American nimbyism real threat to Canada – by Diane Francis (National Post – October 29, 2011)

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The United States has become the world’s ultimate Banana Republic, a nation choked by the “Build-Absolutely-Nothing-Anywhere-Near-Anyone” people who prowl its corridors of power.

This, more than any Greek, Euro or banking crises, threatens Canadian living standards.

America’s political gridlock afflicts all forms of industrial or energy development. It is harming U.S. living standards and job creation that indirectly hurts Canada because of the close economic partnership. More specifically, the Banana mentality is threatening Canada’s critically important oil sands and the building of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline to bring 700,000 barrels a day of new production to the U.S. market.

The line has become a cause célèbre for the naysayers, activists, anarchists and their legions of lawyers who manipulate America’s complicated political system, courts and the media to cripple energy and economic development in the name of environmentalism.

The pile-on has been especially dramatic, considering that the oil sands are nowhere as noxious in terms of emissions than other American energy sources. Another victim is shale gas drilling in North America which provides natural gas at emissions which are a fraction of other energy sources.

What’s behind these battles is not the electorate but the rise, since the UN Copenhagen climate change fiasco, of a well-oiled, transnational environmentalism movement.

Borderless NGOs, with funds and contacts, have deputized themselves to impose a planetary agenda anywhere they choose to do so. In the past, environmental opposition has been locally based which made its participants accountable to the electorate, or back down, when their demands cost jobs or excessive damages to others or to the economy.

This transnational phenomena is a power unto itself. It scours the world for causes, except where it cannot generate headlines or results such as China, India, Russia or Appalachia where environmental degradation really is serious.

Instead, they have gone where the action, and publicity, is best and targets easy to pick off. Their favorite is the world’s biggest Banana Republic.

For Canadians, this is not just about a pipeline. Defeat of the Keystone Pipeline proposal will orphan Canada’s only economic trump card for years or forever. It will hurt mining, Canada’s underpinning, in general. It will lead to stopping the exploitation of shale gas, with its low emissions, because it will prevent the building of pipelines to bring the resource to consumers. The prevention of Keystone will be the thin edge of the wedge and block the building of any pipelines anywhere near anyone.

(Just to clarify, Alberta’s oil sands emissions are currently less than those generated by tiny Wisconsin’s coal-fired power generation plants.)

The question is: Why are these groups not forming human chains around America’s coal plants and launching their own Occupy Coal Plant movement? These are collectively the world’s greatest polluters, making China’s smokestacks look like Sweden’s emissions.

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