Rejecting the National Interest

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 18, 2012

I just read the best argument for the Keystone XL pipeline this morning:

“… the addition of crude oil pipeline capacity between Canada and the United States will advance a number of strategic interests of the United States. These included increasing the diversity of available supplies among the United States’ worldwide crude oil sources in a time of considerable political tension in other major oil producing countries and regions; shortening the transportation pathway for crude oil supplies; and increasing crude oil supplies from a major non-Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries producer.

Canada is a stable and reliable ally and trading partner of the United States, with which we have free trade agreements which augment the security of this energy supply. Approval of the permit sends a positive economic signal, in a difficult economic period, about the future reliability and availability of a portion of United States’ energy imports, and in the immediate term, this shovel-ready project will provide construction jobs for workers in the United States.”

That is from the State Department approval of the Alberta Clipper Pipeline in 2009, but describes the benefits of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to a T: diversifying supplies, shortening transportation paths, increasing supplies from a stable and reliable ally, sending a positive economic signal, and shovel-ready construction jobs.

And yet, as we have just learned, the President has decided not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, caving to political threats from a small number of misguided activists.

As former Obama  U.S. National Security advisor Gen. Jim Jones put it last month:

“If we get to the point where we cannot bring ourselves to do what is in our national interest, then we are clearly in a period of decline, in terms of our global leadership and our ability to compete.”

The President has brought us to that point, the question now is: where do we go from here?  Here is Jack Gerard’s vision from the State of American Energy event a few weeks ago:

“We are on the wrong track.  Even the status quo will not be enough. So let’s change course.  Let’s take advantage of the many opportunities we have to determine our energy future.   It’s a future based on increased self-sufficiency and enhanced energy and national security through greater access to domestic resources. We can safely and responsibly produce more of the energy Americans want and need through our own significant supplies of oil and natural gas.

The right track means more domestic energy of all types, including renewable energy, increased efficiency and promoting other environmentally-friendly options, including next generation technologies to reduce our carbon footprint…Over the course of our history, Americans have refused to settle for less. And we don’t have to settle for less now. We have the resources to meet our energy challenges. With the right leadership and vision, we can turn our challenges into opportunities that will make our country stronger.”

It’s time to get back on track.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joins API after spending 16 years as national editorial writer in the Washington Bureau of The Oklahoman newspaper. In all, he has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, including six years as sports editor at The Washington Times. He lives in Occoquan, Virginia, with his wife Pamela. Mark graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism and earned a masters in journalism and public affairs at American University. He's currently working on a masters in history at George Mason University, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Communication Department.

Energy Tomorrow is a project of the American Petroleum Institute – the only national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry – speaking for the industry to the public, Congress and the Executive Branch, state governments and the media.