Washington Post: Greens Have Drawn Wrong Line In The Wrong Sand

  • Date: 06/02/14
  • Editorial, The Washington Post

Environmentalists have drawn a line in the sand on the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s the wrong line in the wrong sand, far away from any realistic assessment of the merits — as yet another government analysis has confirmed. It’s past time for President Obama to set aside politics and resolve this bizarre distraction of an issue.

The State Department’s latest study — the product of more than five years of investigation — largely confirms the conclusions of previous assessments and those of many independent energy experts: Allowing the firm Trans­Canada to build Keystone XL, which would run across the Canadian border to Steele City, Neb., is unlikely to have significant effects on climate-change-causing greenhouse gas emissions. That’s because its construction, or its rejection, would not significantly affect the extraction of tar sands bitumen, an oil-like substance, in Alberta. Even if the president rejects Keystone XL and no other pipelines out of Alberta are built, the crude could still travel by rail and barge — with marginally higher greenhouse emissions and a higher likelihood of accident. One hundred eighty thousand barrels of Canadian crude already moves on train cars every day.

The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward,” Mr. Obama said last year. The State Department gave the president an answer on that score. Now he should assent to the pipeline’s construction and move the country onto more important climate-related issues.

Full editorial