It is ironic that Gary Wattnem, a career ophthalmic instrument salesman, can’t see clearly enough to support Senator Rob Hogg and Representative Bobby Kaufmann in their opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, based on eminent domain concerns. In his recent letter to the editor, Wattnem signed as a U.S. Army officer, reminding us that old soldiers never die, but in his case, should consider taking Douglas MacArthur’s example and just fade away.
Under the Obama administration, there has been a resurgence of domestic oil production. “For the first time in nearly two decades, we produce more oil here in the United States than we buy from the rest of the world,” said President Obama on Jan. 16.
According to former oil man T. Boone Pickens on a recent episode of Iowa Press, the U.S. exports three million barrels of light sweet crude each day because of development in the Bakken and Eagle Ford formations, and West Texas. If refineries would retool to process light sweet, said Pickens, the oil could be used domestically. If foreign oil were a national security issue, that’s what we’d do.
Keystone is about getting tar sands oil to the global market, not about U.S. national security. Condemning U.S. property to serve the interests of a Calgary, Alberta based company would be plain wrong.
By throwing his uniform around the issue, Wattnem tarnished the rest of us who served.