In case you missed it amidst the hubbub of Republican healthcare failure, the president issued a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline last week.
While he was campaigning, the president promised to “make America great again” by adopting an America-first agenda. It’s for this reason that the Keystone XL approval is a head-scratcher.
The pipeline will do nothing to reduce the price of oil or gas in the United States, and will do nothing but add to an oil and gas surplus that must be exported to our foreign competitors.
While some have erroneously concluded that KeystoneXL will lead to an employment boom, the truth is that the total number of full-time jobs created won’t even register on the country’s monthly employment reports. At most, construction of the pipeline will create a few thousand low-skilled and low-pay jobs that will disappear after approximately two years. The total workforce required to operate the pipeline once it has been built will be between 35 and 50 full-time employees; hardly a windfall.
The main financial beneficiaries of the pipeline will be Canadian oil sands producers, as well as Keystone XL’s parent company, TransCanada Pipelines.
And, the environmental risks associated with leaks, spills, and ruptures—which are bound to happen—will be borne by Americans; not Canadians.
Similarly, further exploitation of the carbon-intensive oil sands will result in more climate-harming greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. To my colleagues who argue that it won’t, you’re wrong.
The price of Canadian oil is at a record low, which has snuffed out all but the most strident oil sands producers. Anything that either raises the price of oil, or gives Canadian producers the illusion that the price will rise in the future, will lead to further development of the oil sands. More development equals more GHGs. Thermodynamics is a harsh mistress.
Want to know the real reason why Donald Trump approved the KeystoneXL pipeline? It’s because President Obama would not.
Mark my words: Every major piece of legislation either proposed or passed by the sitting president will stand in stark contrast to the philosophy and achievements of his predecessor.
Today is Monday. It’s the 27th of March, 2017.