One of the first major projects to hit his desk when he became President, was the application for Keystone XL. At the time, the US was desperately in need of jobs, especially in the areas along the pipeline’s route. For Canada, Keystone is a major part of reducing our oil price’s crippling differential to WTI and would have reduced a major glut our number one export product was facing. Keystone is still of the utmost importance, contrary to the delusional belief of Premier Notley.
President Obama had years to approve the line, and after endless consultation, an EPA report which said Keystone would not increase greenhouse gas emissions one iota, President Obama ultimately vetoed the project for purely ideological (and nonsensical) reasons. It was a major blow to the industry. Canada missed out on thousands of jobs, billions in new GDP and billions in federal and provincial tax revenue. His actions also painted the oilsands, and TransCanada in a terrible light and unleashed a wave of anti-environmental activists on Canada–many of whom were big supporters of Obama and personal friends.
During his last visit to Canada, President Obama praised Alberta’s NDP on their new carbon taxation and environmental regulations. The NDP have eaten this up as confirmation that their plan is working, and unfortunately for Albertans, the NDP value President Obama’s opinion more than their own electorate.
— Rachel Notley (@RachelNotley) November 7, 2012
In early December, President Obama sided with radical anti-oil activists and denied Energy Transfer Partners the last permit it would need to complete the Dakota Access pipeline. As written about in a prior BOE Report article, the move legitimized this anti-industry movement and send a terrible message to protesters on both sides of the Canada-US border: no matter their message, or the tactics they use, they will always have a chance to stop much needed pipelines from construction because government has taken their side in the past.
Over the past eight years, there has been a growing hoard of anti-Alberta oil activists. Many are still making trips up to Fort McMurray in their fossil-fuel powered jets to criticize this sector. President Obama has been the primary driver of this due to his position and influence. With his departure, Canada’s oil industry has a grand opportunity. Unfortunately the President maximized his tenure to block whatever projects he could and terribly damage the reputation of Alberta’s chief industry.