pipeline has been given a clean bill of health from both an environmental and engineering standard. The project has undergone innumerable reviews from regulatory agencies including the EPA and the Department of Transportation. The protests, such as they are, have no real basis, other than green propaganda.

Nevertheless, there was a recent announcement that the decision would be made by President Obama himself. He said he would consider it.  He responded to protestors that he had not yet decided.  Then the White House announced that he would decide next year — after the election. I think that President Obama would agree firmly with Harry Reid’s statement, but, of course I cannot read Mr. Obama’s mind.

President Obama has a real big problem with this one. The project would involve 13,000 union jobs, constructing the pipeline and another 118,000 spin-off jobs, and around $20 billion in investment. If President Obama is as concerned about jobs as he pretends to be, this should have been approved yesterday. Apparently Valerie Jarrett hasn’t decided yet.

Most of the stimulus funds went to paying back the unions for their support.  But when push comes to shove, it would seem that Green trumps Union.  It was supposed to be a twofer — the green project to develop alternative energy would produce green jobs for the unions. Didn’t work. Green jobs have proved to be an illusion. Alternative energy is also proving to be an illusion — it doesn’t work, and unless it is heavily subsidized it goes out of business — or goes bankrupt with subsidies as we have seen.

The president’s real interest is not in turning the employment problem around.  The Keystone XL pipeline is not the only energy project that would provide thousands of jobs. There are an amazing number of jobs in the energy industry. The Barnett shale gas field in Texas has produced 100,000 jobs since the mid 1990s. The Eagle Ford field is expected to create 68,000 by 2020.  More than 600,000 Americans already work in the natural gas field, and another 2.2 million jobs are sustained by the incomes of natural gas workers.  Secretary Salazar is continuing to delay and resist allowing the Gulf of Mexico to return to full production.

In every circumstance, the fossil fuel industry is restrained, and over-regulated to attempt to force America into a alternative-energy economy that Americans don’t want and cannot afford.

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