Canadian Oil Project Drifts Closer to China

Rich Trzupek is a veteran environmental consultant and senior advisor to the Heartland Institute. He is the author of the new book Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA is Ruining American Industry (Encounter Books).


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Last week Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper demonstrated that he’s more than willing to do that which his counterpart in the White House is unable or unwilling to do: display a little backbone when dealing with radical environmentalists and their pet causes. Harper’s administration both commenced hearings on an alternative pipeline that would be used to ship Canadian crude to China, as well as putting the “green movement” on notice that extremism masquerading as environmentalism will no longer be tolerated in the Great White North.

Clearly Canada would prefer to ship crude recovered from massive reserves in Alberta to Texas via the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Unfortunately, the combination of green fear-mongering and President Obama’s predictable dithering has put approval of Keystone XL in doubt. Per his deal with Congress the President has until February 21 to approve the pipeline project or to explain his refusal to do so. Yet, even if the President does approve the project and risk annoying those among his supporters who worship planet earth even more than they do him, there is no guarantee that construction of Keystone XL would start anytime soon.

As Harper is aware, the United States is as litigious a society as there is on earth and – thanks to the many misguided decisions made in the pursuit of environmental purity by both parties – the massive statutory and regulatory infrastructures that have been constructed in the name of protecting mother earth practically guarantee that environmental groups could tie up an approval of Keystone XL in the courts for years.  It would be silly to put all one’s eggs in one basket in any case, but given the dysfunctional manner with which America addresses environmental issues and energy issues, Harper would be worse than foolish to assume that Canada’s best energy customer will continue to be so.

So, the Harper government opened hearings on the Northern Gateway pipeline, an alternative route that would send crude from Alberta to Kimat, British Columbian, where it would be loaded onto tankers and shipped to energy-starved China. To be sure that the pipeline faces opposition and its own bureaucratic obstacles as well, but with hundreds of billions of revenue at risk it is clearly well worth the effort to move forward on both tracks. Keystone XL is surely the preferred – and sensible – way to get Alberta’s crude to market, but Northern Gateway will do just fine if the United States is too stupid to approve a project that is so clearly in our national interest.

For not only would Keystone XL generate tens of thousands of new jobs, both in terms of construction jobs and in terms of a myriad of employment opportunities down the supply chain, it would also take a huge bite out of overseas oil imports. At full capacity, Keystone XL would provide about ten percent of America’s crude oil demand, without the slightest risk of a foreign tyrant cutting off production or closing a supply route.

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  • walster

    my dear nieghbors. ya'll really need to get it together. i can not imagine that the chinese as our partners. PLEASE, i know you can do it.

  • UCSPanther

    Here in Canada, we are tired of environmentalists telling us what to do.

    I remember when groups like Greenpeace and Sierra Club were really stirring up trouble on the west coast, harassing forest product firms. lobbying for restrictive environmental legislation, and just about killed off our forest industry. They tried again with our seal-harvesting industry later on and got the EU on their side, and have been since working overtime to demonize the oil sands and other Canadian oil pumping operations. Ironically, one US company calling for the boycott of Canadian oil is Chiquita Fruit, the same one that was fined for giving money to terrorist groups.

    This is a simple case of economics. If the US government foolishly bows to pressure from those two aforementioned groups and clueless elites, it will be a loss.

  • Big Irish

    as a Canadian I pray to God that the powers that be in Washington come to their senses – lets start by shipping Canadian oil all over North America – then lets get rid of that dickhead in Washington, along with his freaky wife – this is a win – win situation – this is a no-brainer…ethical oil vrs blood oil….how nice it would be to tell the saudis to shove theirs up their as@@s!….then tell the same thing to that PIG in south america.

    • pat

      Hear Hear from another Canadian!

      • CanadConserv

        Seems there are quite a few of us Canucks here. Who knew?

    • intrcptr2

      Three cheers for common sense!!!

  • davarino

    There are many reasons obama wants to shut down Keystone. One is environmentalism, another is his hatred of big business, and another is he wants us to keep funding the middle east by importing their oil, not Canada's. Well we need to drill our own oil, import more oil from Canada, Mexico, South America except fudge Venezuela.

  • Raymond in DC

    My respect for Harper and his government continues to grow. How is it the US can't come up with a single leader of his caliber? (No, Christie doesn't measure up.)

