No, this is not a joke.
"Where Do You Want to Get Your Oil From?" the grammatically-improper question -- in 20 point bright yellow font -- asks above a large photo of the US map. There's a big curving arrow, decorated with both the Canadian and U.S. flags that shows how this wondrous oil will magically flow from Canada to the states. Off to the side are ominous circles with black drawings of tankers labeled "OPEC" and "VENEZUELA," sinister and threatening.
"What Will President Obama Decide?" asks the next big yellow headline, continuing "The Keystone XL pipeline will provide 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada and U.S. sources to American refineries. That's 800,000 barrels a day that we won't need to import from countries that don't always share our values." [In case you missed it, that would be the OPEC nations -- and Venezuela]. "The Keystone XL pipeline could put thousands of Americans to work and generate millions in investments and revenues. The choice is clear. Tell President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline today."
There there is this link that leaps you to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce page sponsored by the "Partnership to Fuel America! Join us in helping to create jobs while ensuring a more secure and reliable energy future!"
The campaign sounds so clean and wholesome; an American project to create American jobs and generate American oil for American use. Right ...
No? The only problem is, the ad is a lie. Once this toxic sludge is pumped out of Canada across the United States, there's no guarantee that any of the refined product will remain in North America. In fact, the Chinese have already bought a substantial interest in Canada's oil holdings with its purchase of Nexen Inc. last month.
"U.S. regulators have approved the $15.1 billion takeover of Canadian oil and gas company Nexen Inc by China's state-owned CNOOC Ltd, removing the final obstacle to the Asian country's largest-ever foreign takeover ... The Nexen acquisition gives CNOOC new offshore production in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and off western Africa, as well as producing properties in the Middle East and Canada. In Canada, CNOOC gains control of Nexen's Long Lake oil sands project in the oil-rich province of Alberta, as well as billions of barrels of reserves in the world's third-largest crude storehouse. Canada approved the takeover late last year even though some members of the governing Conservative Party had misgivings about China's human rights record."
And then there are the obvious, ongoing environmental concerns about this project. At some point you have to ask, is it worth the potentially devastating aftermath to squeeze every last dirty drop of crude from the dirt? Would it not make more sense to invest in environmentally-friendly energy sources?
Chinadialogue.com has this:
" The environmental campaigner Bill McKibben has recounted a now-famous conversation he had with James Hansen of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in which he asked the climate scientist what Keystone would mean for climate change. 'Essentially, it's game over for the planet,' said Hansen. Hansen has been arrested four times for protesting construction of the pipeline, which he has called 'a 1,500-mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent.'
"'The high price of oil on the international market, largely driven by an increase in demand in Asia, is the only reason why these dirty fuels are commercially viable,' said Jamie Henn, communications director for 350.org, a US campaign group founded by McKibben and others.
So ... we are taking these huge environmental risks to ensure that the Chinese have adequate oil supplies? Really?
The ad in the Times today missed that part.