True, and for a couple of reasons, as Ambassador Gary Doer explained to the Morning Joe panel earlier today. Six years after Canada wanted to find a more efficient way to deliver its crude to Gulf Coast refineries, providing jobs and flexibility to the economy in the South as well as more resources for Americans, opponents of the Keystone pipeline still believe that blocking the project means Canadians won’t pull the crude out of the ground. Our neighbors to the north have plenty of plans for the oil, pipeline or not, and they’d still like to include the US in their strategy. That means the oil will get to our refineries either by pipeline or by rail, the latter of which is both riskier and more polluting:

“The science is very clear,” Joe Scarborough exclaims after noting eleven studies on the project have all shown that the pipeline would be safer and more environmentally friendly than rail delivery. “That’s science. I’m confused as to why the President’s not following science.” Michael Steele explains that Obama wants to rely on politics rather than science, and asks Doer to answer Obama’s charges that this only benefits Canada oil sales. Actually, Doer explains, 15% of the oil to be transported would come from the Bakken fields in the Dakotas, making transportation to American refineries more efficient — both financially and environmentally.

Ambassador Doer is probably a little too diplomatic to mention this, but Canada has other options for the crude than the US. China would like to buy the production from the Alberta tar sands too, and their refineries will be much less efficient and more polluting than anything we would use, plus the long transport over the ocean could create even more environmental issues. Bottom line: Canada’s going to sell this somewhere, and the Keystone pipeline offers the best environmental option for its transport and use.

Sam Stein quizzed Doer on how many of the 44,000 direct jobs created by the pipeline would remain after two years, and Doer notes that it would create 35 permanent jobs for direct operations. However, the supply chain in the US alone involves 1,200 businesses, which would create a large number of secondary jobs. Doer doesn’t mention this in the conversation, but the Obama administration had no hesitation on using construction job projections in its stimulus package for “shovel-ready” projects, and those lasted a lot less time than two years.

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) walked onto the set at the end of this clip, and declared in the next segment that Keystone was a “no brainer”:

No kidding.