Washington Post: A Case for the Keystone Pipeline

Wednesday, 02 May 2012 11:08 AM

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The case for building the Keystone XL pipeline just keeps getting stronger, The Washington Post noted in an editorial.

“A key environmentalist argument against Keystone XL has been that the project would encourage the extraction of bitumen, a particularly dirty oil-like substance, from the ‘oil sands’ in Alberta,” the Post wrote. “If activists could ‘shut in’ Canadian bitumen, limiting the ability of oil companies to sell the product, they argued, perhaps petroleum firms wouldn’t be able to fully develop the oil sands.

“That hope always was unrealistic, and a recent announcement from Kinder Morgan, another pipeline company, illustrates why.”

The Post noted that the company wants to triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline, a move that would allow the existing pipeline that runs from Alberta to Vancouver to carry more oil than Keystone. A government report also found that there is enough pipeline capacity to handle increasing production for the next 10 years.

These moves, taken together, show that even “if environmentalists manage to stop one pipeline or another, given high world oil prices, the enthusiastic support of the Canadian government, the many transport options, and the years available to develop infrastructure, it’s beyond quixotic to believe that enough of the affordable paths out will be blocked. Environmentalists might succeed, however, in relocating some construction jobs outside the United States.”

The Post wrote that such developments show that President Barack Obama’s refusal to give the go ahead to Keystone has “little rational basis,” but added that GOP efforts to sidestep the process by tacking Keystone onto various pieces of legislation “hardly represents an ideal of policymaking, either.”

“Attracting foreign investment in projects that will create U.S. jobs requires predictable regulatory procedures,” the Post concluded. “The way to encourage the efficient extraction and delivery of the oil that the United States will require for decades is to make clear that government won’t use the issue as a political football. Both sides have given investors reason to worry during the Keystone XL fight.”


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