John Ransom

There are many contrasts that the GOP can use to go after Obama on the economy.

None present such a black and white contrast as the dispute about the black, tar-sands crude that Canada would like to ship through the US to refineries on the Gulf via the Keystone XL pipeline. The dispute isn't about the environment, is about creating 10 million U.S. jobs.

The State Department gave preliminary approval to build the Keystone pipeline late last summer, saying that it posed no significant environmental risks. But like a lot of things with this administration, it was a case of the left hand not knowing what the left-wing was doing.    

Instead of allowing the project to go through, along with the hundreds of thousands of jobs it would create, Obama sided with whack-job environmentalists who raised bogus fears that oil spills could pollute the aquifer that lies underneath its path.

Ok, he only apparently sided with them.

He actually did what Obama likes to do best when pandering to… whomever. He bravely told the rest of us that for right now he wouldn’t approve the pipeline, but he might change his mind. Oh, and if we try to rush him to make a decision, we’ll all be very, very sorry.  

So Canada’s prime minister has decided to look for a new partner for their oil.

“Harper’s second official trip to the Middle Kingdom comes at an important juncture in Canada-China relations,” writes Canada’s National Post “and will help dictate the Conservative government’s economic and foreign policy with the Asian superpower for years to come. The prime minister is courting China as a customer for Canadian natural resources — insisting it’s in Canada’s national interest to send oil and gas to Asia — and looking to sew stronger economic ties with the world’s fastest-growing economy.”

Never will an Obama administration be accused of shepherding the “world’s fastest-growing economy.”

You wanna grow debt quickly?

Sure they are your guys.

But on the economy?

Turn to the much more reliable capitalists in Communist China. That’s at least the message from Stephen Harper.

The pipeline could ultimately supply about a million barrels of Canadian oil to the US per day and 400,000 US jobs, most of them almost immediately.

But instead, the president, who has been railing against Congress for not passing another expensive jobs bill, and talks about income equality like it’s the most pressing issue of the day, just killed 400,000 American jobs that would battle income inequality in the most productive sense by providing ordinary Americans with the opportunity to earn some income.  

And despite everything the Obama administration has done to slow down domestic development of oil and gas resources, the oil and gas sector is one of the fastest growing jobs markets in a very anemic job market. While other sectors are shedding jobs, oil and gas is hot.

“The use of new drilling techniques to tap oil and gas in shale rocks far underground helped add 158,000 new oil and gas jobs over the past five years,” writes the Wall Street Journal “and economists think that it has created even more jobs in companies supplying the energy industry and in the broader services industry.”

“This is probably the biggest stimulus we have going,” Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research told the WSJ.

According to the Journal “$145 billion will be spent drilling and completing wells this year, up from $13 billion in 2000.”

While it’s estimated that Canada may have as much as 2 trillion barrels of oil in reserves, “the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the [US] has 4.3 trillion barrels of in-place oil shale resources centered in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, said Helen Hankins, Colorado director for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management” according to the Associated Press.

4.3 trillion barrels is 16 times the reserves of Saudi Arabia, or enough oil to supply the US for 600 years.

As I have pointed out all along, the Keystone issue isn’t about the safety of a pipeline. Obama and enviro-whacko friends know that if they allow Canadian tar sands oil to be developed via the Keystone pipeline, that the US will also start to develop their own tar-sands and shale oil. The US contains well over 600 years of known reserves and that would allow the US to be a net exporter of oil. If that happens, the green economy ruse that the left has sponsored, already reeling from bankruptcies and cronyism, would collapse. It would show that there is no shortage of oil and “green” energy can not compete with fossil fuels.

The only thing left then for those bitter climate clingers would be the shoddy science of Global Something-or-Another.  

Oil from tar sands, reports the BBC on the Keystone decision, “is so plentiful that full-scale development would seriously delay the transition to low-carbon alternative fuels,” which is the holy grail of the left.  And along the way, the U.S. would create at least 10 million new U.S. jobs, keeping around $500 billion per year here at home. Over twenty years that would be an additional $12.5 trillion in GDP even at a modest 2 percent growth rate. At 4 percent the numbers are closer to $15.5 trillion.     

Full scale development of tar sands can only be stopped by taxing oil out of existence, like was tried with cap and trade.  Cape and trade was never about trying to cool the earth. It was about giving "green" technologies a competitive advantage over fossil fuels that free markets won't concede.    

Building out the infrastructure to drill and transport that oil just from the Rocky Mountains in the US could supply literally millions of jobs for American workers, while supplying literally millions of barrels of oil per day, repairing our energy security for the next century. But moist importantly it would repair our economy.

I mean we went to war to protect the supply of oil coming from Libya for Europe.

Couldn’t the GOP at least first go to work making sure Keystone provides work for Americans?

That’s an issue to go to war over.


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John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.