U.S. jobs from Canadian energy

As the 111th Congress wraps up its business, it’s time to look ahead – to a new year and, hopefully, to renewed economic opportunities and job growth for our economy. So, I thought I’d spend a little time talking about the opportunity to create hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs by partnering with our neighbor to the north.

Canada not only supplies the largest portion of U.S. oil imports, but its oil sands production also represents a huge opportunity for American job growth. A study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) found that with continued oil sands development:

  • Almost 350,000 U.S. jobs could be created from 2011 to 2015.
  • On average, U.S. output of goods and services – from various U.S. industrial sectors such as manufacturing, construction, and transportation – could increase by $62 billion per year from 2009 to 2025.

To take advantage of this opportunity, the CERI study makes it clear that policymakers should not rule out oil sands development as a valuable tool for increasing U.S. economic activity and energy security.

“Amidst a global financial crisis, uncertain commodity prices and an unclear geopolitical landscape, the public in both the United States and Canada are expecting policy-makers to formulate a balanced set of energy and environmental policies,” researchers concluded. “Policy decisions made today can have large impacts on investment levels and energy supply for decades into the future.”

In recent times there has been discussion among some policymakers about measures to prevent the United States from taking advantage of fuels derived from oil sands. Policies and decisions that could discriminate against Canadian oil, such as low-carbon fuel standards and opposition to new pipeline developments, would ultimately restrict North American energy supplies and undermine our economic recovery.

If we’re going to maximize the benefit of Canada’s energy endowment in the interests of American jobs and economic growth, we’ll need consistency in policymaking and the understanding by elected officials that all economic fuel sources are required to meet growing demand.

I hope in 2011 we can continue a national discussion about the enormous opportunities that Canada’s energy resources hold for the United States.