The Environmental Benefits of Keystone XL

by Greg Pollowitz

David Blackmon details in Forbes the many economic and environmental benefits for approving Keystone XL, including keeping the bitumen, processed form Canada’s tar sands, from being refined by the Chinese and their less stringent emission and pollution standards. An excerpt:

Here’s the truth:  Canada’s bitumen has been produced and transported to market for years already, some of it via pipelines that already exist, much of it via rail.  Canada’s government has made it quite clear that this bitumen will continue to be produced and transported to refineries and markets in increasing quantities regardless of what happens with the Keystone XL pipeline.  If it doesn’t go into the US via Keystone, much of it will in all likelihood be transported via an east/west pipeline to the West Coast and shipped to China.

Thus, the clear environmental consequences of refusing to allow the northern leg of Keystone to be built will be that much of this bitumen will be refined in Chinese refineries and burned in Chinese cars and factories, all of which have far lower environmental protection standards than U.S. refineries, cars and factories.  In other words, carbon emissions globally would go up, thanks to the anti-Keystone lobby.

On top of that, you have the unarguable fact that the safest, cleanest, lowest-emission way to transport oil is via underground pipelines, not trains.  Much of Canada’s bitumen currently comes into the U.S. via rail, and that will continue if Keystone is not allowed to go forward.  The environmental consequences would be a higher rate of oil spillage, higher greenhouse gas emissions, and more people injured or killed as a result of accidents.  Thank you, anti-Keystone lobby.

You can read the entire piece here.

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