John F. Kerry is halfway around the world, taking tea in the last of the nine nations at the end of his inaugural tour. Diplomatic tea parties are great fun, if that's your taste, but work awaits on his new desk back at the State Department. Dealing with the Keystone XL pipeline should be first on his agenda.
Plans for the pipeline to bring needed oil from Canada to the United States have collected dust awaiting State Department approval, necessary because the pipeline crosses an international boundary. Mr. Kerry's signature on the dotted line would do a lot more for America in a few seconds' work with a pen than four years of frequent flying.
The Keystone XL would provide relief by bringing 830,000 barrels of crude every day from Canada's Alberta province to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Unless Mr. Kerry works his persuasive powers on the president, we might wait longer for a gallon of regular than for Godot. President Obama is committed to the energy policy of the left, favoring windmills and solar panels over reliable and efficient oil and gas to reduce global warming.
Mr. Kerry visited Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar over 11 days in the style a secretary of state expects. Americans, on the other hand, must travel more modestly. Throughout President Obama's first term and into his second, motorists have ridden a roller coaster ride to the gasoline pumps. Peaking in mid-September of 2012 at a national average of $3.88 a gallon, the price fell to $3.50 on Election Day and then to $3.25 by Christmas. A week later the price was in flight again, and today stands at $3.77 in the daily fuel report of the American Automobile Association.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration attributes this to "gasoline crack spread," a formula describing the difference between the cost of crude oil and the wholesale price of gasoline. The agency blames refinery outages and rising global oil demand. There's no shortage of excuses for the pain at the pump, but there's not enough oil flowing into the United States to keep gasoline prices steady and affordable.
Conclusive scientific basis for environmental extremism, unlike the polar ice, appears to be melting. A paper published last week in the journal Cryosphere reported that surface ice and snow has been accumulating for more than 150 years. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, conceded in a recent interview with the newspaper The Australian that global temperatures have not risen in 17 years. He cautions, however, that the trend must persist for 30 to 40 years to conclusively discount the notion that the globe is warming.
There was good news Friday when the State Department released a study confirming the pipeline would not have a negative impact on the environment. Now more good news is needed. If Secretary Kerry wants to use his role as diplomat to brighten the American future, he should further speed the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Washington Times
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