Open Letter to Barack Obama
Your recent decision to effectively cancel the Keystone XL pipeline is perhaps the most ill-advised, “monumentally stupid” decision of your tenure in office. This was a no-brainer from Day 1. While you use the hard earned tax dollars of American citizens and borrowed money creating staggering debt for future generations in your economic stimulus that created jobs at a rate of something like $350,000 per alleged job created, this was a venture funded by private money to the tune of $7 billion. I know that dwarfs the $800 billion stimulus that accomplished little, but this would have accomplished something without costing the taxpayer a dime.
First, there is the issue of job creation. I really don’t care about the estimates of the American Petroleum Institute (20,000 jobs), the government (8,000 jobs) or eggheads at Cornell University (2,400 jobs). A job is a job is a job. Even the low end- 2400 jobs- is better than no jobs, which is exactly what your decision created. And speaking of jobs, were those jobs created for maintenance of the pipeline and refinery jobs at terminals taken into account? How about the spill over effect of construction jobs? This was a privately funded job creator that you killed.
Second, you killed the project over environmental concerns. But it is my understanding that this project was twice given the go-ahead by the EPA after detailed studies and after TransCanada, the pipeline’s builder, addressed concerns the EPA had with the pipeline in their original plan. Were you aware that more oil is spilled in the world from oil tanker accidents than from pipeline problems? The “XL” in the project’s name is for “extension.” This pipeline already extends into the United States and oil refineries in Illinois, one of your home states, refines this oil now. Has there ever been a problem with the construction or operation of the existing pipeline that does not employ the advanced technology and monitoring the new pipeline would have? How many EPA studies are required? Is the environment going to change between now and after November 6th, 2012?
Third, you, like other Presidents, have noted that we rely on oil imports from some dubious allies, particularly in the Middle East and Venezuala, as well as Nigeria. These are not exactly stable governments. Yet, when given the opportunity to import oil from a stable, reliable ally that we happen to share a very long border with, you turn the opportunity down leaving us just as dependent on oil from unstable governments as the day before.
Fourth, one way or another, that Canadian oil is leaving Canada. Now, it looks likely that it will end up being refined in China or Singapore in refineries that belch filth and smog instead of the environmentally regulated, cleaner, and more efficient refineries here in the United States. If you had a true concern for the environment, it is not evident from your decision here. Additionally, that oil now has to be transported over many miles to western Canadian port facilities, onto tankers, then across the Pacific. The laws of probability indicate a greater chance of environmental disaster from this action than from building that pipeline. Incidentally, ocean currents know no international boundaries. When, God forbid this happens, will the liberals demand that you be tried as an environmental terrorist?
Fifth, you have proven yourself a slave to a subset of a subset of a subset of your liberal constituency. When some environmentalist nobodies are dictating environmental policy and killing jobs in this country while placing us even more dependent on foreign oil from unstable sources, you have abdicated your role as leader of ALL Americans. I, like any environmentalist out there, appreciate clean water and clean air, but enough is enough already. If it isn’t concrete manufacturing runoff, or toilet capacity, or a damn light bulb, your idea of environmental stewardship is way outside the mainstream of most Americans, of which you represent all of them. For at least two years, misinformed activists have been spreading their misinformation to ranchers, farmers and landowners in the affected states driving up land prices, yet you are strangely silent. Perhaps, that is because you are a slave to their views.
Sixth, stating that Congress forced your hand at this decision is ludicrous at the least and insulting at its worst. The project was first proposed during the Bush Administration, plenty of time for you to make a decision instead of dragging your feet. Yet, political expediency took priority while the jobless rate increased. I thank Congress for forcing your hand and revealing you for what you are- a puppet for the radical environmental movement. It is insulting to the intelligence of the American public and insulting to the government of Canada. You stated that you could reconsider later, but in the meantime, what is Canada expected to do? Sit on the oil? Stop extraction?
Finally, you have a very real chance of losing in November. I realize that you have very little chance of winning the states that would have received the greatest economic benefit from construction of the pipeline, but that refined oil would have created benefits for people nationwide, not just in Nebraska, or the Dakotas, or Texas. Nationwide, Mr. President. You are the President of a Nation, not President of the Nature Conservancy. It is time that we had a leader that acted like the President of the United States of America, someone that would make the tough decisions. The irony here is that this was not even a tough decision. And that more than anything is proof that you should be punished at the polls in November. Let us, as a Nation, elect a real leader, not a panderer.