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Sierra Club: Our Most ‘Potent Ally’ Against Keystone XL is House of Saud

In the latest issue of Sierra magazine, The Sierra Club argues that an “even more potent ally” than President Obama in their fight against the Keystone XL pipeline is the House of Saud, the largest exporter of petroleum liquids in the world.

“Environmentalists are depending on President Barack Obama’s veto pen to block the project–at least until the State Department issues its final ruling in the matter,” writes Sierra’s Paul Rauber. “But we have another, even more potent ally in the fight: the House of Saud.”

This new-found ally—which owns 16% of the world’s oil reserves and has the world’s largest crude oil production capability—Rauber explains, is helping to thwart the progress of the pipeline deal:

Rather than cutting back production in order to stabilize oil prices, the world’s largest oil producer is keeping its petroleum taps wide open, hoping to drown upstart competitors in Canada, North Dakota, and Russia in a sea of cheap oil.

The dramatically cheaper crude oil, Rauber explains, are “sure to stifle new production–and put the hurt on sellers of expensive, dirty oil to new customers.”

According to Rauber’s logic, the way to combat “dirty oil” is to make that “dirty oil” more inexpensive and thus more accessible globally. Rauber acknowledges the contradiction, but maintains that this is all the more reason to champion Obama’s oppressive new fuel economy standards:

Of course, this “sea of cheap oil” has its own severe environmental downsides. Sales of gas-guzzling vehicles are rebounding, for example, creating a bind for automakers who are under federal mandates to increase the fuel-efficiency of their vehicle fleets. This is when we see the real value of higher fuel economy rules[…]

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