It’s a tough sell, but you can’t fault him for trying. In a speech on energy policy at Heritage Action’s Conservative Policy Summit today, Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican freshman from Texas, said environmentalists should be enthusiastic supporters of the Keystone XL Pipeline construction.
“If you are a birkenstock-wearing, tree-hugging Greenpeace activist, you should love the Keystone pipeline,” he said.
Cruz said the pipeline will reduce America’s dependency on oil from overseas, which is transported by tankers vulnerable to spilling. He also argued that construction will mean oil from Canada’s tar sands will be refined in cleaner American facilities rather than in Chinese ones.
“If your concern is the environment, the last thing you want to do is send that oil to be refined there,” he said.
The Tea Party favorite’s unlikely pitch was part of a speech on energy policy. Cruz led off by promoting a piece of legislation he intends to introduce, titled the American Energy Renaissance Act. When he wasn’t courting Greenpeace, Cruz hit conservative-friendly notes. He cited Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek and compared a fracking pioneer to Hank Rearden, one of the heroes of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged.
Cruz also touched on a number of aims of his legislation, which will look to increase energy development on Indian lands, expand liquid natural gas exports, reduce regulatory barriers to exporting coal, and end the crude oil export ban, among a host of other ideas — including, naturally, approval of the Keystone pipeline.
A summary of the plan Cruz’s office provided to NRO says it would also open the Alaskan Coastal Plain (in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR) to development.