The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

April 29, 2013

Our View: Energy autonomy trumps all

— Debate over the Keystone pipeline is heating up again. President Barack Obama is expected to decide this summer whether to approve the pipeline, which would carry 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada across six U.S. states to the Gulf Coast.

Back-and-forth debate continues about how many jobs will be created, what the environmental impact will be and what it will mean for economically depressed Midwest communities, but none of it is very helpful.

While these issues are important, they are only of secondary significance.

Of primary importance is our national interest, and it is in the short-term and long-term interest of this nation — militarily, economically and environmentally — to free us from the grip of unreliable, unstable and even hostile nations that we now depend on for oil.

We recognize, given the recent oil spill in Arkansas as well as the massive spill on the Gasconade River in Missouri two decades ago, that there will be risks.

However, we believe those risks are small and can be more easily controlled than the risks we run by our deepening dependence on Venezuelan, African or Mideast oil.

Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar has pointed out that since the Keystone project was originally proposed, there has been no shortage of crises that ought to serve as red flags, including: “Iranian threats against oil shipments and the U.S. Navy; war in Libya; hostilities in Iraq; Venezuelan antagonism; violence in Nigeria; political unrest in Russia; strained relations with Saudi Arabia; failing rule of law in Ecuador; and the ongoing threat of terrorism against energy infrastructure in multiple regions.”

Energy independence is the trump card that must be played in the Keystone debate.

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