Our View: Now, as in 2011, pipeline decision a no-brainer
Posted: February 19, 2013
President Obama, it’s been said, is faced with a “knotty” dilemma: whether or not to give a thumbs-up to the controversial 1,700-mile Canada-to-the-Gulf Keystone Pipeline.
“Knotty”? Controversial? We consider this a no-brainer — that is, if Mr. Obama 1) is truly committed to an “all of the above” approach on energy production and 2) is genuinely interested in putting thousands of un- or underemployed Americans back to work.
Yes, yes, we understand that environmental activists, speaking in apocalyptic terms, are calling in their political chits on this issue. But if they think the president holds ultimate veto power on the project, they’re not merely wrong, but loud wrong.
The petroleum from Alberta’s oil sands, estimated at 170 billion barrels, is going somewhere. As America’s foremost trading partner and staunch ally, Canada would prefer to ship it south, to refineries on the Gulf. But contingency plans have been made should America balk.
Which America should not do. For a nation whose people have not enjoyed a great deal of good economic news lately, this amounts to a bonanza — particularly in terms of jobs (estimated anywhere from 6,000 to a quarter-million) and steps taken toward reducing our energy dependence on OPEC nations.
What’s more, even the primary environmental concern — the pipeline’s threat to the integrity of Nebraska’s Ogallala Aquifer — has, by all accounts, been rectified. TransCanada has not only agreed to redirect the line as far away from the aquifer as possible, but has also pledged to post a $100 million bond and encase the pipeline in cement.
So, the reasons not to approve this project are falling away. And then there’s this to consider: A nation that refuses to act in the best economic interests of its people sows the seeds of its decline.
President Obama, take note. Approve the pipeline.