Why is Congress, the President, or anyone else, still talking about the Keystone XL pipeline?
This project is so small in the grand scheme of anything it boggles the mind anyone outside of those directly involved in building and operating it gives it a second thought.
That a discussion of the pipeline is still consuming government resources some six years after it was originally proposed epitomizes the grand waste of time and money that characterizes the current Administration when it comes to anything it thinks causes dreaded global warming.
In this case, the fault lies squarely with President Obama.
He could have killed the pipeline years ago if he wanted. Or better yet, he could have approved the pipeline years ago and we would now be reaping the benefits of it in whatever form those benefits may have taken (choose your favorites from among the lists that likely includes jobs, tax revenues, lower gas prices, energy security, ally cooperation, etc.).
But he did neither.
His highest priority seems to be leaving a lasting legacy of “doing something” about climate change. Again, his own EPA should tell him that even if we cut our emissions to zero, today, the amount of warming that would be “prevented” by 2100 is a mere 0.14°C.
And the Keystone XL pipeline is one of his biggest tools to keep planetary warming alive, at least in the media. As long as it is in limbo, people keep talking about it, protestors keep protesting about it, supporters keep lobbying for it, newspapers keep writing about it, and the rest of us are caught up in the spectacle.
The State Department has already found that the environmental impacts and risks from the project are acceptably low. I have already pointed out (to Congress even) the climate impacts of the project are nil. And all the while the Keystone XL pipeline has been delayed, the Alberta tar sands oil production has increased and is in the process of finding other ways onto the global market. Even the Nebraska court case that is often cited by the President as a reason for delaying a decision on the pipeline is more of a procedural issue than a real threat to the pipeline.
At this point, the Keystone XL is just another construction project. In fact, that is all it ever was. If it didn’t require crossing the border with Canada (which required a “presidential permit”), we never would have heard a peep about it.
The USAToday appropriately and succinctly summed up the situation in a recent editorial:
Agree completely. It high is time for the federal government to put this issue to rest and get down to issues actually deserving of this much attention (but don’t bet on it!).