Ken Collins: Heads in the sand
January 12, 2012
Keystone. The pipeline, not the ski area. It's a Canadian company's pipeline, oil and decision who gets it. There's no guarantee they would sell to America. The proposed $7 billion, 2,000-mile pipeline would run through the American heartland and over the Ogallala Aquifer, one of our largest, as well as the waterhole for our cropland. Imagine a huge pipe running like a spine across America. A beautiful landmark, to say the least.
Canada, with a horrible history of environmental concern in other countries, wants the U.S. to carry the disaster possibilities. What if a break occurs? What if some al Qaeda member or other nutcase decides to load a pickup with fertilizer and blow up a section of the pipeline? Can the whole thing be protected? Can we afford another Exxon Valdez in our breadbasket?
The project is to be funded by private money. From who? China? India? They don't say. TransCanada claims it will create 20,000 jobs, but when further pressed, we find out it is 10,000 jobs for two years. And that's their math. Our labor studies state it is more like 2,000 to 5,000 jobs, mostly labor and for only two years. And who says they'll even be American jobs?
The GOP said this will help fund the payroll tax extensions. A couple of thousand jobs for two years? This is from the same folks who helped start our financial fiasco. They said no to a 3.5 percent tax increase on guys like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Tiger Woods, George Clooney, Kobe Bryant and Phil Knight.
How many years until the first drops of oil? Eight? Ten? Where could we be with that much time and that much money in clean alternative energy? Tar sand oil involves millions of gallons of an even more precious resource — water — to be pumped, along with nasty chemicals, into the sand to retrieve a very dirty type of oil. The process is very much like fracking. These processes, along with the burning of this type of oil, will produce up to 40 percent more climate-damaging emissions than conventional crude. What about Obama's plan to weatherize a few million American homes? That would create hundreds of thousands of jobs from many industries, all American, for many, many years. It would help lower energy consumption instead of increasing our addiction. Talk about a financial help in jobs and tax creation. And there is no environmental damage, but instead a decrease in greenhouse emissions. A win-win?
Canadian oil, across our "fruited plains," environmental disaster potential, no guarantees, few jobs for a short period of time and very expensive and dirty oil. Gosh, who wouldn't want that? I think the pro-pipeliners have their heads in the sand — tar sand.