"Canada is a sovereign nation and we will develop our resources with appropriate regulations and enforcement to protect the environment," said Paula Caldwell St-Onge. The Consulate General of Canada, St-Onge was in Albuquerque to talk up, and answer questions about, the Keystone pipeline. Upon arrival at the University of New Mexico Science and Technology Park, a smattering of aggressively vocal, sign-waving Keystone opponents greeted St-Onge. Security escorted her from the parking lot to the meeting room.

I, too, was addressing the folks who'd come in support of the controversial pipeline.

Sans security, I approached the rotunda alone. When I passed by, one protester called out: "That's Marita Noon! She supports the oil-and-gas industry! She doesn't believe in climate change!" Basking in my newfound celebrity, I turned, smiled, and waved as if I was greeting adoring fans -- and entered the building.

I was the first speaker, followed by Bill Eden, international representative of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada. St-Onge rounded out the trio.

Always the optimist, I opened with: "This is an exciting time to be alive!" and addressed the fact that we were on the cusp of achieving the holy grail of energy security that had eluded decades of American presidents. I pointed out how the Keystone pipeline was an important part of that goal. I talked about my visit to the Canadian oil sands and Mexico's new energy reforms. I bragged about New Mexico's energy riches.

I looked at St-Onge and repeated my frequent prediction that Keystone would not be approved under the Obama Administration. I stated: "We know that Obama doesn't care about Republicans. We know he doesn't care about the oil-and-gas industry. We may even question whether or not he cares about America. But he does care about his base -- and, of his base, there are only two groups who care about the Keystone pipeline." I asked the audience who those two groups were. They rightly asserted: "environmentalists" and "unions."

I, then, explained what I call the Obama Doctrine -- his primary mode of operation: "Reward your friends, punish your opposition." With a shrug, I told them, "You don't need to know anything more than that to know that Keystone will not be approved."

At first the audience was puzzled -- after all, both the environmentalists and the unions are "friends" of the Administration. I asked: "What have the unions done lately?" And answered: "Publically embarrassed Obama on his signature legislation." The lights came on.

I backed up my view with a quote from the Dec. 14 New York Times regarding John Podesta's return to the White House: "his very presence could influence Mr. Obama's thinking on the proposed pipeline from Canada's oil sands -- even though Mr. Podesta has said that he will recuse himself from the final decision because the liberal think tank he founded 10 years ago, the Center for American Progress, has been unsparingly critical of the entire enterprise."

When St-Onge took the platform, she pointed to me and, in a jovial manner, said: "Marita, I hope you are wrong." I called out: "I hope I am too! And, I hate to be wrong."

All the while, the protesters were outside -- at first pressing their signs against the windows (until the blinds were closed) and then shouting through a megaphone in a failed attempt to disrupt the meeting.

Fortunately, I'd had major plumbing problems at my home that morning. I am not happy that I had to leave two plumbers in my house when I headed off to speak at the Keystone meeting, but dealing with the problems prevented me from reading the pages of research I'd printed out on John Podesta and his views on the Keystone pipeline.

Had I read everything I had on Podesta, I couldn't have started with: "This is an exciting time to be alive!" I couldn't have been my usual, positive, cheerleading self.

While I've been pessimistic about the future of the Keystone pipeline, I've spoken and written optimistically about America's overall energy position and related politics. I've touted the increased domestic oil-and-gas development. I've pointed out the general demise of the climate change argument and the failure of Europe's green-energy policies. I've talked up the good-paying jobs provided by the energy industry. I've been encouraged by the changing politics in the other countries of the Anglosphere. I've said: "With my ear to the ground, I see good things coming…" But, with Podesta's return to the White House as an advisor specializing in energy policy, I must admit my optimism was misplaced. I've been wrong. And, I hate to be wrong.

Having now read extensively on Podesta and his policies, if I was giving the speech today, I'd have to start with: "Be afraid. Be very afraid." I learned that Podesta intends to:

• elevate the issue of climate change;

• give the Environmental Protection Agency the support it needs to devise new rules controlling greenhouse gases from new and existing power plants;

• influence decisions about the leasing of federal lands, and subsequent permitting, for energy and mining development;

• unilaterally force the U.S. economy to become greener; and

• advance the environmental agenda through executive actions when Congress won't cooperate.

Yes, oil, gas, and coal producers should be worried -- and the individuals and industries that count on America's abundant, available and affordable energy should be afraid, very afraid.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE).