The Fraser Institute



The Fraser Institute

June 13, 2013 06:32 ET

Fraser Institute: Obama's Green Agenda and U.S. Oil and Gas Boom Pose Hurdles for Canadian Energy Exports

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - June 13, 2013) - Key energy and environmental policymakers in U.S. 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, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

"Obama's new 'Green Team' is expected to maintain the policy playbook from the President's first term: pushing for more aggressive environmental regulations, faster expansion of the renewable energy sector, and heavier regulations on natural gas production via fracking," 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.

"Because the U.S. consumes virtually all of Canada's energy exports, such policies are a blow to Canada's energy export ambitions, including the Keystone XL pipeline."

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). All individuals profiled have a strong record of pursuing energy programs that favour increasingly stringent environmental standards plus wind and solar over conventional energy development.

The report argues that because of the tradition of harmonizing U.S. and Canadian environmental policies, the 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, as Canada has a policy of harmonizing environmental regulations with the U.S. through NAFTA," Green said.

However, an even bigger risk to increasing Canada's energy exports to the United States could result from the massive boom in U.S. oil and gas production, reducing America's appetite for Canadian oil.

"U.S.-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.

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of 86 think-tanks. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org.

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