If you think building the pipeline is beneficial to Americans, think again
Last week, in a face to face meeting, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper once again pressured US President Barack Obama to approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. At the same time, a Nebraska court delivered a setback to the pipeline project by voiding the pipeline’s path through the state. On and on it goes.
Speaking as an honest Canadian, there are many reasons Americans should reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. Some are rather obvious, but others are not as well known. These are just a few I could think of:
5 – The Keystone XL Pipeline will not lower gas prices. In fact, in some states like Montana, the pipeline might even raise them. Since Barack Obama came into office, the US has been awash in oil and natural gas. Oil production is higher than it’s been in twenty years and thanks to fracking, natural gas production is higher than it’s ever been.
All that production has kept gas prices pretty steady the last few years, but if you think Keystone is going to lower them further, think again. The final destination of the bitumen oil from the tar sands of Alberta is not the Gulf Coast or the United States. It’s to be refined, but then sold overseas. That leads me to my next point.
4 – The purpose of the pipeline is to transport the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel to refineries in the Gulf Coast. The reason being, Canada does not have the capacity to refine the oil themselves, nor do they necessarily want it.
If you could have your neighbor do your dirty work and still make a good profit, would you not take advantage of it? Tar sand oil must be extensively refined to be turned into fuel and uses vast amounts of energy and water. The refining process is also extremely toxic and leaves behind waste called petroleum coke. As we saw last year, the people of Detroit can tell you firsthand how nasty petroleum coke is.
Petcoke as it’s called, is the worst of all carbon-based fuels. It has 10% more carbon than coal and is 25 per cent cheaper. Its use as a fuel in Canada and the United States is illegal. However, that want stop oil companies from shipping it where they can make a profit and its legality is not in question such as China.
3 – When you build a pipeline, the risk of a spill is always present. When the pipeline is nearly 1,200 miles long, three feet in diameter and is to be used to ship grainy toxic sludge through it, you can bet the risk of a spill grows exponentially.
No pipeline is 100% safe and when accidents do happen, it can be devastating to a community. I find it ironic that global warming will further place oil pipelines at risk. Pipelines and refineries are prone to natural disasters, especially hurricanes. There was 9 separate oil spills thanks to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ivan ruptured two oil pipelines the year before.
2 – Building Keystone XL will encourage further tar sands development. If you’re an environmentally conscious American, the last thing you’d want to see is further expansion. Expansion is only inevitable if humans enable it. An American rejection of the pipeline would be a good start.
An outright rejection of the pipeline would also deal a decisive blow to the Koch Brothers who stand to more than double their $72 billion fortune if the pipeline is built. It would also deal a blow to the Canadian Conservative Party and Prime Minister Stephen Harper who has been dumping all his economic eggs into one giant fossil fuel basket.
1 – Of all the Reasons Americans should reject the Keystone XL Pipeline, the most important has to be that it’s simply the wrong direction for Americans and humanity to take. If it weren’t for the greed of politicians, lobbyists, fossil fuel corporations, and even consumers, we might have weaned ourselves off of fossil fuels decades ago.
As our population has grown and our resources have become scarcer, mankind is starting to get desperate. We are now utilizing very extreme methods to get our fuel, from mining bitumen to fracking for natural gas. Sooner rather than later would be a good time to change.
Above all else, Keystone XL is a symbol for the direction Americans want to take. If we can’t say no to Keystone, what will we be able to say no to?