The XL Keystone Pipeline has been a controversial issue, recently coming under intense pressure by environmentalist and Hollywood celebrities. Last weekend Hollywood celebrities and environmentalist formed a human chain around the White House, in an effort to let President Obama know who voted for him in 2008.
Despite studies to the contrary, environmentalists and Hollywood celebrities claim that the XL Keystone and further development of the Alberta Oil Sands, which they call “Tar Sands” for effect, would be the demise of the planet.
While Redford acknowledges that Alberta will not interfere with the U.S. internal domestic process, she will be very clear in telling the story that this matters to Alberta. She will also speak of the environmental regulations in place and regulations in place, in respect to pipelines, in an attempt to convince American lawmakers that this is not something they need to be concerned about.
“What’s going on in Washington right now with respect to Keystone is an internal, domestic process and we’re not looking to intervene in that,” she said. “But we are going to very clearly tell the story that this matters to Alberta, and we think we can speak to our experience with respect to [environmental] regulation and pipelines that this is not a story Americans need to be concerned about.”The premier did not provide names of those on her meeting schedule, saying only that she would be talking with congressional leaders. She said the meetings would not be specifically focused on the Keystone project, but more on developing stronger long-term relationships with legislators who will be in a position to help Alberta’s economy in the future.“We need to be changing the framework on how people think of Alberta,” Redford said. “It’s never been my intention to go specifically to lobby decision-makers. One of the things I think is important for the premier of Alberta to do is to talk about how we manage our regulatory process and how we manage our environment, and the importance we put on industrial development.”
The XL Keystone pipeline will create both good paying temporary and full time jobs. Trans Canada Pipelines estimates that approximately 50,000 jobs would be created. Both the State Department and EPA environmental imapct studies have concluded that the pipeline will have minimum impact on the environment. In addition to creating jobs, the pipeline will also provide a safe source of reliable energy to to the US market. With a volatile world, specifically the situation in Iran, one would think that the Administration would jump at the opportunity to decrease its dependence on Middle East oil, while at the same time creating jobs.
40% of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz. In the event of a conflict with Iran, which is not far fetched, disruptions to the delivery of oil can be expected. It is not difficult to figure out where the price of oil would go if that occurred.
Last year Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during a speech in California said that she was leaning toward approval of the pipeline. The decision was due by the end of this year. Billions have been invested by Trans Canada Pipeline and the approval process has been ongoing for almost three years. While the Canadian side has been approved, the Obama Administration keeps dithering on yet another difficult decision.
This week it was announced that the State Department IG would do an investigation to ensure that there was no wrong doing on the previous environmental impact studies conducted for the State Department. The decision, which was already going to be delayed beyond the end of the year, may now in fact be kicked down the road beyond the 2012 election. This would give President Obama the out he needs to avoid the decision and thus not alienate his left base.
Despite a couple of spills in 30 year old pipelines earlier this year, the record of natural gas and oil pipelines is relatively safe. Those pipelines were built over 30 years ago and the technology for the construction and monitoring of pipelines has been improved significantly.
For a President, who has been attempting to get public support for his go nowhere Jobs Act and touts creating jobs as his number one priority, this decision should be an easy one that would get widespread support in Congress. Besides creating good paying union jobs, the pipeline will be a move toward energy independence and would be in the interest of energy and national security. With a President focused on his 2012 re-election and trapped by ideology, Alison Redford may have a hard selling job in Washington.
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