Why would the United States impose higher economic costs at home while enhancing the fortunes of our economic rivals? If the oil does not flow south of the Canadian border, it will likely flow west to China. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said as much, calling U.S. approval of the Keystone XL a “no brainer” and contending that the decision to delay the pipeline “highlights why Canada must increase its efforts to ensure it can supply its energy outside the U.S. and into Asia in particular.”
Not one to miss an opportunity, Chinese President Hu Jintao recently visited with the Canadian prime minister and, recognizing its economic and geostrategic importance, Chinese state-owned oil companies are chomping at the bit to secure permanent access to North American energy sources. Despite all of this as well as an executive order governing Keystone-related activity intended to “accelerate” cross-border energy projects, the Keystone Kops remain determined to do all they can to block approval of the pipeline.
The State Department and the Obama administration are expected to issue a final decision on the future of the Keystone XL pipeline following expiration of the comment period for the draft supplemental environmental-impact statement. After years of obfuscation, obstruction and delay, it is time for the curtain to fall on the Keystone Kops and for the United States to move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline consistent with our economic, national security and environmental interests.
J.C. Boggs is a partner with the government advocacy and public policy group of King & Spalding LLP in Washington, D.C.