Now that overwhelming, bipartisan majorities of the House and Senate have passed legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, it's time for President Barack Obama to make good on his threat to veto the bill, according to the New York Times.
The veto, the Times wrote in an editorial, is "the easy call."
The "tougher" call is "whether to eventually say yes or no to the pipeline, which would carry about 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta's tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast."
Although the project will admittedly create some jobs and the oil would come from Canada – a nation friendly to the United States – Obama has no choice but to cast a veto, according to the paper.
Both Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry "have declared, without reservation, that climate change is a grave and increasingly tangible threat to world stability," the Times said. "The Canadian tar sands can only add to that threat."
The Times candidly puts forward the argument that the pipeline must be killed because it would carry so much oil – "170 billion barrels recoverable with today's technology and maybe 10 times that amount in potential resources."
According to the Times, "mainstream climate scientists" are "virtually unanimous in saying that as much as two-thirds of the world's deposits of fossil fuels must remain in the ground if climate disaster is to be avoided."
The paper concludes that "not building a pipeline means that more oil – and more carbon dioxide – will be left in the ground. That is the main reason to say no."
Left out of the Times' editorial, however is a substantial body of analysis suggesting that project would not damage the environment.
For example, Obama and Kerry's State Department issued a report
in March 2013 which found that "there would be no significant environmental impact to most resources along the proposed route from western Canada to refineries in Texas," according to the Associated Press. "The report also said other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries are worse for climate change."
Less than a month after Obama was inaugurated to a second term, Popular Mechanics
published an article entitled, "The Environmental Dangers of Not Building Keystone XL."
It emphasized that if the pipeline were not built, the oil would not be left in the ground. Instead, it would be exported to Asia through waterways in Alaska and the North Pacific, which include important habitats for sea lions, gray whales and tens of millions of seabirds.
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