Americans aren’t the only ones debating what impact the outcome of the presidential election will have on energy policy. In Alberta, home to Canada’s oil sands which represent 97 percent of the country’s 175 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, citizens closely watched the race while newspapers honed in on how the next U.S. president will handle the Keystone XL pipeline.
Now with the election out of the way, Canadians are optimistic that President Obama’s decision will be less influenced by politics and more on the merits of the project itself. Reuters reported that Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is “optimistic” that Keystone XL will be approved. Alberta Premier Alison Redford did not weigh in with predictions but stated Alberta would “…continue to respect U.S. processes and regulatory decision making.”
Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, appeared optimistic that, “Keystone XL will be approved by the Americans because it is clearly in the US national interest in terms of national security, jobs and economic growth,” and that the project, “will be decided by the administration on its merits.”
And its merits are significant. The Keystone XL will increase American energy security by connecting American refineries to the third largest oil reserves in the world held in a stable, democratic, neighboring country. The project itself will create 20,000 jobs for Americans – 13,000 in construction and 7,000 in manufacturing. Moreover, the Canadian production of oil sands creates approximately one American job for every two Canadian jobs.
Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, stated in a recent interview that the Keystone XL will “be an early test” of Obama’s energy policy. It will also set the tone for Canadian-American relations. Now having successfully reclaimed the White House, it is difficult to see a reason for President Obama to further delay a project that will benefit the economy and energy security of the United States and will continue the world’s largest trading relationship between two countries. It’s time for Obama to look at the facts and approve the Keystone XL so that citizens both north and south of the 49th parallel can see the benefits.