USA Today has published an excellent house editorial explaining why it is important for the Obama administration to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would deliver oil from Canada’s oil sands to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
USA Today points out that the United States imports approximately half of its oil, “which puts the nation at the mercy of the mercurial world oil market. Imports from Mexico and Venezuela, two of the USA’s biggest suppliers, are declining, and that’s projected to make the nation even more reliant on producers in the unstable Middle Eastand Africa. The Keystone pipeline would provide about a half-million more barrels a day from one of this nation’s closest and most reliable allies.”
“Criticism of the 1,700-mile pipeline is overblown,” USA Today explains. “For example, opponents assert that its route across the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska is risky because a spill could do catastrophic damage to that water supply. But critics ignore the fact that 2,000 miles of oil pipeline already cross the aquifer there. A Nebraska hydrogeologist who has studied the subsurface water formation for 40 yearssays even if there were a spill, the impact would be modest and containable. For a 35-mile stretch where the water table is close to the surface, the pipeline builder has offered to surround the line with concrete.”
Regarding global warming concerns, USA Today observes, “the protesters act as though a rejection of Keystone would lock the tar sands in the ground and limit greenhouse gas emissions. Hardly. Canada has signaled it would re-route the pipeline to the West Coast and sell oil to China, which has already invested heavily in the tar sands.”
In summary, USA Today explains, “For all the need to wean the United States from its dependence on imported fossil fuels, it’s important to be realistic about meeting the nation’s energy needs in the meantime. Saying no to the Keystone pipeline is an empty gesture that would undermine U.S. energy security.”
The full USA Today editorial is available at http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/story/2011-10-26/Keystone-oil-pipeline-build/50941230/1