Make private companies happy. Don’t worry about the environment. Stop fretting about long-term sustainability. Forget renewables, property concerns, the safety of our water and air. Make private companies happy.
This was the 43rd president's message to the current administration at the DUG East conference held by the shale gas industry on Thursday.
With characteristic bluntness, George W. Bush spoke his mind on energy policy to several thousand oil and gas executives gathered in Pittsburgh at an exclusive luncheon on Wednesday.
“I think the goal of the country ought to be 'how do we grow the private sector?'” Mr. Bush said. “That ought to be the laser-focus of any administration. And therefore, once that’s the goal, an issue like Keystone pipeline becomes a no-brainer.”
“If private sector growth is the goal and Keystone pipeline creates 20,000 new private sector jobs, build the damn thing,” Mr. Bush said, prompting a burst of applause from the more than 4,000 oil and gas executives attending the conference.
In his candor, Mr. Bush also highlighted the essence of what burns bright but short in the fossil-fuel doctrine.
In emphasizing a get-it-now, don’t-worry-about-the-future approach to energy, he drove home why the Keystone XL pipeline has become such a lightning rod issue. The reason: it is symbolic of the overall short-sightedness of increasing our long-term addiction to oil rather than pushing with urgency toward renewable energy.
This is a guest post by Gus Van Harten, professor at the Osgoode Hall Law School and author of Sold Down the Yangtze: Canada's Lopsided Investment Deal with China. This post originally...