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17 November 2011 @ 02:52 pm
Keystone XL, regulation and jobs creation (or the lack thereof)  
President Obama's announcement that he'd make the final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline has had a presumably unintended effect. Getting approval on an alternate pipeline path would take at least another year. The Canadians want to sell their oil; if the US path to selling the oil is tied up by politics, then they'll actively seek to sell the oil to Asian markets instead (via a pipeline to Canada's west coast.)

The odd thing is that this consequence is worse than many of the other possibilities. If Obama had kept quiet, the pipeline would presumably gone forwards, with the result of a lot of construction (20,000 jobs, apparently), and improving our energy security. If he'd announced support, we'd have the same result, but he'd be able to claim some credit. If he'd announced that he'd kill the project, he'd gain favor with green constituents, (while of course giving up the economic benefits). But the in-between choice effectively kills the project, while annoying the Canadian government, and signaling governmental paralysis. There had to have been a better way to handle this.
Andrew prock on November 18th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)
Having access to that oil would not increase our energy security. It would marginally reduce the rate at which our energy security is decreasing. I guess that's an improvement.
jon_leonard jon_leonard on November 18th, 2011 05:53 am (UTC)
I guess much depends on what you consider the baseline level of security. I mostly mean that Canada is unlikely to cut us off from energy supplies for political reasons.

That, and if we need energy, short-transport-distance oil is pretty cheap.
Andrew prock on November 18th, 2011 08:39 am (UTC)
By energy security, I assume you mean control (direct or indirect) over consumed energy. Back in 1950, we controlled close to 100% of our consumed oil. Today, we control about 37.5% of our consumed oil. If we got the projected 500k barrels of oil per day out of the pipeline, that would raise our oil control ratio up to 40.0%. That assumes no growth in oil usage, and no further decline in domestic oil production.

(fixed goofed pct)
jon_leonard jon_leonard on November 18th, 2011 05:35 pm (UTC)
That does put it in perspective; it's certainly not enough. Thanks.