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Louisiana Governor accuses ‘radical left’ of blocking Keystone pipeline

In this March 15, 2013 file photo Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal speaks in National Harbor, Md. Mr. Jindal spoke at the Oilmen’s Business Forum in Banff on Aug. 20, 2013, and accused the ‘radical left’ of blocking the Keystone XL pipeline.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal launched a blistering attack on "the radical left" Tuesday, accusing it of attempting to wreck the U.S. economy by opposing the Keystone XL pipeline and Canada's vast oil sands in favour of unrealistic "green" energy.

The likely Republican presidential contender told a Canadian oil patch forum in Banff, Alta., that the "sad truth is that the Democrat Party in America is the party of energy austerity, and is holding America hostage to their extremist and unscientific views."

Without mentioning Barack Obama by name, Mr. Jindal savaged the President's pledge to cut carbon emissions and denounced Democrats as beholden to the "radical left" and seeking to reshape the way Americans live.

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Blocking Keystone XL is just one step in a zealous ideological scheme, he said.

"They want the government to tell Americans to live in smaller houses, drive smaller cars, set their thermostats higher in the summer and lower in the winter," Mr. Jindal said, according to an advance copy of his speech.

Among others scheduled to address the Oilmen's Business Forum, a one-day event at the famed mountain resort, were Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Canada's ambassador to Washington, Gary Doer, who has led a long pro-Keystone XL lobbying campaign on Ottawa's behalf.

The controversial and long-delayed $5.3-billion pipeline would funnel Alberta oil sands crude to huge refineries on the Texas and Louisiana coasts and Mr. Jindal is among the project's most ardent backers in the United States.

But Mr. Obama has warned that he won't approve the pipeline unless it can be proven not to substantially worsen the carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

Mr. Jindal's withering attack on those who claim Keystone XL will provide the vital export route essential to major expansion of Alberta's huge oil sands reserves dismissed all opposition claims as groundless. Concerns about safety and carbon emissions were all "false" he said, adding: "And for the record, I am a fan of clean air and water."

"Opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline represents the ultimate example of placing politics and political ideology over common sense," he said.

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He dismissed the claims of environmentalists and others opposed to Keystone XL as baseless, save for "an irrational liberal ideology that blindly and unscientifically opposes all forms of energy which they themselves do not deem to be sufficiently 'green' or 'renewable.'"

The governor's rousing assault on the pipeline's opponents comes at a delicate time for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, which has staunchly backed Keystone XL but is on notice from Mr. Obama that it must do more to curb Canadian carbon emissions to make the case for Alberta oil sands more politically palatable in the United States.

"There is no doubt that Canada at the source in those tar sands could potentially be doing more to mitigate carbon release," Mr. Obama said earlier this month.

According to Mr. Jindal, that shouldn't be necessary.

Alberta's oil sands offer the United States a safe and secure source of reliable energy and Keystone XL should be quickly approved, he said.

"The blind leftwing ideologues have thrown out a number of arguments against the pipeline in an attempt to shroud their real motives," he said, adding: "But we all know their opposition is purely based on the fact they oppose all forms of fossil fuel energy."

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The governor's speech was mostly music to the ears of Canadian proponents of Keystone XL, but he did refer to Alberta's reserves as "tar sands" the term favoured by environmentalists and others opposed to their development.

"The left is not arguing against Canadian tar sands -- they know they cannot control Canada's sovereign right to utilize its God-given resources for its own economic security … What the extremist left is arguing against is affordable energy," Mr. Jindal said.

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International Affairs and Security Correspondent

Paul More

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