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Keystone rejection makes U.S. vulnerable

Might the U.S. see another energy crisis like the 1970s thanks to Obama?

Neither the Obama administration nor The Sun have any concept of U.S. energy security and the potential danger from supply disruptions ("Au revoir, Keystone," Nov. 9). In 1942, the United States was self-sufficient in crude supply and refining capacity with a large portion of that capacity in the Northeast — supplied from Texas by coastal tankers —- as was the industrial production capacity, which used a large supply of fuel oil.

In 1942, the German submarine Wolf Pack sunk most of the coastal tanker fleet and restricted the war efforts. Unable to protect the ships, the Navy banned water-borne deliveries and with a shortage of rail cars to replace the coastal fleet, the Northeast factories were starved of fuel. There were riots in the winter of 1942/1943 because of heating oil shortages. A crude oil pipeline was built starting in 1942 from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast and completed in less than a year. A products pipeline was completed in early 1944. Without those pipelines, World War II would have ended in Germany's favor.

Alaskan North Slope crude was discovered in 1965, but environmentalists prevented the installation of a pipeline to deliver crude to the lower 48 states. By 1970, the U.S. was no longer self-sufficient in crude production. By 1974, after a series of U.S. government blunders, the oil producing nations abrogated the concessions with U.S. oil companies, cut production, raised crude prices from $1.50 to $15 per barrel and embargoed the U.S. The results were supply shortages of gasoline, massive lines at service stations and the 1980s recession. The Alaskan pipeline was built as a result of the supply crisis but if Alaskan crude had been available in 1974, the U.S. would have been self-sufficient in supply — there would have been no long gasoline lines, no price spike and no recession.

The Keystone XL pipeline falls into the same category, supplying 800,000 barrels per day of reliable Canadian crude that buffers the risk of unstable Middle East crude. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, all anachronistic Sunni monarchies, are surrounded by Shia Iran and Iranian supported guerrillas in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen and Sunni radical ISIS in Iraq and the Sinai. There is a high probability that these monarchies will be replaced by Sunni or Shia radicals and embargo crude supplies as a weapon against the U.S.

The rejection of the pipeline will have absolutely no affect on global carbon dioxide production since the 800,000 barrels will go to Asians who will have a measure of energy security while the decision will lock the U.S. into volatile Middle East supplies for the lost 800,000 barrels per day and a replay of the 1970s.

Replacing fossil fuels with sun and wind supplies will be as successful as the Middle Ages alchemists converting lead to gold. There is no current technical capability to store massive amounts of electric power. Because of the random variability of the sun and wind projects, fossil fuel facilities have to be operating and cycling, wasting steam to immediately provide backup power when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing. After a frenzied 10-year construction program starting in the 1990s, a North Sea wind farm for Denmark became the poster child for wind power with installed capacity reputed to supply 20 percent of the country's power requirements. By 2005, no fossil fuel plants were shut down and with no measurable increase in population, there was no decrease in carbon dioxide production and power costs are triple that of the U.S.

The global warming lobby refuses to look at the world's only successful carbon dioxide reduction program. Without destroying its economy, France produces 75 percent of its energy requirements by nuclear power. The country reprocesses spent nuclear waste, has built the world's most advanced high-speed electric rail system and minimized sun and wind projects. The country deliberately maintains a number of coal-fired plants to avoid major problems for a declining miner population. Most important, it produces one-third of the carbon on a per capita basis as the U.S. Rejecting XL pipeline has nothing to do with solving a serious problem but with giving President Obama a much needed boost in the next global warming conference. And we will all suffer for it.

Charles Campbell, Woodstock

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