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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