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Truth Hurts

January 10, 2012

When checking over at Reason Mag’s Hit and Run Blog this morning, I found this little post that plants a nice big whack on the environmental movement.  The original is an open letter from Canadian Natural Resources Minister (The Honourable) Joe Oliver.

Canada is on the edge of an historic choice: to diversify our energy markets away from our traditional trading partner in the United States or to continue with the status quo.

Virtually all our energy exports go to the US.   As a country, we must seek new markets for our products and services and the booming Asia-Pacific economies have shown great interest in our oil, gas, metals and minerals. For our government, the choice is clear:  we need to diversify our markets in order to create jobs and economic growth for Canadians across this country.  We must expand our trade with the fast growing Asian economies. We know that increasing trade will help ensure the financial security of Canadians and their families.

So first, that’s a nice shot over the bow of American diddling on Keystone-XL.  Canada is going to continue to push hard on a pipeline to some port for its oil.  If it ends up going West as opposed to South, then that’s just less distance before it hits the paycheck.

Unfortunately, there are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade.  Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry.  No mining.  No oil.  No gas. No more hydro-electric dams.

And that’s a very relevant point… as far as I can tell, the hard-core environmental opinion is that the only energy that’s really good is stuff we can’t use.  Wind power is okay until you try to build the turbines, and then it looks ugly and kills birds. (As an aside, I think it’s really cool to be driving down the road next to the big wind farms and see all the props turning… well, really half of them, because they can’t sell the power they can produce, but that’s another story.) Hydro-electric is really cool, except it keeps salmon from having sex.  Natural gas is a wonderful hydrocarbon source until you actually try to pump it out.  At least oil and coal have always sucked in the environmental mind.

Now I should admit that I’m a big fan of the outdoors, and I’m okay with national land grabs as long as those are paid in the long term by selling rights to exploration in certain areas.  ANWR comes to mind… With all that, though, Mr. Oliver points out some painful realities:

These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.  They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects.  They use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest. They attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources.  Finally, if all other avenues have failed, they will take a quintessential American approach:  sue everyone and anyone to delay the project even further. They do this because they know it can work.  It works because it helps them to achieve their ultimate objective: delay a project to the point it becomes economically unviable.

And he’s got a point.  If we add a burden of collection to any energy source, then it eventually becomes unviable to utilize new sources.  Let’s see how cool solar becomes when it endangers turtles that like to sunbathe.  Then it’ll suck.

I have this picture in mind that the far-left environmental groups really want us to go back to the days of no electricity and horse-powered farming on the homesteads.  Who else thinks they’d then cut down a bunch of trees to print leaflets on how bad farming is on our forests?

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