Before the United States State Department released their latest report on KeyStone Pipeline XL impact, I was on the side of not approving this project. Like environmentalist I feared the increase of greenhouse gases from the process of extracting oil from tar sands. I also worried about accidents concerning leaks with the pipeline running through the heartland of America.
I believe these are valid concerns, but that doesn’t mean that I am not open to information that can quiet my concerns. The State Dept report has addressed my concerns…
The State Dept report tells us that even if the Keystone Pipeline XL is blocked, the oil industry would find alternative ways for getting the tar sands to refineries; rail, trucks etc… Recently an oil train derailed and caused a fiery explosion, there is no 100% safe way of transporting oil. The report also noted that traveling by rail or trucks would actually increase carbon emissions
“While short-term physical transportation constraints introduce uncertainty to industry outlooks over the next decade, new data and analysis… indicate that rail will likely be able to accommodate new production if new pipelines are delayed or not constructed,”
The report adds that, if the pipeline gets blocked and producers are forced to ship by rail or truck instead, overall transportation emissions for the oil in question could even increase by 28 to 42 percent. That’s because there would be more trains and trucks burning diesel fuel and more rail terminals using electricity.
The report also concludes that shipping oil by rail instead of via pipeline would likely result in additional accidents. Some of the rail routes studied by the State Department could result in three to eight times the volume of oil spilled, according to the models. – Washington Post
So if the oil industry is going to find a way to move tar sands, what’s the argument against Keystone?
Also, the creation of jobs is another big factor. While I do not support destroying the environment in favor of jobs, if stopping the Keystone Pipeline does not significantly reduce greenhouse gases then why throw away the jobs that come with the construction of the pipeline?
The report notes that building the pipeline would support approximately 42,100 direct and indirect jobs and contribute roughly $3.4 billion to the economy (that’s about 0.02 percent of GDP).
About 3,900 of those jobs would be temporary construction jobs. After two years, once built, the pipeline would support 50 jobs. – Washington Post
That’s a lot of jobs to ignore!
I don’t think environmentalist should take support for the pipeline as a slap in the face. Keep in mind that the president fought hard to put in place unprecedented high fuel efficiency standards for cars. The possibility of introducing more oil from an ally will not necessarily increase our usage.
If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!
Sources: Washington Post & Bloomberg