tar sands pipeline

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.

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5 Responses to tar sands pipeline

  1. villagebear says:

  2. JAS says:

    Love your opening statement about environmentalists’ fury. Did you coin that one yourself? If we’re going to construct more pipelines, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could piggy back a pipeline to send water to parched Texas each time the midwest floods?

  3. Suszek says:

    I can’t say that I can take credit for the phrase, as it is a bit cliche. However, I’m not sure that I have heard it used in reference to environmentalists before. The world does seem to be heading toward an era when water pipelines will be needed. Perhaps that will eventually be the boost Michigan’s economy needs.

  4. Re: Water being piped out from Michigan… I think Nestle and the “Water Bottle Business” would have something to say about Michigan piping its water down to Texas, not to mention the environmentalists, residents, etc.

    It’s interesting to read that if it didn’t go to Texas, it’d go to China. With that element to the picture, it becomes a little easier to see why the State Dept. and the Obama Administration would rather “they” have the oil from Canada, especially with all the rhetoric coming from Republican candidates about “beating China.” [What happened to co-existing?]

    It’s not just Americans that are upset with the Keystone pipeline — Canadians are upset, too. I don’t know if they have enough support and I don’t know what kind of media attention it’s garnering in Canada (I’m in DC), but there are some heavy-hitters speaking out against it (Naomi Klein). Bill McKibben keeps touting the fact that the #NOKXL movement has garnered the “biggest civil disobedience act this century.”

    I don’t Secretary Clinton, much less, President Obama, for having to make a decision on an issue like this. It reminds me a bit of an episode from The West Wing (Season 2), where Sam is so pumped about Bartlet’s environmental speech, and Toby adds a “drop-in,” [The episode is conveniently named, The Drop-In.]

    With Gratitude,


  5. Pingback: The False Arguments of the 2012 Election | more than twenty cents

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