The problem is that the Keystone oil will come from tar sands, which is far more dangerous that other forms of oil we mine. No one quite wants to admit it, but we’re running out of the easy to get stuff on earth. The question with pipelines is never if they will leak, but when, and this one goes right through the largest fresh water aquifer in the world. And I’ve seen several analyses of the pipeline and it seems pretty certain that once the oil was refined in Texas it would be exported–it wouldn’t directly help the US. That’s not how it works. Oil is a world-wide commodity in a world market. And the amount of oil it would produce wouldn’t be more than a drop in the bucket on the world market and wouldn’t affect the price much if at all (and then not for years from now till it was completed and flowing). What it would do is further enrich the CEOs of the oil companies. For the same money we would spend on the pipeline, we could create far more jobs and have energy being produced far faster if instead we built wind farms. It’s actually fairly likely that if we don’t build the pipeline and take this oil, it will remain in the ground and leave the pristine environment on the surface untouched. For me there just isn’t that much oil there to justify bothering, given all of the real and potential costs, and the better use we could put the money to. See this excellent piece by NRDC’s (Natural Resources Defense Council–yes, they have a point of view and are biased; they care about the earth) Anthony Swift. He shows clearly that Canada can’t at present even fill the existing pipelines to the US. It will be decades before they do so. The problem with the existing pipelines is that they all go to the Midwest, and the only buyer of that oil is the US. The whole point of the Keystone pipeline is to get oil to Texas where it can be exported out of the US. Canada’s own Department of Energy report concludes that Canada will continue to export the same amount of oil to the US as it is right now until at least 2030 whether or not Keystone is built. I’m hoping by then we will have moved to clean energy. If we haven’t it’ll probably be too late anyway. I’ve seen nothing convincing that Keystone will do anything in the short or even intermediate term for our oil supply or jobs. It will provide bigger bonuses for oil company CEOs. We’ll have to respectfully disagree on the pipeline, Jim.


About JP

We're two guys who met in college, in 1980. We've stayed in touch, and like to talk politics, current events, music and religion. JP is nore liberal than Sid, but not in every way. We figure that dialogue stimulates ideas, moderates perspective, and is in general friendly. These are things we need badly in these dangerous times. The blog name is taken from a song by Bruce Cockburn.
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