Fraser Inst. Confuses US's Energy Security for Canada's in New Report

by Citizens' Press — last modified 2013-05-28T13:53:23-04:00

I almost hesitate to pass along Fraser Inst. report because people are busy and there is not a lot gained from reading nonsense or regurgitated Conservative Party talking points. But, I figured there is enough room to complain on the Internet today.

The Fraser Institute has put out a new "alert" about Canada's (or is it the US's?) energy security and how the Keystone XL pipeline is crucial to protecting it. It is not as if we have not heard that one before from other sources who have everything to gain from pipelines.

It is worth noting here (in case you have been living outside Canada for a while) that the stuff that Fraser puts out is generally terrible. However, this one goes one step farther and promotes the "analysis" of the US Chamber of Commerce's front group "Institute for 21st Century Energy", which Source Watch says is essentially a lobby group for the oil industry interests. The analysis in the report is so clearly supportive of the US Chamber's position (including that the second author of the report is from that front group) that it leads to the question of which institute actually wrote it. The US Chamber's main focus these days is on lobbying for the Keystone XL pipeline and fracking and is dedicating special time to promoting that agenda as any Internet search of the organization will show.

The Institute's report argues that Canada (and the US) has the potential to increase its energy security because of the reduced power of OPEC and the Geo-political mess that is the Middle East right now, not to mention the rise in Shale Gas and Oil projects in the US. However, the report argues, it apparently all hinges on the Keystone XL pipeline because without the US is in danger. It quotes:

"International Security Risk report suggests that approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would be in America’s best security interest"

And, since this is the Fraser Inst. we are talking about here (or is it the US Chamber?), it is taken as a given that Canada must do what is in the US's best interest.

The problem of course is that it is all nonsense. Recent reports have put the shale gas and oil development ahead of the tar sands in terms of US energy security and priority. Canada's energy security would be better served focusing on our own oil refining market, not exporting as much as we are importing and actually paying attention to the environmental concerns with rapid development of the tar sands. Additionally, rail transport of bitumen continues to be possible and expansion of that system to niche markets is working fine.

The report is also leaning on the assumption that bitumen would be exported and refined in the US. This is not exactly in the best interests of Canada. All this is not surprising since it seems to be written from the US Chamber of Commerce's perspective.

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