Keystone veto hurts Canada and keeps us importing Venezuela oil
As promised, President Obama did veto the Keystone Pipeline. Let me add my voice to the bipartisan chorus that just doesn't get it. I am confused for two big reasons:
1) Our relationship with Canada, a strong ally and friend, was thrown under the bus. Let's not forget that Canadian soldiers fought brilliantly in Afghanistan. In other words, Canada is one NATO country that walks the walk when it comes to committing soldiers and putting them in harm's way. How many other NATO allies can we say that about?
The pipeline would bring oil to the U.S. from a very reliable partner:
The U.S. segment would be 875 miles long, running through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The 36-inch diameter line could carry up to 830,000 barrels (nearly 35 million gallons) of oil per day.
What does 830,000 barrels mean?
It means that we can replace Venezuela, an anti-U.S. country and friend of Iran, as a supplier. In 2014, we imported between 600,000 and 800,000 barrels a day from Venezuela. Wouldn't we rather import oil from Canada than Venezuela? Am I the only one who would rather do business with a friend than a foe?
To be fair, Venezuela used to be a friend of the U.S. until Chávez used anti-Americanism to justify his authoritarian rule. Nevertheless, our dependence on Venezuelan oil puts us at a disadvantage with that country. Imagine if we could tell President Maduro that we are dropping him for good?
2) Jobs and jobs. There is some confusion about the jobs that the pipeline would create. However, no one disputes that jobs will be created (via the FactCheck link above):
Any big construction project requires workers to build it. How many? The U.S. State Department’s analysis says 3,900 would be employed directly if the job is done in one year, or 1,950 per year if work is spread over two. TransCanada Corp. puts the number higher, saying the project would support 9,000 construction jobs directly.
There would be additional, “indirect” work for companies supplying goods and services, including concrete, fuel, surveying, welding materials and earth-moving equipment required for the project, and “induced” jobs resulting from money spent by workers and suppliers, such as ranchers providing beef for restaurants and construction camps. Counting up everything, the State Department estimates a total of 42,100 jobs could be created.TransCanada has accepted the 42,100 figure for total employment.
Let's not get hung up on job estimates. We have lots of people who would gladly take a job at this time, especially one with a future and decent wage.
The bottom line is that this veto was another foreign policy and economic blunder. We are once again confusing our friends. We are also showing the world that President Obama will not stand up to his base, even if standing up to them is a good thing for the country.