Canadian Minister Accuses His Country’s Environmentalists Of Behaving Like American Environmentalists

In an open letter, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver accuses Canadian environmental activists of trying to delay the development of the Keystone XL pipeline to the point where building it is no longer economically feasible.

Just like the Americans do it:

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.

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.

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.

“That bit about the “quintessential American approach” hurts only because it’s true,” writes Ronald Bailey. Indeed.

Obama’s attempt to punt a decision about the Keystone XL pipeline beyond the 2012 elections has been cast as dithering and indecisiveness on his part. But, in reality, Obama was being very decisive. Delay is exactly what the environmentalists want. They don’t have the political clout to get their way in Washington, even with Democrats holding the Senate and the White House, so they resort to a sort of defacto prohibition through obstruction.

It’s a tactic swiped from the gun control movement. Absent the political clout necessary to actually ban guns, the gun control folks push to make it so difficult to buy, possess and carry a gun that nobody bothers to do it.

The environmentalists don’t want environmental protection. They want us to stop using oil and gas, and their tactic of the moment is to make oil and gas development so difficult in this country that companies can’t or won’t do it.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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