Last week, the House passed a bill giving Congress the sole power to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
what eye thynk: This Keystone quasi-bill is a meaningless gesture since the approval or rejection of Keystone is President Obama's decision to make. It is just another example of the House wasting time, (witness the 37 symbolic votes to repeal the ACA, each taken with the knowledge that a repeal bill would never be presented to the Senate and would thus die along with all its previously Republican birthed brethren).
And Republican arguments for Keystone are...
1. The Energy Independence Argument
Republicans in the House insist that we need the Keystone pipeline if we are to become energy independent. Doc Hastings (R-Washington) and the Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee will tell you that domestic oil production has fallen off a cliff. The facts say differently, but today's Republican Party doesn't deal in facts. In order to halt their self-proclaimed oil production free-fall, Mr. Hastings is proposing that we streamline drilling permits. He feels that onerous safety studies required by the EPA are making it difficult for oil companies to earn a permit. (Just try to sell that opinion in the Gulf of Mexico.)
The truth: Domestic oil production is at a 21 year high. The independent Energy Information Administration recently published a report saying that sometime this year, our domestic production will surpass imports. This is the first time this has happened since 1995.
The Republican attempt to turn the U.S. over to the oil companies by opening any and all waters off American shores to drilling was recently defeated, but the Republicans are forging ahead with other measures.
Scott Tipton (R-Colorado) has introduced a bill that would make developing fossil fuels the primary use of all public land, because, really, who needs trees and parks and wildlife when Exxon and BP are waving money in your face? Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) wants to overturn the Obama administration's reforms on oil and gas leases. (Another example of Republicans attempting to lead in reverse).
2. The Jobs Argument
Speaker Boehner insists that Keystone is needed to create jobs. He apparently is unable to admit that, without Republican assistance, the President has brought our unemployment rate down to 7.1% from 9.9% over the past four and a half years. Still too high, yes; but an improvement that Republicans cannot bring themselves to recognize. And it would go even lower if Republicans would approve the President's infrastructure bill, which would provide jobs while making a positive impact on our roads and bridges; but, again, Republicans are more focused on changing the past than on improving the future.
3. The Environmental Argument
Environmentalists fear that the pipeline will adversely affect our plains aquifer. Republicans view this argument as tree-hugger nonsense; but it appears that Canadians think environmentalists may be on to something. When the U.S. rejected the original plan for Keystone, Canadian oil companies proposed an alternate route that would have kept the pipeline completely inside Canada, running through their Western provinces to a port in the northern Pacific. This proposal was soundly defeated by the Canadian people who cited environmental safety issues as their main concern.
4. The Ownership Argument
Who really owns and who will control the oil sludge that would flow through the Keystone pipeline?
Currently the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company, (the CNOOC), which is 70% owned by China, controls 80% of the world's oil reserves. That's right, 80% of the world's oil reserves are already owned by The People's Republic of China.
Of the remaining 20% that is still open for development, 60% is in Canada, mostly in the Alberta oil sands area--an area where the CNOOC has recently purchased a 20% stake. A Canada energy executive was recently quoted as saying that Chinese companies are currently seeking information on how many Canadian energy assets they can buy before "eliciting a negative reaction."
Looking at China's record on safety and quality issues within their own country, I find it difficult to believe they would put much dedication into protecting the plains, aquifer or people in ours.
This is a part of the Keystone argument that Republicans seem to like to keep hidden in the shadows. Perhaps they fear those Americans who don't really care about environmental issues might take exception to a Chinese owned company being given access to and responsibility for the heart of our country.
5. The Benefit Argument
And a final fact that Republicans like to ignore: the oil sludge that would run through the Keystone XL pipeline would not add anything to our oil reserves or our domestic oil production. It is destined to be refined in New Orleans, (additional refinery jobs may be the one place where we would profit), and then exported.
So, essentially, the risk would be all ours and the benefit would be...China's?
Oh, and those Republicans whose campaign funds are augmented by all that oil company money.