Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oil and Infrastructure to China, What Will Americans Get?

It seems we are locked in a perpetual political campaign with Republicans lining up to oppose Barack Obama and Obama doing what he can to solidify his grasp on power. Promises are made, promises are broken. Positions are taken and fingers are pointed all over the place for blame for our predicament.

Most of all we will hear what each candidate believes to be the answer to the nation’s problems, how to bring the unemployment numbers down, how to rebuild the country, how to improve the average citizens life and you can expect to hear offers of how government either will step in to take care of us or how it demeans us when it does.

Pretty much the same old tired political posturing we always hear while people still remain unemployed in historic numbers and see no way out.

Two areas of importance that receive a lot of lip service are energy and infrastructure. Energy is power. Power to fuel the nation to prosperity and maintain our lifestyle. Infrastructure is freedom of movement in a safe and efficient manner. Both are necessary to move our goods within our borders and overseas.

As important as both are and as much attention as they have expressed towards them during campaigns, it is unthinkable that both are slipping away from us rapidly.

Politicians always cry about improving infrastructure and creating jobs in doing so. They tell us we can put people back to work by “investing” in our infrastructure. But, as we look closer it is appalling to find infrastructure projects that are billed as putting Americans back to work being outsourced to China!

The eastern span of the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco is being replaced after a portion of it collapsed in 1989 during an earthquake. By not seeking or accepting federal funds to build a new bridge, California was able to avoid the “Buy America provisos would probably have required purchasing more expensive steel and fabrication from U.S. manufacturers.”

The state-owned Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. was selected to fabricate 28 sections of the bridge with Chinese steel assembled by Chinese elders, polishers and other laborers totally some 3,000 Chinese working long hours and earning $12 day.

While American workers will assemble the bridge and pour the concrete in America, American workers and steel companies lost out on manufacturing the sections to be used in the $7.2 Billion project.

California’s reason? American steel is too expensive as is the labor costs to manufacture the sections as China has surpassed America and other countries to be the world’s largest manufacturer of steel.

If you believe this is a one-time event that will not hurt American workers, the article linked above informs us, “In New York City alone, Chinese companies have won contracts to help renovate the subway system, refurbish the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River and build a new Metro-North train platform near Yankee Stadium.”

I have no doubt this is being seen in other American cities as China’s industry replaces ours for some of our infrastructure projects.

As China’s industrial might grows so does their energy consumption. While we tout overly expensive, inefficient and unreliable “Green Alternate Energy” sources, China’s might grows by relying on the proven efficient sources of coal and petroleum. Coal & oil they are now trying to buy wherever they can get it.

Here in Washington State, environmentalists are having some success fighting shipments of American coal to China, further denying jobs to American workers at the ports and coal mines.

In addition to our massive coal reserves, America has a lot of petroleum sitting underground within our borders and offshore that are blocked from extracting by environmental regulations and politicians, forcing us to purchase our oil from other countries.

Canada, our closest and largest trading partner is where we receive the majority of our imported oil from and as this blog previously showed HERE and HERE, have billions of barrels of oil in the Alberta Oil Sands they desire to extract and sell to us.

To accomplish that, a pipeline is awaiting approval from the State Department to run from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast. That pipeline, Keystone XL is also being fought by environmentalists and politicians who would rather we be dependent on those so called “Green Energy” sources that have yet to be perfected, cost much more than oil and that do not produce near the amount of energy as does oil.

Did I mention many of those are also coming to America via China?

Of particular concern, as efforts are ongoing in blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline Project and elected officials continue writing and passing legislation keeping our own resources off-limits to extraction, our friends from China are seeking Canada’s oil for their industries.

Unlike America, Canada intends to extract their oil and sell it. Doing so keeps Canadians working, earning paychecks and contributing their share of taxes into the Canadian treasury. By all indications, they would rather sell it to us. But, to keep their people working, if we drag our feet on the Pipeline and cave to environmentalists, who by the way, drive their own cars to their protests, cars requiring petroleum based fuel, Canada may instead sell to China, who is ready to buy now.

Mark Green, of the American Petroleum Institute sees the potential job loss as informs us of a of a new report by the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) saying, “Onerous regulations, endless layers of red tape, restricted access to critical supplies of domestic energy and a lack of direction from government are only a few of the many examples of artificial barriers that paralyze business and make it difficult for America to grow and prosper.”

At risk, “more than 500,000 potential jobs by 2025 and an additional $51 billion in increased energy costs to the transportation sector over the last year alone” Mark tells us.

We like to think of ourselves as the World’s Lone Superpower and the richest nation on the planet with the highest standard of living. At the same time, though, we forget we are also number one on the list as the nation with the highest external debt, a debt now exceeding $14 Trillion with Barack Obama and several politicians desiring to increase.

Much of that debt is to China.

If we don’t stop this madness soon, one day in the future we will be drilling our own oil resources. Except, we won’t be drilling it for American Industry. We’ll be those $12 a day workers drilling American oil to fuel China’s Industry.

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