Year 2, Month 9, Day 21: I Love You. The Check Is In The Mail. I Promise Not To Leak Oil In Your Aquifer.

More specious pro-pipeline nonsense, this time reprinted in the September 16 issue of the Sacramento Bee:

Opponents object for two main reasons: First, they want to discourage the mining of oil sands. No question, tearing up boreal forests and ancient peat bogs to get at the petroleum within can’t help but degrade the land. The resulting semi-solid form of oil is dirtier than the smooth-flowing crude just below the Arabian desert. As with any fossil fuel, burning it pumps carbon and other pollutants into the atmosphere, and emissions from processing this particular form of fuel pose a problem as well. On the plus side, the technology used to exploit oil sands is improving from the old strip-mining techniques, curbing the environmental costs.

The other big worry is more of a scare tactic than a valid concern. Pipelines can leak. But to hear the anti-Keystone crowd tell it, you would think this one is about to be connected to kitchen sinks and lawn sprinklers from coast to coast. The fear-mongering about aquifers being polluted and wildlife habitat destroyed has no basis in reality. On the contrary, plans call for a state-of-the-art system, subject to rigorous inspections. America already has oil and gas pipelines crisscrossing the country and the Canadian border. This one, an expansion of a pipeline that already runs to downstate Illinois, will be built to a high safety standard.

Assholes. Sent September 17:

Advocates of the Keystone XL pipeline never state some of the crucial assumptions underlying their words. When we hear statements like “America is going to need that oil,” we should make a point of questioning them a little more assertively, and responding with some questions of our own.

Are millions of acres of boreal forests less important than our right to drive multi-ton vehicles to work — alone? Are poorly insulated homes more valuable than uncontaminated aquifers? Is the prospect of an irreversible climatic tipping point less scary than the thought of the world’s oil tycoons sacrificing a few profit points?

And we should remember BP’s excellent-looking plans for spill protection and remediation in the Gulf of Mexico, and ask: why should we believe TransCanada’s promise of a “state-of-the-art” pipeline, complete with a rigorous inspection schedule? Since when has the oil industry ever exemplified truthfulness, responsibility and good citizenship?

Warren Senders

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