There’s been a lot of noise in the media recently about the Keystone Pipeline, the proposed pipeline to bring petroleum products from Western Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. I don’t even understand why this is a controversial subject.
Our national economy has been in the doldrums for several years now. Some economists—who presumably have jobs and aren’t sweating paying their bills and buying groceries—tell us we emerged from the recession a couple of years ago, but a lot of average Americans who ARE sweating paying their bills and buying groceries may have a problem understanding that. Regardless of whether you want to believe the economists or the evidence that we’re still having hard times, most of us would have little trouble agreeing that we need more jobs created.
According to Wikipedia, this pipeline is estimated to create over 20,000 high-paying jobs in construction and manufacturing. We’re not talking about minimum wage positions serving burgers and fries. These are jobs that allow people to support their families with dignity and provide them with benefits such as insurance and retirement plans.
Once the pipeline is in operation, it will generate over $5 billion in tax revenue to the states and communities it traverses. I haven’t read a lot of articles lately about state and local governments which have so much money lying around they wouldn’t know what to do with a little extra.
For those who are unaware, our domestic production of oil has been lagging for the last three or four decades. When OPEC imposed its embargo back in the early 70s, we imported somewhere around 25% of the oil we consumed each day. That gave them the power to disrupt life in America and cause grave problems in our economy.
Although the chart above shows imports to be right at half our total consumption today, according to the Center for American Progress, that figure is 62%. Either way, it’s huge. Imagine the damage an OPEC embargo would cause today. The 70s would seem mild in comparison.
It’s obvious we need to satisfy more of our petroleum needs with American and Canadian production. The oil flowing through this pipeline could replace up to half of that we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela.
There have always been those who would halt progress because of private fears or personal agenda. In Columbus’s day, it was the flat-earth crowd. They said he shouldn’t try to sail around the world because he’d fall of the edge. Today it’s a regular cacophony of voices screaming that the pipeline might burst and spill oil all over the countryside.
Look at the Alaska pipeline? These same voices (or their forefathers) raised the same objections to it. It would ruin the whole state’s ecology. Well, that one has been operating for nearly 40 years now with only a few minor leaks that have been repaired immediately with almost no damage to anyone’s ecology. Why do we assume Keystone would do any worse?
We need to ignore the voices of unreason which would keep our economy in its slump and keep us more and more dependent on oil production controlled by a Latin American megalomaniac and by Middle-Easterners who hate our country. It’s time to take positive steps to improve our economy and boost our petroleum self-sufficiency. Let’s get the Keystone Pipeline approved and underway.
David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since his retirement from insurance a few years ago, he has devoted his time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and trying to learn to write a successful novel himself.