After years of progress, things have taken a turn for the worse for American energy consumers — and for U.S. foreign policy: Once again, after years of declining OPEC imports, the United States is increasing its reliance on conflict oil from Saudi Arabia. A regime whose values are so at odds with what the U.S. stands for — where women are considered possessions, where the reigning ethos of Islamist supremacy is exported to spread radicalism worldwide; where people are imprisoned or executed merely for being gay — is winning more of America’s energy business again. More than 25% more: The U.S. daily average of Saudi crude imports was up to 1.45 million barrels in the first five months of 2012, compared to 1.15 million barrels over the same period last year, as the New York Times reports. Americans upped their imports from Kuwait and Iraq by roughly the same amount.
There are a few reasons for it, but a key point is that when Americans need more oil, they just can’t order up more of Canada’s ethical oil. And as long as they rely on conflict oil, they’re vulnerable to “a physical threat to U.S. supply as well as a potential price shock on a global level,” as David L. Goldwyn, former State Department coordinator for international energy affairs in the Obama administration, explained to the Times. “Until we have the ability to access more Canadian heavy oil through improved infrastructure, the vulnerability will remain,” he said.
Currently there just isn’t sufficient pipeline capacity for Americans to take on any more Canadian oil from our oil sands, so they have to accept more tankers from OPEC’s conflict regimes instead. It’s no secret why that is: environmental extremists did a thorough enough job spreading fear and disinformation about Canada’s oil sands that the Obama administration was harangued into rejecting a proposal for increased Canadian oil pipeline capacity.
The propaganda from anti-oil zealots like Bill McKibben mau-maued politicians and unprepared voters with claims that building a pipeline like Keystone XL to Canada would mean “game over for the climate” since Canada’s vast deposits would allow Americans to keep using oil — as if they would suddenly begin to fly planes using solar panels and power their pickups and cargo trucks with windmills.
The oil sands clearly aren’t going to stop expanding just because the Obama administration won’t approve a pipeline, and Americans won’t stop demanding oil just because environmentalist find ways to obstruct their access to Canadian crude. Just this summer, oil sands output reached a new record of 1.037 million barrels a day, according to calculations by Calgary-based investment firm FirstEnergy Capital. Instead, Canada will find ways to export its oil somewhere else — piping it to tankers in on the east and west coasts for sale overseas — while Americans call in tankers from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Venezuela.
What an absurdly backward situation. Canada and the United States are among the closest allies in the world. We are next-door neighbours. And you’ll find no two countries more similar in values: in our respect for democracy, equality, freedom, rights and peace. Canada also has one of the largest oil deposits on earth, and the United States needs more oil. But, thanks to the warped agenda of the anti-oil lobby, Canada must work to get its oil to Asia, while America orders more oil from a the medieval theocratic, abusive, terror-sponsoring Saudi regime. Welcome to the bizarro world designed by the oil sands enemies. Surely nobody can believe this arrangement does either the U.S., or Canada an ounce of good. The only ones chuckling today are the Saudis and their conflict oil cronies in OPEC.
That disgraceful irony isn’t lost on a lot of Americans: Already the Republican party has promised, as part of its 2012 election platform, a strategy to move North America towards energy independence. A key part of that plan announced by Mitt Romney means building more pipelines, like Keystone XL, connecting U.S. refineries to Canada and American consumers to Canada’s ethical oil. We already know that’s what Americans — be they Republican or Democrat — desperately want: Public opinion polling shows that 85% of Americans want their government to support the use of oil from Canada’s oil sands, and 79% see pipelines as the best thing to move Canadian oil to U.S. markets.That’s as bipartisan an issue as you’ll find.
But for the anti-oil fanatics, what the vast majority of Americans want doesn’t matter. What Americans need to power their economy and create jobs doesn’t matter, either. It doesn’t even matter that the U.S. is being forced to increase its support for reprehensible, retrograde and repressive conflict oil regimes for lack of access to ethical Canadian oil — leaving Americans more susceptible to supply disruptions, price shocks, and a severely compromised foreign policy. All that matters to them is that Americans are blocked from getting access to a convenient, secure, peaceful and plentiful supply of oil. It’s a narrow-minded, perverted and dangerous crusade. And tragically, these days, it appears that it may be getting results.