I continue to be confused by “libertarian” support for the Keystone XL pipeline.
As I noted last month, my objection to Keystone is simple: It can’t be built without having the government steal land to build it on, from people who don’t care to sell.
For anyone operating under the label “libertarian,” that should be the end of the matter.
But I keep seeing “libertarian” calls for Keystone to be built.
Two things strike me as odd about these “libertarian” calls for Keystone:
- They usually don’t address the libertarian objection — eminent domain — at all; and
- The arguments they make are not only not libertarian arguments, but are in some cases just completely nonsensical.
The U. S. lacks pawns to be a leader in the foreign policy chess game — insufficient oil and natural gas production. Years of neglect in pushing fossil fuel production left the country unable to assist allies in times of emergency.
Russia provides substantial natural gas, oil, and coal to Europe that gives it leverage in the Ukraine Crises due to Europe’s fear of energy supply cutoff. The European Union has assisted in its servitude by resisting natural gas production by fracking and shutting down and curtailing future use of nuclear power plants.
The Ukraine Crises is an example of future events until the United States develops fossil fuel energy production superiority.
So the argument for Keystone is that it’s necessary to have it so the US government can dictate the affairs and relationships of other nations. That’s not a “libertarian” argument — libertarians are non-interventionists.
But even setting that aside, which we most manifestly should not, there are two major problems with the argument:
- The US already has “fossil fuel energy production superiority.” In 2013, the US produced 12.5 million barrels of oil per day versus Russia’s 10.5 million barrels per day. In fact, the US is now the world’s leading energy producer and a net energy exporter (it achieved both those distinctions during the “anti-energy” Obama administration, by the way).
- Keystone has nothing whatsoever to do with US energy production. It is a pipeline to trans-ship CANADIAN oil across the US to Gulf Coast refineries for CANADIAN export. It will increase neither US oil production nor US energy export by so much as a single calorie.
Over the years, I’ve been skeptical of lefty claims that prominent “libertarian” think tanks just shill for whatever corporations are willing to write checks for favorable “analysis.” But this kind of thing makes me wonder.
[cross-posted from KN@PPSTER — this piece is in the public domain]