Who said the following:
"U.S. politicians must muster the courage to scrap the fable of energy independence once and for all. If they continue to lead their people toward the mirage of independence and forsake the oasis of interdependence and cooperation, only disaster will result."
Hint: "Mirage" and "oasis" are clues.
Answer: Saudi Arabia's Turki al-Faisal, who delivered this point in a hectoring lecture against US politicians who promote US energy independence from Saudi Arabia in Foreign Policy magazine in August 2009.
Da noive, yes. But in President Barack Obama, Turki seems to have found his turkey: a US president with the Saudi idea of "courage" to destroy not just US chances for energy independence, but US chances for political independence from the umma overall, which, believe me, becomes impossible as the intake of Saudi crude increases.
It's not just that this administration has presided over the near-end of new domestic drilling. Now, the Obama administration is, to date, refusing to approve of a pipeline from friendly, democratic, human rights and environmentally conscious Canada that would effectively end our our need for Arab and other nasty oil exporting countries such as Venezuela. A report comissioned by the Obama administration itself states that a proposed new pipeline from Western Canada to Texas would substantially eliminate Middle Eastern from our import mix. It would also create 100,000 American jobs, according to House Energy Chairman Fred Upton. The Obama administration's "foot-dragging" on this fabulous endeavor, which the co-founder of Greenpeace actually supports, seems to be the Saudi prince's dream come true -- and America's nightmare.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee last week passed a bill requiring President Barack Obama to speed up a decision on approving the pipeline. The bill was introduced by Nebraska Republican Rep. Lee Terry, who maintains that the Obama administration has been too slow in making a final decision, the Montreal Gazette reports.
The Canadian province of Alberta has the world’s third-largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, and more than Russia or Iran. Daily production from oil sands is expected to rise from 1.5 million barrels today to 3.7 million in 2025.
Delivering the oil will mean building two pipelines, one south to the refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast and the other west toward the Pacific, where it can be exported to China.
If the United States doesn’t approve its pipeline promptly due to environmental concerns, “Canada might increasingly look to China, thinking America doesn’t want a big stake in what environmentalists call ‘dirty oil,’ which they say increases greenhouse gas emissions,” according to a report from The Associated Press.
Say, wasn't it environmentalists that scotched Shell Oil's exploratory drilling project off of Alaska in the Arctic Circle earlier this year? You betcha, as Sarah Palin noted at the time after Shell in February announced an end to exploratory drilling this year in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas after Alaskan native and environmentalist groups went before the federal Environmental Appeals Board and successfully challenged the drilling permits Shell had received from the Environmental Protection Agency.
It's a pattern. Obama wants to turn the local oil off. Meanwhile, there's the Chinese angle to consider:
Sinopec, a Chinese-controlled company, has invested $5.5 billion in the planned pipeline to the Pacific coast.
Sinopec has also paid $4.6 billion for a stake in Syncrude, Canada’s largest oil-sands project, and PetroChina, Asia’s largest oil and gas company, bought a $1.7 billion stake in Athabasca Oil Sands Corp.
According to Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, American government officials have expressed concerns about the Pacific pipeline delivering oil to China that might have otherwise gone to the United States.
Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican who is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told Newsmax in an interview last week that the pipeline project could create 100,000 jobs and said: “Why is it that we’re not working with Canada, which will be producing more than 3 or 4 million barrels a day from oil sand, and we’ve stalled on the application to build a pipeline?
Ask Big O.
“If we continue to say we may not be interested, Canada is going to turn around and build that pipeline not to the United States but instead to Vancouver, and they’re going to be selling it off to China.”
Environmentalist groups have urged Obama to reject the pipeline project. They assert that extracting oil from oil sands requires huge amounts of energy and water, increases emissions and threatens rivers and forests.
They shut down Shell. Maybe they can shut down the Canadian pipeline, too. But it's not just outside "enviromentalist groups." The Obama administration's EPA is fighting the pipeline, too.
But Michael A. Levi, senior fellow for energy and the environment at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, maintains that environmentalists are exaggerating the dangers of oil sand extraction.
“A lot of people have been convinced that this is the cutting edge of the climate change fight,” he said. “In the end this is the equivalent to half a percent of U.S. Emissions.”
And a report commissioned by the Obama administration suggests that the pipeline to Texas, along with a reduction in overall U.S. oil demand, “could essentially eliminate Middle East crude imports long term.”
The State Department, which must approve the pipeline, has promised a decision by the end of the year, although Republicans wants it sooner.
And Upton told Newsmax that the bill his committee passed last week “is expected on the House floor as early as next month.”
David Goldwyn, a former State Department energy official who left this year to work as a consultant, said he believes the pipeline will ultimately be approved, according to the AP.
“I think it would be a huge waste of a great opportunity to provide supply security,” he said. “We don’t often get the choice of where we can get our oil from. In this case we get to choose Canada. That’s an opportunity we shouldn’t miss.”
Also, "shouldn't miss" isn't the same as "won't miss."
And Russell Girling, CEO of TransCanada, the company that would build the pipeline, says opponents of the project are in fact set on targeting Canadian oil sands.
“The real issue here is those opposed to the Canadian oil sands believe that by delaying or denying this permit somehow they will slow down the development of Canadian oil sands,” he told the Business News Network.
“That’s an unrealistic expectation — the Canadian oil sands will get developed, irrespective of this pipeline.”