Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Green Pressure Groups Poised to Shut Down Production Even if Keystone Pipeline is Approved

By Kevin Mooney

Even if the Obama Administration reverses course on the Keystone XL pipeline prior to the November elections, there are any number of green pressure groups in circulation that could complicate production efforts. President Obama recently denied the pipeline’s application to cross between the Canadian-U.S. border. The pipeline itself would extend from Canada to Texas.

Transcanada, the Canadian firm behind the project, has announced that will move forward with plans to construct the portion of the pipe running from Cushing, Okla., to Port Arthur, Texas. TransCanada has also made it clear that will continue to apply for a federal grant from the U.S. to allow for the section that would cut across the U.S. and Canada. The company should expect to encounter stiff opposition. The overriding purpose of the pipeline is to transport oil from the tar sands in Canada to the Gulf Coast refineries.

With America’s military fighting terrorists in politically unstable and faraway regions of the world and rogue states like Iran and North Korea building their nuclear arsenals, the benefits here of having a safe, secure and reliable source of oil close to home should be evident.

Green groups are working to turn public opinion in the U.S. and Canada against the production of crude oil extracted from the oil sands in Alberta, Canada. And they are succeeding.
Bill Wilson, President of Americans for Limited Government noted, “It is absurd that Obama and his allies seemingly put every interest above our national security interest.”

The Alberta oil sands (also known as tar sands) occupy an area in the middle of western Canada that is roughly the size of Florida. The oil sands are ideally positioned to meet America’s growing energy needs. Yet green groups, often tiny but determined, have mobilized protests on the state and local levels using pressure tactics that are highly personal and, hence, effective. Their goal is to compel changes in corporate decision-making, sway public opinion, and influence government policies. The groups often coordinate their efforts with the big national and international environmental organizations, but they are careful to maintain their independence which guarantees their freedom of action.

Advocates for the West, for instance, based in Boise, Idaho, has attracted little media attention. But it has proven itself to be a powerful adversary of Alberta oil producers. The group has adopted a shrewd and carefully calibrated legal strategy that has prevented such oil giants as ConocoPhillips and Imperial Oil (an Exxon Mobil affiliate) from sending truckloads of heavy equipment through Idaho and Montana and into Alberta where it will be used to extract crude oil from the oil sands.

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