By Rick Santorum
President Obama's flat-out rejection of the Keystone Pipeline is radical, irresponsible, and dumbfounding. Sadly though, It is yet another example of this President's capitulation to the radical environmental fringe which puts our economy and national security at risk. Our nation needs to become energy independent and this pipeline would have been an important step in that direction. Instead of an estimated twenty thousand jobs going to Americans -- those jobs will go to our international competitors like China.
This behavior is nothing new from President Obama -- you don't have to look any further than the failure of the green energy companies like Solyndra and Beacon Power. President Obama had the arrogance to try and pick winners and losers at the taxpayer's expense rather than to invest in proven energy sources that are also proven job creators.
While Barack Obama doesn't understand the importance of energy security, our enemies sure do. There is no coincidence that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's first stop on a recent four-nation tour of Latin America was to meet Venezuela's ruthless dictator Hugo Chavez. Iran and Venezuela have vast cultural differences, but they share two similarities. Both countries are among the world's top crude-oil exporters, and both of their leaders share a relentless hatred for American values. Chavez continues to threaten that he will cut off his oil supply even though the U.S. is his country's number one consumer. Ahmadinejad is building an underground network in Latin America as well as with its neighbors in the Middle East. He continues to use political leverage by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz which provides passage for some 15.5 million barrels of crude oil per day, amounting to one third of the world's seaborne oil shipments.
Dependence on foreign energy gives our enemies the ability to ignore America's values, interests, ideals, feeds the beast of radical Islam, and weakens our political effectiveness globally.
Nevertheless, the president continues to refuse the expansion of domestic off-shore drilling. He touts putting together a five-year plan but he drops the ball when it comes to opening areas to access, exploration, and drilling. America is one of the few nations to put known large domestic supplies of oil and gas off-limits to exploration. Meanwhile, the Chinese have purchased drilling leases from Cuba. They'll be drilling 45 miles off the coast of Florida while American workers sit on the bench and watch Chinese workers perform their job.
My plan will unleash America's energy production. It creates energy security that strengthens our national security and decreases reliance on unreliable and adversarial nations. We need to expand domestic innovations and energy resources. This includes oil, natural gas, hydro, biomass, wind, solar, clean coal, and nuclear energy. As President, I will remove bans on drilling--both onshore and offshore. This will immediately increase supply, create jobs, and bring revenues to federal and state governments. I will immediately approve the construction of the Keystone pipeline, reduce the Environmental Protection Agency's overreach by repealing its job-killing, bureaucratic regulations, and refocus its efforts on common-sense conservation goals such as preserving clean air and water.
Pennsylvania is a perfect template for the model: increase supply means lower prices. Market forces are driving natural gas exploration there and as a result the price has dramatically dropped -- from $13 per 1,000 cubic feet down to $2.60 per 1,000 cubic feet. In addition, experts predict this could create up to 200,000 jobs by 2020 in Pennsylvania alone, and lower energy costs for families and businesses.
I will also restructure the priorities and cut the personnel of the Department of Energy. Right now the government spends an exorbitant amount of money on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and alternative-energy vehicles. All of these energy sources and technologies are currently available in the private sector, but they are not commercially viable because of burdensome regulations. It is not the government's role to force these technologies into the market place. I, unlike President Obama, realize that market forces will create the most sustainable forms of energy. This will encourage economic growth, create U.S. jobs, lower costs to consumers, and will help bring us back on the road to growth and opportunity.
The message is clear. We need a leader who understands that we must unleash our domestic energy production to enhance our national security and grow our economy. Unlike sending a man to the moon, this is not rocket science. Countries like Brazil, France, and Canada have largely achieved self sufficiency through biofuels, nuclear energy, and natural gas and oil respectively. Now is the time to unleash our great energy resources to expand American job opportunities, strengthen our national security,and preserve and grow our status as the leading economy in the world.