Already there is talk of trading concessions on energy policies for support of the Keystone XL pipeline. But throughout this process, Republicans need to distinguish between issues that are largely symbolic, like the Keystone pipeline, and those that are concrete and invasive, such as burdensome EPA regulations.
In the grand scheme of things, the Keystone XL pipeline is of little significance to anything tangible — including gas prices, jobs, and, yes, the environment. The price of gasoline is for the most part determined by global forces in the oil market, of which the Keystone XL oil will be but a drop. The pipeline’s job‐creation potential is largely ephemeral; although the construction of the pipeline will create tens of thousands of jobs, the operation of it thereafter is expected to create fewer than 100 permanent jobs. And least significant of all is its impact on climate change. If it were to operate at full capacity for the next 85 years, the consumption of oil delivered by the pipeline would lead to global warming of less than a hundredth of a degree — an amount that is scientifically undetectable and environmentally inconsequential.