How Important Are Oil Sands To The United States?
One of the most controversial items on the national agenda is the issue of Canadian Oil Sands. Most people are aware of the traditional methods of getting oil. You drill a well and pump the oil up out of the ground and ship it off to be processed into gasoline and other products that make up our world of the 21st century, like plastics and synthetic fibers for clothing and the like. Other sources of oil such as shale oil is becoming a means of also producing this vital fossil fuel that runs everything from big 18-Wheelers to that small sports car that just zipped by you on the road.
However, there is a 3rd means to get oil that, many are not aware of and that is getting oil from sand. This oil is often called tar sands oil as the sand that contains it is blackish and the oil from it is difficult to extract and process. Once it was considered worthless. However, it is becoming a major hot button in American politics and a hot potato no one wishes to deal with when a presidential election is looming on the horizon.
Canada is a major source of Canadian Oil Sands
This is making Canada a world supplier of oil today and America is a major buyer of this oil, but America’s industries are demanding more. This is why the Keystone pipeline is such a political nightmare.
It represents billions of dollars in oil revenues and thousands of jobs. This has the potential to be one of the biggest economic windfalls in the 21st century. However, Environmentalists are fearful of the environmental fallout if something should happen to this massive project. They worry not only about accidents as in the case of the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster that has left the gulf area destitute as marine life has been killed in such large quantities that entire industries in the region may not recover for decades, if at all.
The route the Alberta Oil Sands will take goes straight through North and South Dakota along with some of the key farming areas of the Midwest through Nebraska down through Texas and ending near Nederland, Texas just across the border from Louisiana and then a feeder line will go to Houston, Texas, a distance of some 1,700 miles.
This vast distance is what has everyone in an uproar about. The proposed pipeline cuts America in half and if anything goes wrong farming in the Midwest could be devastated, not only that there is the very real threat of terrorism as well. Since a project of this magnitude could be an ideal target for Islamic extremists as well as our own homegrown variety. Policing such a large Stretch of pipeline would be a massive undertaking.
Many remember the Deep Horizon Oil Spill
If you recall the deep drilling platform had an explosion and sank off the coast of America and almost 5 million barrels oil gushed into the waters off Louisiana and reached as far as Tampa Florida. The economic damage was immense and Salmon and Amberjack were hard hit as well as the Gulf’s dolphin population was decimated along with the crabbing and shellfish industries of the region. The memories of the fact that it was negligence on BP’s watch makes people leery of such a project going through America’s heartland with even more potential for damage to the environment.
Setting up the proper safeguards is a key issue needed to get final approve for the project to move ahead.
This is why a massive environmental impact study was commissioned to be done, safety measures are at the top of everyone’s agenda.
Also considering the pressure building over the estimated 42,000 jobs waiting in the wings makes this one of the most important issues to face congress in the last few decades.
So, why isn’t the president Okaying the proposal?
So what’s holding things up?
Environmentalists for one, who are protesting the pipeline and many rich environmentalists who are big democratic backers and Obama is beholden to them as they got him into office not once but twice. Will Hilary face this same problem? Well, the Clinton’s have taken 1.8 million dollars from the biggest backer of the pipeline for 10 speeches on its behalf. So, one can surmise Hillary’s silence on the issue stems from this and she will probably use it as a bargaining chip to help her get elected.
So, in all probability the Keystone pipeline and the shipping of Alberta oil sands will be on hold until Hilary assumes the reins of the presidency. How can we be sure Hillary is going to win in 2016? Because all the big money is riding on her right now and no one wants to back a dark horse in the upcoming 2016 election. The Republicans are in disarray and can’t settle on a firm candidate and the ones they are fielding are coming off like second stringers and keep tripping themselves up.
So, they in effect are giving the election to the Democrats and Hilary is their poster child. Unless something unexpected pops up in the next few months, the expected low voter turnout and the ineptitude of the Republicans make her election a shoe in and her first act will probably be to OK the pipeline. Similar to Obama’s Okaying the bank bailout when he took office.
In the long run, it probably doesn’t matter who is in office in 2016 as the Oil Sand issue is too big a cash cow to avoid approving. Too much money is at stake and the potential profits are far too great to ignore. There is, of course, the side issue of National Security, which would take us away from Venezuelan oil, which Russia is attempting to get a lock on to isolate America from sources of energy. One should consider their investment portfolio needs and see what has happened in the past when the Alaskan pipeline was finally announced. Many people discovered that their ship had come in. The issue of the Oil sands when it is resolved will make that look like pocket change.
Just wait a few Months and you’ll see what we mean.