Well, that didn’t take long:
Canada’s Harper Talks Oil with China as U.S. Faces $4 Gas
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed he would go to China after President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline late last year to cater to his environmental base. I think many of us hoped Harper was just a-joshing and that we would be able to go ahead with the pipeline after the election.
I bet when Obama supporters were talking about how the then-first term Senator would change our image in the world, they didn’t mean he’d alienate our friendly neighbor to the north. But he has.
Rep. John Culberson, R., Texas, says that the president’s decision on Keystone has given China the upper hand, and it’s hard to disagree. I can imagine a new administration, if there is one, begging Canada to reconsider. But we’d have to go hat in hand, and it may be too late.
This is a tragedy for the thousands of Americans who might have gotten jobs because of the Keystone project. Some estimates have put this at 20,000, but environmentalists have challenged this figure. Still, nobody doubts that thousands of jobs would have been created. Then there is the issue of our dependence on fossil fuel from hostile nations. (Note: Is Canada still our friend? Just asking…)
A Washington Examiner report on Harper’s move notes that gas prices are through the roof:
Meanwhile, here in the United States, besides continued high unemployment, drivers endured the most expensive January gas prices ever, according to the Los Angeles Times. "January is typically a month of falling gasoline prices because fuel demand falters in the slower travel weeks that follow the year-end holidays," the Times reports. "Not so this year."
The nationwide average price of regular gas was $3.37 per gallon last month, compared with $2.71 in January 2010 — a 24 percent increase. And things are going to get tougher for gasoline buyers because prices traditionally rise in February and March as spring approaches. That's when refiners must switch over to more expensive federally mandated formulas that result in slightly lower emissions. According to USA Today, energy experts expect prices to be in the $4-per-gallon range this summer.
Just want to note that China is not big on emissions standards, so this really isn't much of a victory for the environmentalists.
Oh, but Harper says he will “press” Beijing on human rights concerns as he strengthens economic ties with the repressive regime. That should do it.