Hell hath no fury like that of environmentalists. For that reason, the Obama Administration is wavering over whether to allow the building of a new pipeline from Canada to Texas to transport oil extracted from the “tar sands.”
The environmentalists (accurately) claim that this oil is dirty, even for oil. It takes a lot of energy just to get the oil ready for use because it is mixed with sand when extracted. Expending that energy leads to carbon emissions even before the oil is used.
However, the environmentalists’ objections to the proposed pipeline miss the mark. While the oil takes more energy to prepare for use than conventionally obtained oil, the end product is basically the same. So, putting it into our cars would not make our air any more polluted than Saudi Arabian oil would.
Second, somebody is going to be using that oil. The Canadians considered two options for new pipelines. The alternative to the line to Texas was a pipeline west, to the Pacific. The Chinese lobbied hard for that one, so they could park tankers on the Canadian coast and ship the black stuff to China. So, if the US refuses to allow the pipeline to Texas to be built, the same amount of carbon will be emitted over time. If the pipeline goes west, the difference will be that the US will be burning a lot of Saudi oil and the Chinese will be burning a lot of Canadian oil.
Because the proposed pipeline crosses an international border, the State Department has the final say. Hillary Clinton should ignore the environmental lobby. The tar sands are going to be mined and the resulting oil is going to be burned regardless of whether a pipeline is built to Texas. The tar sands contain a significant amount of oil, which could help reduce America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil, which is of critical significance. As we replace oil from the Middle East with oil from Canada, the impact of events in the Middle East on oil prices will be reduced.
Moreover, oil from Canada will be marginally cheaper for Americans overall, due to lower transportation costs.
Finally, somebody has to actually build the pipeline and then work in the refineries that will convert the oil to gasoline. Last time I checked, there are a few people around here looking for jobs.
Clinton should allow the pipeline to be built.