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Is There "One Good Reason Obama Should Approve Keystone XL?"

2 min. read

The short answer, according to Bloomberg Businessweek executive editor Brad Wieners, to the above question is "no." Actually, heck no. Here are a few key points from Wiener's article.

  • Keystone XL is certainly not justifiable for the jobs it will create: "we know the pipeline might generate about 3,900 temporary (two-year) construction jobs and about 50 permanent ones." That's right, we're talking about 50 permanent jobs in a country of 300 million people. At that rate, we'd only have to build 6 million Keystone XL pipelines to have enough jobs for everyone in the country.
  • The argument that it's better for the U.S. to import its oil from a "friendly neighbor" also fails, for two big reasons. First off, "Keystone XL isn’t really designed to serve the U.S.; it’s meant to get Alberta’s tar sands to Texas refineries and ready for export." Second, the U.S. doesn't need the heavy, sour tar sands oil, as we've got plenty of lighter, sweeter crude oil produced domestically.
  • Before one calculates whatever economic "benefit" the U.S. might ultimately get from Keystone XL, one must consider that "before the U.S. collects taxes from refiners, resellers, and exporters, it will first spend hundreds of millions on subsidies so these companies can invest in the technologies needed to make usable fuels out of bitumen."
  • Keystone XL will encourage the development of the forest-destroying, climate-warming Canadian tar sands deposits.  Unfortunately, the State Department "massively understated the consequences of the Keystone XL, which will actually "result in carbon emissions equivalent to 46 new coal burning power plants." The reason for that: the State Department "used an extraction cost that was too low, and an oil price that was too high because they assumed climate policy would fail."

In sum, there's no good reason for President Obama to approve Keystone XL. As the NextGen Climate Action summit found back in December 2013, this pipeline can't possibly pass the President’s climate test. There's also no realistic way to offset or mitigate its adverse consequences. Therefore, it must be rejected.

Topics: Clean Economy