Opinion Columns & Blogs

Obama’s good decision on Keystone pipeline

The Keystone XL pipeline project promised to bring thousands of construction jobs to America, but the long-term cost of those temporary jobs would have been steep. Not only would a mammoth pipeline from the tar sands of Canada to the refineries of the Gulf Coast have carried 830,000 barrels of toxic crude oil a day through the U.S. heartland, but it would have encouraged a particularly dirty form of oil extraction that could exacerbate climate change.

President Barack Obama’s decision last week to deny a permit for the pipeline, after a yearslong slog of multiple studies and heated political battles, was the right one.

Supporters of the pipeline have argued that the oil would be produced even if the pipeline weren’t built — instead, it would just be shipped by a more expensive method, probably train.

But while tanker-car derailments typically cause more property damage, pipeline spills generally cause more damage to the environment.

And now there is good reason to doubt whether the oil will be extracted, with or without the pipeline. At times over the last year, oil prices have dipped to the point at which the oil production wouldn’t be worthwhile to the company even with the pipeline.

There would have been a considerable number of jobs involved in building the pipeline, but a State Department study found that the project would have created only 35 permanent positions.

An ever-more-desperate push to produce fossil fuels to burn will not get the world where it needs to be on its biggest environmental threat.

This excerpt was taken from the Los Angeles Times.