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article imageOp-Ed: Nancy Pelosi questions value of Keystone XL pipeline to US

By Karl Gotthardt     Mar 15, 2013 in Politics
Washington - During a luncheon with House Republicans President Obama indicated that a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline would be made soon. On Thursday House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that she questions the value of the pipeline to the US.
On the heels of Obama's remarks to House Republicans and the visit of Canada's Leader of the Loyal Opposition, Thomas Mulcair, Nancy Pelosi provided her thoughts on the controversial pipeline project. The most powerful Democrat signaled her skepticism about the benefits of the pipeline to the US.
The pipeline, which has been awaiting a decision for more than four years, would transport oil from the Alberta oilsands to refineries to the Gulf coast. Proponents of the pipeline and the Canadian government say that it would guarantee energy security for North America and create tens of thousands of new jobs. Those opposed to the pipeline say it would expand development of the the oilsands, create more greenhouse gases and would contribute to global warming.
According to the Hill Nancy Pelosi said that the pipeline would do nothing to make the country more energy independent and would create far fewer jobs than it supporters claim.
It just is amazing to me that they can say [it would create] 'tens of thousands of jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,' " Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "The oil is for export and the jobs are nowhere near that.
Pelosi quoted a radio broadcast she was tuned into on Thursday morning, where a lobbyist was touting the value of the pipeline in terms of jobs and pump prices. She said the proponents claim for tens of thousands of new jobs was just not true. She said that the claims were distorted and questioned why there just couldn't be a discussion on the facts.
The Globe and Mail reports that Pelosi had just met with Canadian legislators and that Canadians didn't want a pipeline in their own country. While Pelosi did indeed meet with Thomas Mulcair and two other New Democrat Members of Parliament on Tuesday, Pelosi's comments appear to be a misrepresentation of Mulcair's oilsands vision.
As previously reported in Digital Journal, Mulcair said that Canada's environmental record is terrible and that he supports an east west pipeline that would refine Alberta crude in Canada and to look after Canada's energy needs first.
They know that Canada is the only country that has withdrawn from Kyoto. They know that the Conservatives can’t possibly meet their Copenhagen targets [on greenhouse gas emissions] precisely because of the oilsands. They have to stop playing people for fools.
The NDP has been vocal on its description of the Alberta oilsands, with the late Jack Layton describing it as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Mulcair compared it to Dutch disease, but has dropped the derogatory term "tarsands."
Mulcair will tread carefully, especially since western premiers like Brad Wall of Saskatchewan and Alberta's Alison Redford have accused Mulcair of dividing the country, rather than unifying it. He has shifted his oilsands view to a more acceptable public opinion, which advocates the extraction of crude, but sees Canadian energy needs as the priority.
Pelosi's remarks are likely to influence President Obama's decision on the pipeline. When Obama met with House Republicans, the XL Keystone pipeline was discussed, but those attending the luncheon did not get an indication which way Obama is leaning. While some lawmakers thought that the president would approve the pipeline, others did not.
Rep. John Duncan (R-TN.) thought he would approve it, while, according to Duncan, the president did not say one way or the other. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) said that he listened to Obama's words carefully in order to give the media a clear answer. He said he didn't have one.
The outlook for approval of the pipeline doesn't appear positive. Secretary of State John Kerry is a climate change advocate and Nancy Pelosi is an avid environmentalist. Pelosi's comments, in which she says that the reason for Canadians proposing to run the pipeline through the United States is because Canadians don't think it benefits them.
I met with some legislators from Canada the other day, and I said, 'You have two coasts, actually three,' " Pelosi said, pointing upwards. "'Why aren't you taking this oil out through your own country? Well, because the Canadians don't want the pipeline in their own country.
Pelosi's comments are bound to outrage pipeline proponents in Canada, including Premiers Alison Redford , Brad Wall and Harper's government. It may be time to look at an alternate plan and start implementing it. Canada can no longer rely on the US to export their non renewable resources.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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