Nathan Leamer of the R Street Institute examines for the Daily Caller the practical implications of the president’s decision to veto Keystone XL pipeline legislation.

Many environmental groups and high-profile celebrities praised the president’s veto, claiming the pipeline would “pose an incredible risk to the health and safety of our families and a livable planet.”

While environmental concerns about the Keystone Pipeline’s construction may be genuine, they ignore the reality that oil production and transport will continue with or without this particular project. With the pipeline construction stalled, vast amounts of crude oil have been transported via trains. This is a significantly more dangerous and environmentally harmful method of transportation than a pipeline.

The real danger of crude-oil transport was experienced last week in West Virginia, as a CSX-owned freight train derailed and burst into flames. A state of emergency was declared, with local communities evacuated and an area water treatment facility shut down for fear of contamination.

This type of emergency has become all too common, as advances in drilling technology in North Dakota and Canada dramatically increase oil production. Completion of the Keystone Pipeline would streamline the process of shipping oil to refineries, reducing the amount of crude of oil transported via rail. …

… For those concerned about climate change, shutting down pipelines ultimately does nothing to advance the goal of controlling carbon emissions. The State Department itself concluded in its environmental review that approving the pipeline would have no significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions or future development of tar-sands resources.