What is this incessant nonsense over Keystone XL?
It’s a pipeline, for crying out loud. The United States already has 185,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines, 320,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines, and more than 2,000,000 miles of gas distribution pipelines. Using the latest steel, valves, and other technologies to build another 1,179 miles of pipe – to move 830,000 barrels of oil per day safely from Alberta, Canada oil sands country and North Dakota’s Bakken shale territory to Texas refineries – should not be an earth-shattering matter.
KXL would create jobs – in an economy that grew at a pathetic Depression-era clip of 0.1% during the first quarter, and where the true jobless rate (unemployed, underemployed, and those no longer looking) is almost 13 percent, and much worse for minorities.
In fact, Keystone would create some 20,000 construction jobs; another 10,000 in factories that make the steel, pipelines, valves, cement, and heavy equipment needed to build the pipeline; thousands more in hotel, restaurant, and other support industries; and still more in oil fields whose output would be transported to refineries and petrochemical plants where even more workers would be employed.
States along the pipeline route would receive $5 billion in new property tax revenues, and still more in workers’ income tax payments. Depleted federal coffers would also realize hefty gains.
The pipeline would ease railroad congestion all over the central USA. The pipeline’s absence is forcing oil producers to move crude by railroad tanker car. That certainly improves the bottom line for RR companies and folks like Warren Buffet who have big-time investments in tankers.
But it causes train logjams and delays that are creating backlogs in getting fertilizer and other supplies to farmers, who have already been hard-hit by a long winter and now may not be able to plant on schedule. Come fall, their efforts to ship corn, wheat, and other crops to market will also be stymied.
By reducing the need for RR tankers, KXL would also reduce oil spills and improve safety. A 2013 derailment in Quebec killed 47 people; 2014 rail accidents in Colorado and Virginia resulted in significant oil spills but fortunately no deaths. The Bakken Field’s light crude contains more dissolved gases and thus is more flammable than heavier crudes (like Canadian oil sands output), but both tanker cars and the Keystone pipeline would carry a variety of crude products.
Improved track maintenance, train scheduling, and other safety practices would reduce rail accidents and spills. However, as US State Department studies point out, the Keystone pipeline is inherently safer than RR alternatives – and would likely result in fewer than 520 barrels of crude being spilled annually, compared to 32,000 barrels in the three rail spills just noted.
KXL will make North America more energy independent, further improve US balance of trade, reduce global supply and demand imbalances, augment America’s national security, and aid our European allies in their quest to counter Vladimir Putin’s energy blackmail.
The hydrocarbon wealth the pipeline would transport will help ensure improved human health, welfare, living standards, and many other benefits, in a more stable world that has more sources of jobs, wealth, and income equality. Approval would improve relations with our ally and trading partner Canada. Not tapping and safely transporting all these oil, natural gas, and propane resources makes no sense.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom