After months of delaying any decision, on January 18, 2012, President Obama bowed to extremists in his party and denied the permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline. It was clear then that China would capitalize off of his unforced error.
The Canadian Prime Minister said President Obama’s rejection was “a wakeup call,” and warned that his country would not be “held hostage to decisions in the United States…that may be made for very bad political reasons.” The Canadian Natural Resource Minister said the “decision by the Obama administration underlines the importance of diversifying and expanding our markets, including the growing Asian market.”
“If we don't build this pipeline…to our refineries in the Gulf Coast,” Speaker Boehner warned at the time, “that oil is going to get shipped out to the Pacific Ocean and will be sold to the Chinese.”
By June 2012, The New York Times was reporting that “billions of barrels of [Canadian] oil that would have been refined and used in the United States are now poised to head elsewhere.”
Earlier this year, Bloomberg Businessweek described four major pipeline projects in Canada, two of which would facilitate shipments to China. One project was approved in March, and yesterday, Canadian officials gave the green light to construction of a new pipeline to the Pacific. These improvements to Canada’s energy infrastructure contrast sharply with the Obama administration’s perpetual inaction: Keystone’s application was first submitted to the U.S. State Department more than five years ago.
The Obama administration declared the arrival of “Recovery Summer” four years ago, but Americans are still struggling under its harmful policies. According to the State Department’s calculations, building the Keystone pipeline would add $3.4 billion in growth to America’s economy. Imagine the thousands and thousands of jobs it would create. Think of all those paychecks for workers, and how the families they support would benefit. Unfortunately, all they’ve received is one “low blow” after another.
There’s no scientific reason for President Obama’s Keystone obstruction, and with instability in the Middle East once again causing pain at the pump, America should be improving its energy security by working with our North American neighbors. Canada has been a great friend and a critical ally to the United States, but the president’s feckless foreign policy has damaged even that bond: Yesterday’s pipeline approval, writes Canada’s National Post, “has everything to do with our rocky relationship to the U.S.” Reporting elsewhere mentions “frayed relations,” and describes Canadian leaders as “irritated” and “shocked” that President Obama is “treating a long-presumed ‘special relationship’ between Canada and the U.S….as a political football.”
So while the president plays his favorite game, Americans can only watch as he voluntarily fumbles much-needed energy and jobs away into China’s hands. If that’s his idea of “winning the future” – a slogan he unveiled just months before his first delay of Keystone – it’s time for a new game plan.