By Robert L. Bradley Jr., CEO & Founder, Institute for Energy Research
If the President is serious about his promise to “grow the middle class,” he needs to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
Last year, the administration blocked construction of the project, which would carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil from Canadian shale formations to American refineries in the Gulf Coast.
The White House recently announced it would not reconsider Keystone approval for another six months. However, newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry has hinted that officials may decide sooner.
Keystone XL is a clear win-win for consumers and producers. Construction and operation of the pipeline would create an estimated 20,000 jobs.
U.S. refineries would produce more gasoline, diesel fuel, and other petroleum products that are part of countless consumer products. And increasing the southward flow of crude oil would help cement energy relations with Canada and reduce imports from less reliable countries.
Keystone XL would help move this country toward less dependence on Middle East oil – a stated goal of U.S. policy since the 1973 Arab Embargo forty years ago.
A chief criticism of the pipeline is that it would markedly contribute to global climate change.
The Sierra Club even condones “civil disobedience” – that is, breaking the law – to stop the project. Indeed, the club’s president recently joined a gaggle of C- and D-list celebrities at a Keystone protest where invite-only participants zip-tied themselves to the gates of the White House.
But the truth is that burning all of the pipeline’s deliveries will have no measurable effect on global climate according to official climate models.
Critics also claim the pipeline would damage a water aquifer beneath Nebraska. But Keystone’s planned pathway has been specifically rerouted to avoid such an outcome. And the pipeline has been fully approved by the relevant Nebraskan authorities.
The Administration’s decision not to approve Keystone was clearly a deep bow to radical environmentalists. Fully 53 Senators from both parties are urging the White House to approve the project.
Ironically, blocking the pipeline promises to increase, not decrease, global carbon emissions. If Canada cannot sell its oil to the United States, it will market to China. And China is not subject to the same restrictions on energy use and emissions as facilities here in the United States. China’s refineries generate significantly higher volumes of emissions than American ones.
Blocking Keystone XL is an affront to America’s energy consumers and energy producers. That insult would, unfortunately, add to Obama’s war on coal, push to federalize hydraulic fracturing, and wasted “green energy” handouts for the wind, solar, ethanol, and electric car industries.
The Obama Administration should stand up to those special-interest groups more concerned with fundraising than good global citizenship. America’s middle class should truly come first with a permit to build.
Robert L. Bradley Jr. is CEO of the Institute for Energy Research.