Gov. Bobby Jindal vowed to a group of oilmen in Canada on Tuesday that he will “fight like heck” for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
“Republicans understand that tapping into our abundant energy produces prosperity, creates jobs and gives Americans more choices,” the governor said in a copy of his remarks to the Oilmen’s Business Forum Luncheon in Alberta.
He characterized critics of the pipeline as the radical left, the blind leftwing, extremist and unscientific.
The governor flew to Banff, Alberta, Monday for the luncheon at the Fairmont Banff Springs in the Rocky Mountains. He shared the stage with Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., and Premier of Alberta Alison Redford for a keynote session on North American energy transformation.
By tackling the pipeline, Jindal touched on a hot-button issue that keeps reigniting in Washington, D.C.
The pipeline would run from Canada to Houston and Port Arthur, Texas. It would be an extension of an existing pipeline. Environmentalists, including a billionaire clean energy philanthropist, oppose the project as an environmental threat and a possible tool in the manipulation of the oil supply that drives gas prices. In June, President Barack Obama said he wants proof that the pipeline will not make carbon pollution worse before approving the project.
“The sad truth is that the Democrat Party in America is the party of energy austerity, and is holding America hostage to their extremist and unscientific views,” Jindal said Tuesday. “They want the government to tell Americans to live in smaller houses, drive smaller cars, set their thermostats higher in the summer and lower in the winter.”
Beyond the politics of the pipeline, the project matters to Louisiana because it would make the U.S. less dependent on oil from other foreign sources, said Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.
“It’s an important project. It’s a huge project. We need the crude oil,” he said after learning of the governor’s remarks.
Briggs said there also needs to be concern about Canada making good on a threat to ship the crude oil to China if the pipeline project fails.
“If we don’t get, China will get it. That’s the last thing we need to happen,” he said.
Obama said this summer that the project carries the risk of more dangerous spills and higher U.S. gas prices.
“It certainly will carry dilbit, the nasty goop produced from tar sands that requires diluting with other fuels and high-pressure pumping for transport, meaning that if a spill occurs, the results are far more expansive and dangerous,” the president said.
In his speech Tuesday, Jindal set out to debunk what he characterized as leftwing arguments.
He disputed that the pipeline will have a material impact on greenhouse gas emissions, that the crude oil that will flow through it will be more dangerous or that the oil will be exported.
“What the extremist left is arguing against is affordable energy,” the governor said. “They want energy to remain expensive. They want less consumption of energy, and in a growing country, reduced consumption means reduced economic growth or negative growth.”