Energy security is a new meme of the present administration, and creating jobs has lately gained a measure of political importance within White House walls, too. Here’s a chance for significant progress on both, and without gov’t subsidy, without the feds spending a penny. This single move lessens our dependence on extracontinental foreign oil, whose sources are politically unreliable and whose delivery depends on a long, vulnerable, fragile “pipeline” of oil and gas tankers plying their slow, nonmaneuverable way across the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea (these two already beset with pirates that our government is too timid to dispatch), and the world’s oceans. This single move also will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, to cut into our 9+% unemployment rate. Mr Obama, cut through the delays and approve the Keystone XL pipeline, proposed in 2008, now.
The Washington Post reports that several unions aver this pipeline will directly generate as many as 20,000 high-wage construction jobs for their members, your constituents. As many as 250,000 additional jobs, according The Chamber of Commerce, also will flow from this pipeline project and other businesses that will develop along its completed length. Even if inflated by 100%, this represents 125,000 more jobs in your economy than currently extant. US News and World Report reports that “[T]he states along the pipeline route are anticipated to receive an additional $5.2 billion in property tax revenue and thousands of indirect jobs relating to the project.”
Environmentalists and farmers misinformed by these environmentalists, worry about oil spills from pipeline leaks. However, the fact is that in the existing 55,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines in the US, leaks are virtually non-existent. Our most famous pipeline, the Trans Alaska Pipeline, suffered sabotage in 1978 with a resulting spill of around 16,000 barrels. Other incidents of gunshots and age have led to leaks of 4,200 barrels, 6,300 barrels, and “several thousand” barrels, as reported by the pipeline’s operator, Alyeska. These are vanishingly small against the pipeline’s lifetime delivery, to date, of 16,000,000 barrels. Interestingly, the Denali earthquake in 2002 damaged some parts of the pipeline designed to take the damage, and no leaks at all occurred.
The existing Keystone pipeline is equally sound. Of the leaks reported from 2001-2010 for this pipeline, 50 percent were less than 3 barrels and 80 percent were less than 50 barrels.
Finally, simple business imperatives push for sound design to minimize the likelihood of leaks and for prompt seal and cleanup of those leaks that do occur. Oil and gas pipelines turn out to be safer than the trucks that would need to carry all that oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands field to our Gulf Coast and Texas refineries—were Canada willing to sell to us under such limiting conditions.
With regard to that, either we use the Canadian oil or the Chinese will: the US News also reports that PetroChina has already signed a deal with Athabasca Oil Sands Corporation that gives PC a controlling 60% stake Athabasca’s MacKay and Dover oil sands deposits in Alberta. Further, Sinopec, a state-owned Chinese company, has bought ConocoPhillips’ 9% stake in Syncrude Canada, LTD, further demonstrating China’s drive to absorb North American oil and gas resources, even as it is doing with Iranian oil resources.
Yet this administration’s response to the need for this pipeline isn’t based on the merits (or lack) of Keystone XL, it’s based solely on Obama’s “Re-elect me” campaign stump, as this email from campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt demonstrates:
When Americans compare the president’s record promoting clean energy and America’s energy security to those of the leading Republican candidates, who don’t even believe that climate change is an issue that we need to address and would cede the clean-energy market to China, there will be no question about who will continue our progress.
Additionally, Administration officials are ducking their responsibility for making a decision in re this project—for or against—at every turn. In an October 11 interview with the Associated Press, also reported in The Washington Post, Secretary of State Clinton said she realized “this is a very emotional decision” for some but emphasized that she had not been involved in the process yet because “originally, two and a half years ago, this had been delegated to the deputy.” Hmm…. Even though I’m the MFWIC, I’m going to keep avoiding this for as long as I can.
Thus, the question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy. Mr Obama, approve this jobs plan now.