Politicians Should Allow Keystone XL Pipeline

Henry Waxman (D-Cal) has said that the decision by the State Department to postpone ruling on the Keystone XL pipeline is a big step to avoiding catastrophic climate change and ensuring our public health.

Let’s look at the facts of Waxman’s statement.

First, the climate change argument assumes that if we don’t buy that oil, no one else will. This is beyond naïve. If we don’t buy the oil there is already a plan in place to sell it to China, which means we would get all the negative benefits from CO2 emissions in North America but none of the jobs or the oil. This oil will be produced no matter if we buy it or not.

What's more, over two-thirds of the CO2 emissions from oil come when used in transportation. Shipping this oil to Asia will cause much greater damage to environment than a pipeline to the US.

Second, the public health argument of a pipeline over the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska. The pipeline area in dispute is 250 miles. There are currently 25,000 miles of oil pipelines in the Ogallala region, there are 3,000 miles of oil and hazardous liquid already over Nebraska alone and 730 million barrels pass over the Ogallala each year.

In Nebraska alone, 2,000 oil wells have been drilled producing over 500 million barrels of oil since 1930. Since 1930, 24 billion barrels of oil have come out of the Ogallala.

The Environmental Impact Study that has already been done says that any oil spill, despite the size, would be held within a 300 foot region due to content of soil in Nebraska.

In 1979, an oil spill occurred in a separate part of the Ogallala aquifer and the damage was limited to 650 feet due to down currents in the aquifer. It has been said by our own government studies that it is impossible to damage the entire aquifer with an oil spill.

For decades, oil has been used as dust control on country roads in the region, yet no instance of contamination has occurred. Farm machinery has been used and lubricated with oil and oil wells have been drilled with no contamination recorded. The reason is due to soil content, as the EIS pointed out.

The Keystone XL pipeline will carry a total, when fully expanded, of 1.5 million barrels a day of oil to Cushing, Oklahoma, and the Gulf of Mexico. About 250,000 barrels a day will help relieve a bottleneck in the Bakken formation of South Dakota, where infrastructure limits production.

We will create "shovel ready" jobs with this infrastructure spending, and it won’t cost the taxpayer anything. We will have (based on $100 oil) $150 million in oil coming to our refineries, which are losing oil due to depletion of Mexican oil assets and Venezuelan oil going to China. The option of bringing in more Middle East oil is what is forced now, because we will continue to use that amount of oil -- it is just a matter of where we get it.

We currently import just under 10 million barrels a day of oil in this country; we have the ability to get a good portion of this from our neighbor to the north and with our own people in the U.S. with this pipeline.

We fought a decision to allow the Caspian region oil to go through Russia in a pipeline, saying that Russia would then control the oil. Why now do we change course and think it is fine to let China control North American oil reserves?

The decision was made to postpone a ruling until conveniently after the next election. I believe if President Obama is re-elected he will allow this to go through, he just wants to postpone it so he won’t lose his base, which is dead set against fossil fuels of any kind. This is political cowardice by the administration and shows why right now in this country politics trumps common sense, jobs and the best interest of Americans. The pols in Washington DC are worried about jobs -- their own -- and it is disheartening to watch politics become more important than American interests.

Of course, when the financial crisis was just developing, Waxman had the great foresight and sense of urgency to call a hearing on ... steroids in baseball. He called in a bunch of old players in what was a pure dog-and-pony show. 

We elected these guys, we know them and we can’t expect anything different -- which is very sad.

John Layfield, formerly known as JBL, was the longest reigning WWE Champion in Smackdown television history, retiring after 17 years of pro wrestling. John, a former collegiate All-American and pro football player, is a lifelong entrepreneur who has worked as an investment banker, is series 7 and 24 qualified, and is currently an active private investor. His Internet radio show can be heard at www.JohnLayfieldShow.com.