One of the news stories this week was President Obama’s decision on whether to have his administration grant a permit for a private company to proceed with building the Keystone XL pipeline, a pipe that would run from the Canadian border to US refineries on the Gulf Coast. Obama denied the permit. That’s a quick summation of a decision that contains so many ill effects for our nation, so I’m going to expand on that a bit.
First, understand that my position on America’s use and development of our own energy resources hasn’t changed. We need to be making use of them. And there’s a very, very good reason why, as I said back in 2008:
Within the span of 3 generations we now consider it so commonplace as to be unworthy of comment that people carry around phones in their pockets that are capable of making a voice call from almost anywhere in the country at any time, day or night. Those phones contain more computing power than entire buildings possessed 60 years ago. My phone is a Motorola Q, one of those combination phone/PDA devices. It connects me to my office e-mail, it stores our company’s entire employee directory, maintains a copy of my schedule calendar, and allows me to connect to the Internet from anywhere I can receive signal. (And in the eastern US, especially here in the DC area, that means virtually everywhere.) The average US household is expected, in the next 5 years, to be producing as much data flow to the Internet on a daily basis as the entire Internet saw in 1995. Every house. Every day. The pace of our advancements in information technology, medicine, telecommunications, propulsion, materials fabrication, and host of other disciplines is accelerating at a phenomenal pace and many of us are completely unaware of the ride we’re on. That pace depends – completely – on 1 thing: power. Without the energy to power our research and development efforts, we will go nowhere.
Obama’s take on things is that people just need to understand that their lives have to change and they have to use less. He’s fine with sky-high gas prices, he’s just sorry they shot up quick enough for us to notice. His plan for our energy needs, should he be elected, is to somehow make America use 15% less electricity by the end of his 1st term. There’s only 2 ways to do that, ladies & gentlemen, and that’s either to have all of the things you do now take 15% less energy than they do today or that you make do with 15% less of the things you do. To achieve a 15% improvement in energy efficiency in all of the things we use on a daily basis requires research and development. Those activities take power. If we’re going to actually cut the power usage by 15%, how much longer will it take to bring those 15% energy efficiencies to our devices? It takes money to make money, folks, and it takes power to make power efficiencies.
We can’t get there with a power system that we don’t have in place. We can only use the one we’ve got:
As has been said a number of times around the blogosphere, we have a particular energy infrastructure that’s been built over the last century. Like it or not, that’s the infrastructure we have. Only by using that infrastructure to provide the necessary energy for our research and continued production can we build an infrastructure that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels. Trying to do otherwise will bankrupt us at the very least. We should be developing every single domestic energy source we can and there’s absolutely nothing keeping us from pursuing those cleaner sources while we use what we have.
Well, nothing except half-billion-taxpayer-dollar “green” boondoggles that produce nothing and a President who makes decisions like this one.
The obvious mistake made in this decision is the deliberate refusal of an energy source from, literally, our closest ally via a transportation method that doesn’t run through hostile territory and can’t be easily disrupted by unfriendly foreign governments. We hear all the bleating about having to deal with nations overtly hostile to our interests – *cough* Venezuela *cough* – and yet when we’re virtually handed a solid source from arguably the most friendly nation to the US on the planet, President Obama turns up his nose? And pipelines like this are among the most stable of transport methods, unaffected by weather at sea and fully accessible to maintenance crews. Obama and his supporters would rather we have to transfer oil to ships, sail across the sea, transfer it back off…?
It was a mistake from a relationship stance, too. Canadians are feeling justifiably affronted at an American government that refuses to buy oil from them but cheerfully deals with the likes of Hugo Chavez and whatever leadership OPEC has this year. PM Harper isn’t going to just let the oil sands sit and sulk while America comes to its senses. The day after Obama made his announcement, Harper was talking to the Chinese. They’ll be happy to take the oil – which has to be shipped to them, by the way, increasing the chances of a major spill.
Which brings up the mistake of thinking that the environment’s going to be somehow better for this decision. So, instead of buying the oil that we need and are going to buy elsewhere, anyway and having the pipeline company and refineries held to US environmental standards, we’re going to watch the oil sold to a nation that doesn’t give a crap about any of that stuff. The environment – the global environment that the greens all claim to be so concerned about – is going to be worse off, not better, with that oil in China’s hands.
Lastly, all of that work on the pipeline, in the refineries, and the related industries that serve both of them would have to be done to see this project completed. That’s a lot of jobs, and well-paying ones, too. Some estimates run as low as several thousand jobs. Taken collectively, it would likely be tens of thousands. And this from just 1 project, paid for completely by private enterprise and taking not 1 dime of public money. As opposed to the President’s darling Solyndra who sucked up a half-billion in taxpayer dollars and is now throwing literally millions in assets into trash dumpsters.
This isn’t a glitch or some kind of off week for the President. This decision was made with his strategy firmly in mind and he couldn’t care less what the long-term ramifications are. He’s focused completely on getting past November so he can ride another 4 years of this nonsense. I said in 2008 that elections have consequences. This is one of them. America made a mistake electing someone so completely out of his depth to the top executive position in our federal government. We don’t have to repeat that error but we do have to stay alert for the evidence before our eyes.