You’ll recall during the payroll tax battle last week, the one big ransom demand Republicans were able to wring out of the process was forcing President Obama to rush a decision on the contentious Keystone XL pipeline which would deliver some of the dirtiest, low grade oil from Canada via a mammoth pipeline over 2000 miles of our country. Leaving aside the destruction of pristine countryside and the inevitable taking of people’s land by emminent domain that would result from the construction, the potential damage from any leaks in the pipeline would be devastating. It could ruin a major watershed that serves 2 million people and destroy a $20 billion agricultural industry in the mid-west. Part of the pipeline would cross an active earthquake zone, so this is no small concern.
Proponents claim it would create thousands of jobs. However, that claim is in much dispute with a State Dept. study showing only 5,000-6,000 jobs being created and those would only be temporary. The steel for the pipeline wouldn’t be made in America either. So there’s little economic gain and the cost overruns on the Canadian construction have already been the subject of lawsuits. So what we have is a dangerous multi-billion dollar project that delivers very low quality fuel at a very high cost. Hardly a good investment in the future.
Yet, the project polls well with the public. One assumes it’s because they don’t realize the true nature of it. But as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. This is what the extraction process looks like.
Fully three quarters of a million acres will see this sort of destruction. The land loss is Canada’s problem, but the “30-percent increase in carbon emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector” will affect us all. Seems to me we would be better served by pumping our money into clean energy development that originates in the U.S. and would actually create American jobs and lead us away from fossil fuel dependence altogether.