Obama’s green agenda poses hurdles for Canadian energy exports

Fraser Institute report warns US energy self-sufficiency will reduce America's appetite for Canadian oil.

June 13, 2013   by PLANT STAFF

US to tap new domestic fossil fuel reserves.

CALGARY — Key energy and environmental policymakers in US President Barack Obama’s second-term cabinet are likely to pursue an agenda that hinders Canada’s plans to greatly increase energy production and exports, argues a new study from the Fraser Institute.

The Canadian public policy think-tank with offices across Canada says in its report Obama’s “Green Team” will for more aggressive environmental regulations, faster expansion of the renewable energy sector, and heavier regulations on natural gas production via fracking.

“Because the US consumes virtually all of Canada’s energy exports, such policies are a blow to Canada’s energy export ambitions, including the Keystone XL pipeline,” said Kenneth P. Green, Fraser Institute senior director of natural resources and co-author of Obama’s Green Team 2.0: Implications for Canadian Energy and Environmental Policy.


Obama’s Green Team 2.0 profiles the newly installed cabinet officials and agency leaders who will set energy and environmental policy for the president’s second term: John Kerry (Secretary of State), Sally Jewell (Secretary of the Interior), Ernest Moniz (Secretary of Energy), and Gina McCarthy (Administrator of the EPA, to be confirmed shortly). Each has a strong record of pursuing energy programs that favour increasingly stringent environmental standards plus wind and solar over conventional energy development.

Because of the tradition of harmonizing US and Canadian environmental policies through NAFTA, the report contends positions of the ‘Green Team’ on three core issues (climate change, green energy, and fracking) will likely have a direct impact on Canada.

“Should the United States move ahead on highly restrictive environmental regulations, Canada’s energy producers could find themselves facing new hurdles,” Green said.

However, an even bigger risk to increasing Canada’s energy exports to the US could result from the massive boom there in oil and gas production, reducing America’s appetite for Canadian oil.

“US-based environmental groups are already using the energy self-sufficiency argument to campaign against increasing Canadian access to American markets via the Keystone XL pipeline,” Green said.

Click here for a copy of the report.

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