by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Americans concerned about pollution and climate change have traditionally stood with science, in particular the consensus that greenhouse-gas emissions from human activity are warming the earth and changing the climate. Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline, in contrast, seem to deliberately ignore the evidence that the pipeline wouldn’t lead to environmental disaster.
The pipeline would do little to increase greenhouse-gas emissions in North America. It would merely enable Canada to send its crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries via a north-south pipeline rather than rail or ship and allow the U.S. to get more of the 8 million barrels of oil it imports each day from a good neighbor. …
… Like every sentient being, the project’s foes are worried about the pipeline’s potential to leak oil within the U.S. TransCanada is taking pains to ensure the pipeline is designed for the heavy crude it’s meant to carry and would be safely operated. Even so, we could expect a leak or two a year of more than 2,000 gallons of oil, according to the 2011 environmental impact statement on the project issued by the U.S. Department of State. In most cases, however, such spills are expected to be contained in a small area and easily cleaned.
Blocking the Keystone pipeline wouldn’t save the world from environmental catastrophe—nor would it save the economy, as its supporters have argued. The reason to approve the pipeline is that it would keep Canadian oil flowing to U.S. refineries in the most efficient way, within the bounds of safety. This is reason enough.