Year 4, Month 5, Day 22: Just You, Just Me

The Houston Chronicle offers space to a petroleum-industry shill:

The environmentalist activist community has a new Public Enemy No. 1: Keystone XL. That’s the proposed 1,200-mile pipeline linking Canadian oil fields to Texas refineries. The project is up for debate at the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology this week – the latest in what is now a four-year-long national debate on the project. The facts have become nearly smothered by the small but vocal opposition, but the fact is the Keystone XL pipeline offers a safe, efficient and affordable means of transporting the resources our nation needs.

Block the Keystone XL pipeline and Americans are going to see a nation that is less energy-secure, an economic recovery further stymied and prospects for growth jeopardized. Perhaps most important for the activists who oppose it – a vastly increased chance for spills and other environmental incidents.

While the debate that surrounds the Keystone XL pipeline has been continuous for years, opponents to the transcontinental energy initiative coalesced early on in the process.

Unburdened by facts and uninterested in offering arguments to support their positions, opponents to Keystone XL have been willing to lob unsupported claim after unsubstantiated attack over and over again.

Lost in all of this rhetorical wind? The most salient fact: If Keystone XL is blocked, America’s demand for oil will remain undiminished, and so, too, will the appetite to develop the Canadian oil resources that opponents of the pipeline deride.

I just dashed this off in a state of dudgeon, and it shows. Busy busy busy today. May 11:

Michael Economides’ writing in support of the Keystone XL pipeline is a textbook example of rhetorical contortion in the service of an addiction. The “dilbit” (diluted bitumen oil) from the Alberta tar sands needs both higher pressure and temperature to flow through pipelines — factors linked to increased corrosion and rupture. That the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration doesn’t connect pipeline failures to tar sands oil only underlines that causality is complex. In fact, pipelines in the Midwest that move this sort of heavy crude have spilled almost four times more per pipeline mile than the U.S. average. The recent disasters in Arkansas and Kalamazoo both involved dilbit. It’s terrible stuff, and the only way to keep it safe is to leave it in the ground.

The underlying assumption in Mr. Economides’ piece is that our national oil habit cannot, must not, will not change — and therefore our energy economy has no choice but to feed our craving for a fossil-fuel fix. Spoken like a pusher. There are plenty of alternatives, but none that offer Mr. Economides the perquisites he so obviously relishes as a mouthpiece of the fossil fuel industry.

Warren Senders

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