By Rick Dow 

The 800-pound black-gold gorilla in the room


Regarding the Nov. 25, Havre Daily News story headlined "Baucus asks businesses how to boost border trade:"

Rick Dow

Senator Baucus is chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which has sole jurisdiction on international trade and border protections. Numerous studies, testimonies and questionnaires over the past decade have confirmed that making Wild Horse a 24-hour commercial port would have a positive economic impact on our local economy. Throughout the history of our country, increasing international trade rather than discouraging it has been fundamental to our success. Managing mutually beneficial trade agreements and treaties with our friends to the north is vital for both of our countries. Why, then, does hesitancy exist on the part of our Canadian neighbors?

The April 1 lawsuit which halted the transportation of the "megaloads" to Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta by the County Commissioners of Missoula, Wildlife Federation, Montana Environmental Information Center and the Montana chapter of the Sierra Club made it more costly and inconvenient to do business in our country. Additionally, the decision by President Barack Obama to delay approval of the Keystone Pipeline was not received well by either Canadians or Americans. In the words of Canadian Prime Minister Harper, "There has been extremely negative reaction to this decision in the United States, because this pipeline and this project is obviously what's in the best interests, not just of the Canadian economy, but also the American economy."

According to a transcript of remarks to reporters at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu, Prime Minister Harper ominously added. "This does underscore the necessity of Canada making sure that we're able to access Asian markets for our energy products, and that will be an important priority of this government going forward." In other words they may go directly west through Canada with the pipeline and forego the business averse environment here in the U.S.A., which has been greatly enhanced by our current administration.

So, while local and state efforts continue, (and they should,) the broader perspective should be on making our business climate more conducive to actually doing business, which creates private sector jobs here in the United States of America. Many of our elected officials are being held hostage by the demands of radical environmental laws and groups. There are no better examples than the Missoula County Commissioners and the aforementioned environmental groups' "Megaload" lawsuit or the Keystone Pipeline decision by President Obama.

How can the Canadians truly believe that we want to increase trade with them at the Wild Horse port or anywhere else while suffering so many glaring examples to the contrary?

(Rick Dow is a Havre community organizer.)


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