Not many people noticed during the run up to the Iowa caucuses and last year’s payroll tax fight that a far more important, and potentially game-changing, resolution passed the Senate at the end of 2011. It was the authorization for the $3 billion Keystone XL pipeline connecting us to Canada’s booming oil shale production, which the Senate has given President Obama sixty days to either sign or not sign as “not in the national interest.”
What’s at stake here isn’t just new access to oil, or even jobs–some 20,000 in the construction phase alone and perhaps as many 600,000 jobs by 2035, once those 70,000 barrels of oil a day start flowing. It’s America’s future as the new energy giant of the 21st century.
Consider these facts:
We are already the world’s number three oil producer at 7.5 million barrels a day.
In June Exxon-Mobil announced discovery of a massive new field in the Gulf of Mexico, with as many as 700 million barrels waiting to be tapped.
Montana and North Dakota sit on an oil shale formation that could produce another four billion barrels.
In addition, Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Reserve’s fields and National Petroleum Reserve could easily add another thirty billion barrels to add to a new American gusher.
Even if you don’t count Alaska, the new boom of off-shore drilling and oil shale production should add another 1.5 million barrels a day to our domestic output by 2015. That’s closing on Saudi Arabia’s daily total.