Senators: Approve the Keystone Pipeline

I appreciate New Mexico Senators Udall and Heinrich supporting clean energy. It is important to maintain a low carbon footprint, and for each of us to contribute our share to protecting our environment. The Senators claim that their vote against the Keystone Pipeline was a vote for a clean environment.

But I visited the heart of the tar sands country in Canada, and witnessed oil naturally seeping from the ground, resulting in oil sheens on nearby streams. The tar sands are removed from the ground, the oil is removed, and pure white sand is returned to the ground. I think most people would consider keeping oil out of our streams environmental remediation.

Despite our Senators’ votes, the oil recovered from the Canadian tar sands will make it to the marketplace, but not via the Keystone Pipeline. Rather, it will travel via rail tank cars – which are safe, but not nearly as safe as a pipeline. Our Senators did not stop the flow of oil. They merely increased the cost and decreased the safety of transporting the oil from Canada.

Closer to home, my travels have taken me from Northwest to Southeast New Mexico, to the one bright spot in New Mexico’s economy. I have seen first hand how the oil and gas industry has helped these communities. Help wanted signs are in abundance, indicating low unemployment and high wages. Our state’s coffers are fuller thanks to revenues from oil and gas leases on public lands.

Understandably, some people are concerned that low gasoline prices will increase the rate of global warming. But for those who worry how they will support their families, lower gasoline prices help them make ends meet from paycheck to paycheck.

And for those of us who worry about another Mideast war or cold war with Russia, low crude oil prices decrease revenues to terrorists and countries that want to harm America. New oil production technology has made America the world’s #1 oil and gas producer, and has presented us with huge geopolitical opportunities:

  • Reduce the odds of Russia re-invading former Eastern Bloc countries
  • Prevent more Mideast nations from building nuclear weapons
  • Strip Islamic jihadists of funds to wage war against non-believers
  • Avoid again sending American soldiers into harms way in the Mideast

We could realize all these geopolitical benefits, just from opening a spigot to North American oil.

Please join me in urging New Mexico’s U.S. Senators to sponsor legislation to once again allow the United States to export oil, and to support the construction of the Keystone Pipeline.

(This was sent as a Letter to the Editor of the Albuquerque Journal on Dec. 12, 2014)