Looking To The Future
Yesterday, President Obama rejected TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline construction project. While the president’s decision does represent a victory for the environment and resources upon which the health and livelihoods of people in America depend, it is unlikely to be the last we will hear of the issue.
The Keystone XL saga will be distorted to encompass topics beyond its relevant scope. Smear campaigning is an ever more popular tool in Washington, and false claims about job creation and energy independence will undoubtedly pull the Keystone initiative back onto the scene as we approach the 2012 election cycle.
Job creation was false rhetoric from the beginning with this project. No more than a few thousand permanent jobs would be created, a figure which wouldn’t even begin to dent national unemployment numbers. The promise of real investment return lies in a clean, sustainable energy economy fortified by many thousands of long term jobs and the economic freedom and stability of energy independence.
Piping a highly toxic and corrosive substance across environmentally sensitive and agriculturally productive land which just happens to sit atop the nation’s largest freshwater Aquifer is a bad idea to begin with. Worse, the refining process is the last that America would have seen of this oil, leaving us at the losing end of the scenario. We would assume all of the transport risk, and after watching the resource leave American soil via shipping ports in the Gulf, we wouldn’t even reap any resource benefit.
Most importantly, the President’s decision marks a potential turning point for the U.S. energy economy. If we are to compete internationally, establish domestic energy independence and a sustainable energy future, every decision we make must consider long-term resource viability. Turning Keystone down represents a turning away from our self immolating fossil fuel dependency, and those who stood to profit from that dependency are scared.
Stay tuned, and many thanks to those of you who wrote to members of congress and voiced your concern.