WESTERN KENTUCKY (5/13/12) – When Canadian Consul General Roy Norton visited Kentucky on Tuesday, he talked a lot about how his country and Kentucky enjoy a healthy trade relationship. He was the keynote speaker for a joint Economic Development Council and Christian County Chamber luncheon held in Hopkinsville at the Golf and Country Club. Norton represents Canada in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
Norton spent a portion of his time addressing energy concerns for North America. He mentioned that Canada is the United States’ largest single source of imported oil and that we buy more oil from Canada than from Saudi Arabia and Mexico combined. The oil originates from the oil sands of Northern Alberta. Norton adds that the integrated economy means that the U.S. benefits from the oil trade, “Because we rely so heavily on U.S. produced equipment, services and technology, overwhelmingly the investment that is made in the oil sands reverts to the United States.” He says that the investment in energy currently underway is expected to create 340,000 jobs in the U.S. with 4,800 of them in Kentucky.
Furthermore, 99% of Canada’s petroleum exports go to the United States according to Norton. He says that pipelines are “by far the cleanest and most efficient way of transporting oil to market.” You may recall that TransCanada Corporation’s application to build the Keystone XL pipeline from the border to Nebraska was rejected by President Obama in January of this year. The company submitted a second permit application on May 7. The end result would supply raw crude from Canada all the way to the refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Norton says that Keystone would carry 800,000 barrels of oil per day. He says that happens to be the exact amount the United States imports daily from Venezuela. Norton stressed that once the market for the oil was established in the U.S. and full capacity was reached it would mean that America could displace all the oil imported not only from Venezuela, but from the entire Middle East.
Norton believes that North American energy self-sufficiency is a realistic goal. He adds, “We can become independent of the world, insofar as reliance on energy is concerned and our government rather likes the idea of what that independence might mean in terms of foreign policy choices that we would dictate instead of having them dictated to us.”
Norton concluded this portion of his remarks by recognizing that the pipeline has bipartisan support across the country. He says the project also enjoys good support from Kentucky legislators, “I like to think that folks in the Commonwealth reveal a great deal of common sense.”
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