Dec 16, 2011 -
This morning, my Subcommittee held a hearing on "Changing Energy Markets and U.S. National Security."
The good news is that oil production has shifted some from the Middle East and toward the West. No longer are large energy companies focused almost solely on the Persian Gulf and North Africa and other unstable areas. Hydrocarbons previously thought too difficult and expensive to extract are now being exploited from Brazil to Canada, and in the U.S., helping better secure our energy supply.
The economic benefits for us are tremendous, but only if we're willing to put in place the right policies. So far, the Obama Administration has failed a huge test.
Much of the hearing centered on the Keystone XL pipeline that would transport 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries. This project will create jobs. Buying oil from Canada also means more dollars will be re-circulated in the United States (90 cents on every dollar). It would also mean tax revenue to states.
Yet the Obama Administration has delayed, and delayed, now waiting until after the election to decide on this key project. Will Canada wait around for us? Hardly.
Just days after the Obama Administration announced the Keystone delay, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with China’s Hu Jintao. Harper was blunt:
"This does underscore the necessity of Canada making sure that we are able to access Asia markets for our energy products."
Indeed, Chinese companies have already invested some $10 billion in Canada’s oil sands, according to noted expert Daniel Yergin. The Canadians have proposals to dramatically increase their capacity to pipe oil from Alberta to their west coast for export to China. An Energy Department study says that "lost" Canadian crude to Asia means "substantially higher U.S. dependency on crude oils" from the Middle East. It also means higher prices at the pump for Americans.
So, we can either we import energy from Canada, create jobs and lessen dependency on OPEC countries. Or we can continue to block Keystone, opening the door wide for the Chinese. As one witness testified, "we have a simple choice before us."