    It's not just a single pipeline that's being stymied. Panama within a few years will inaugurate a new canal to handle larger cargo carriers, and most US port cities will be unable to handle them because harbor dredging is being blocked. (Bad for the environment, don't you know…)

    • pat

      Harper is the best PM Canada has ever had. I voted for him both times and I am proud of my fellow Canadians for having voted him into office twice.

      • CanadConserv

        I had the honour of meeting Harper last month. Even my 87 year old father, a Montreal Liberal all his life, considers Harper to be a jewel.

  • mrbean

    Get that chimpout and his sheboon sow and sowlets out of the white house before they turn this nation into Liberia. See Liberia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTUw0vKksGc

  • Barry from Victoria

    Financing for many of the "environmentalist" operations comes from the Tides Foundation which is a Soros outfit. George Soros has big investments in Brazilian oil and has been implicated in the Oil For Food scam (Remember that?) which is linked to Middle East oil. Connect the dots. The last things the Saudis, the Russians, and Chavez want is to see the vast Alberta oil reserves appear on the world market and loosen the chokehold they have on world politics. And the same forces opposing Alberta oil are the same ones opposing the development of shale gas resources whether they be in North Dakota or Poland. Keep repeating to yourself: "environmentalism" has nothing to do with the environment, except among a certain class of deluded fools. Obama is not one of those. He doesn't care one whit about the suckers. His concern is with his coreligionists in the Middle East and his high rolling financial backers. He's got his orders. And oh, yes. One more thing. By selling our oil on the world market instead of on the US market we get $18 per barrel more.

  • Debanjan Banerjee

    It seems to me that US cannot and will not exploit her own natural resoruces as well as her own peaceful neighbors in the North.

    Please call in the Chinese to help the Americans in this effort.

    My dear Americans , your own leaders will sell you for a dime or two more , so why not you sell yourself to the most merciful and most beneficient ?

  • mrbean

    Keep your eye on Waukesha, WI. Their biggest employer just moved out.

    General Electric is planning to move its 115-year-old X-ray division
    from Waukesha, Wis. to Beijing. In addition to moving headquarters, the company will invest $2 billion in China and train more than 65 engineers and create six research centers. This is the same GE that made $14 billion in the United States last year, but paid no taxes – the same company that employs more people overseas than in the United States. So let’s get this straight. President Obama appointed GE CEO Chairman Jeff Immelt to head his commission on job creation (Job Czar). He is supposed to help create jobs. I guess the President forgot to tell him in which country he was supposed to be creating those jobs. Soon, you all will understand that Obama has an agenda, and that this agenda is to remove the last super power from the world. Please pass this information to others and think about it before you buy a GE product.

  • jltjltjlt

    Back in 1980, I was just a kid in college. Early one morning, as I was driving to class, I noticed a pickup truck in front of my car with a bumper sticker that read…

    "Out of work? ~~~ Hungry? ~~~ Eat an environmentalist!"

    Today, I look back on that pickup truck driver with very fond memory.

  • intrcptr2

    Just last month Obama tried channeling Teddy Roosevelt.

    And this is how he relates to the great outdoors, by playing golf on manicured (How odd that we liken cutting grass well to cleaning one's fingernails with a metal toothpick) lawns while following Clinton and locking up Federal lands and throwing away the keys.

    But Teddy was a "nature lover", a proto-typical treehugger. He helped create the National Park system.

    Hogwash!!!

    He was an outdoorsman, a hunter, and a capitalist. He recognized the value stored in our natural resources. He was a conservationist, NOT an environmentalist. We have witnessed a paradigm shift in this country in the last 40 years. The entire point of the NPS, BLM, the Dept of Interior and related agencies is to manage our use of these resources, not to put them under glass.

    Harper's words to the eco-terrorists should be memorized and replayed by Americans, and their elected leaders, until envirionmentalism goes the way of the dinosaurs.

    "Eat an environmentalist". hahaha
    OR
    What is the definition of a vegetarian?

  • http://www.whycanadamustend.com Tony Kondaks

    From the article:

    “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。”

    I can't help thinking of Leonardo diCaprio who, when asked if he would fly on private jets (per capita, the largest carbon footprint in the world), Leo responded:I'll only take private jets when required by my industry。

    Ha!When is that? When you have to get to a cocktail party?