Unfortunately for the American economy and our nation’s energy security, one of the shutdown’s biggest energy losers is the American public. While many seem content to have the government closed, the truth is that such an impasse undermines confidence in our system of government.
That said, even when the government was running at 100 percent, this administration wasn’t operating efficiently, having spent more than five years reviewing a simple permit to complete the final leg to a pipeline network that already delivers millions of barrels of oil each day from Canada. Sadly, this shutdown has provided yet another excuse for a dysfunctional Washington, unable to move forward with a comprehensive energy policy.
Inevitably KXL will be approved because the President has already approved half of Keystone XL, even going so far as to issue an executive order to expediting the project between Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast.
That portion of the pipeline is nearing completion and with it, Gulf Coast refineries will see approximately 800,000 barrels per day of Canadian crude by early 2014. Approval or denial of KXL North will not change that outcome; no matter how much money the Tom Steyer’s of the world spend trying to convince the public otherwise.
This complementary section of the Keystone XL pipeline is necessary because pipelines are a safer means of transporting the energy resources we’re currently developing from the Dakotas than by rail or by truck. Furthermore, additional capacity in the Keystone line will help to ensure our nation’s energy security by receiving more of the resources we need from friendly North American neighbors. T. Boone Pickens is right with his announcement today that Canadian oil spells the end of OPEC, something we should all celebrate.
Yet, much like the government shutdown is a symbolic debate over the future fiscal direction of the country, Keystone XL has unfortunately become a symbol for climate activists to make noise about global environmental concerns. This, despite the fact that multiple studies – some even conducted by this administration – have found Keystone XL would have a negligible impact on the environment.
At the end of the day, the one related factor in these two seemingly unrelated issues is that each debate has been heavy on the political rhetoric and light in the use of facts. One can only hope that when the shutdown finally ends – whether that’s a matter of days or weeks – and this latest excuse for delaying the inevitable approval of Keystone XL is finally resolved as well.