American Elephants

President Obama May be Throwing Away 20,000 Jobs Out of Sheer Indecision. by The Elephant's Child

The Obama administration’s War on Energy continues.  Oil production on federal lands is down by 13% in 2011: 97,721,813 barrels in 2011 versus 112,124,812 barrels in 2010.  Average oil leases on public lands have decreased from 8,821 in the Reagan administration to 1,856 under Obama.

The unemployment crisis and the debt crisis in the country have been exacerbated by policies that make everything more expensive. Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute remarked today that:

Economic growth is not created from the top down.  Government’s main job is providing a constant, consistent playing field — something Washington lawmakers have done much to undermine over the past decade.  Americans can create wealth.  Extending unemployment benefits indefinitely, playing around with new gimmicks or suggesting more stimulus won’t help in the long run.  Leaving individuals free to use their talents and keep what they earn will.  The recovery will only start with significant regulatory relief. (emphasis added)

TransCanada Corporation has just released a detailed job breakdown for the Keystone XL pipeline, and said it would create 13,000 construction employment opportunities and 7,000 manufacturing jobs for Americans.

The company provided the job breakdown in response to critics who argued that the company’s job creation estimates were too high and the project would only lead to a few hundred temporary jobs.  “Thirteen thousand Americans would be put to work constructing the project,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada president and CEO. “Seven thousand more jobs would be created in the U.S. manufacturing sector, making the materials needed to build Keystone XL. The project also would need millions of dollars of materials like steel pipe and related services which would create indirect jobs for American suppliers.  TransCanada has contracts with 50 suppliers across the U.S. with manufacturing locations in 18 states.  A complete breakdown of TransCanada’s job picture is here.

While President Obama seeks to avoid making any decision before the 2012 election,  Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is stepping up efforts to explore an alternate pipeline that would allow Canada to ship their tar sands oil to China. On Tuesday, an independent federal panel in Canada began its review of a proposed western pipeline that could carry the oil from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia.

China is ready and willing to buy the oil.  China’s state-owned oil companies are buying up large minority stakes in America’s largest shale gas plays and their supporting industries.  In January 2011, Cnooc purchased a one-third stake in Chesapeake Energy’s shale developments in Wyoming and Colorado, and in October 2010 they purchased a similar stake in the massive Eagle Ford shale development in Texas, also from Chesapeake.  Cnooc and Sinopec have entered the race, the Wall Street Journal reported in December, to buy a 30% stake in FTS International a U.S. shale gas services company.

Back in 2005, Cnooc bid for Unocal, a midsize U.S. oil company. and there was significant outcry from Congress.  Cnooc withdrew its bid and Unocal was acquired by Chevron.  James Woolsey, CIA director in the Clinton administration, has testified: “China is pursuing a national strategy of domination of the energy markets and strategic dominance of the western Pacific.”But Congress isn’t paying attention.

Through much of 2011, Canadian energy officials watched while President Obama caved in to political pressure from green activists and Hollywood movie stars and postponed a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. The Harper government is undeterred by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Tides foundation, Greenpeace and assorted celebrities like Daryl Hannah, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Redford and James Cameron, always ready to seek a little publicity in a green cause.

The Harper government clearly means to stand up  to the growth-killing professional green movement.  Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver declared war in an unprecedented open letter that  warned that Canada would not allow “environmental and other radical groups” to “hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.”

“These groups,” said Mr. Oliver, “seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects.  They use funding from foreign special interests to undermine Canada’s national economic interest.  They attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources.”

The U.S Congress is not too happy with the president’s delaying tactics, and is taking action.  It’s going to be an interesting battle.  Perhaps we can somehow manage to get our national priorities straight.

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