Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keystone XL Pipeline Could've Been A Contender

I may have been too generous a few days ago when I saluted a U.S. proposal to streamline business regulation.  What the government giveth, the government taketh away.  Federal support for the Keystone XL oil pipeline has suddenly ended, for the time being  I guess the reform proposal forgot to take away the State Department's veto power over commerce decisions.  This major infrastructure project would have provided jobs for unemployed Americans and secure energy for businesses.  The lesson for its backers is that it probably wasn't as environmentally friendly or cost-prohibitive as a failed solar panel maker like Solyndra, which of course got plenty of help from the U.S. government.  

Even our natural allies scratch their heads at this kind of decision making.  China now has a golden opportunity to obtain Canadian oil in furtherance of its strategic goals.  Chinese purchases of Canadian oil via pipeline would constitute a strategic breakout by giving an Asian nation its first-ever foothold in North America (well, at least since Russia owned Alaska in the 19th Century).  It sure would be nice if the State Department had taken that into account before it recommended against the Keystone XL pipeline.  TransCanada did the smart thing by trying to re-route the pipeline, so now it must wait until after the 2012 election cycle for the project to be approved when no one's paying attention.