SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 17, 2014

Doyle: Keystone pipeline makes no sense

Joseph F. Doyle
The Salem News

---- — The long-awaited environmental analysis on the Keystone XL pipeline was released Friday, Jan. 31, of this year by the State Department. It came to a favorable conclusion, which, in the final breakdown, was that the tar sands oil was going to be extracted anyway, one way or the other, so why don’t we just get it over with? Well, as my mom used to say, just because everybody else is jumping off the George Washington Bridge doesn’t mean you have to, too.

This is a multi-million-dollar, U.S. taxpayer-funded analysis that was debunked by NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who then called for an investigation, because the contractors who submitted the analysis are former employees of Trans-Canada, one of the four principals that will be making multiple billions of dollars if this is allowed to go forward, across the United States breadbasket.

This analysis is extremely thin on relevant facts. The most glaring omission of fact is how this became a U.S. issue in the first place.

And the reason is: Trans-Canada, Valero Energy Corp., Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Exxon-Mobil subsidiary Imperial Oil Ltd. have found that, in Washington, D.C., money doesn’t talk — it screams!

If that 1,700-mile pipeline across America’s breadbasket loses as few as 50 barrels and that becomes absorbed into the massive Ogallala fresh-water aquifer, it could trigger famine across the nation, of biblical proportions, for years.

The fact that the trans-national oil industry is aiming the pipeline in this direction, to the Gulf of Mexico, begs the question: Why isn’t it going west, across Canada, to the Pacific? Let’s take a look at that. It’s 1,700 miles to the Gulf, but only 500 miles across Canada to the nearest Pacific Ocean port, to ship to China, which has a massive refinery in the final stages of construction to handle the filthy tar sands.

Well, it isn’t going there because, No. 1, the massive protests in Canada worked. No. 2, the number of permanent jobs to be furnished to Canada is vastly outweighed by the risk to the environment. No. 3, Trans-Canada has an abysmal record as a corporate steward. Everywhere they go, they are massive polluters.

In the United States, ranchers and farmers are being forced, through eminent domain, to lose their farms and their ranches. Eminent domain is supposed to be employed exclusively for the greater good, not for the financial benefit of four trans-national oil giants. This situation has brought litigation to farmers and ranchers every step of the way. Where is the American government to protect the hardworking Americans who feed America and the world?

It also should be noted that this is going to give the United States zero energy relief. All of the tar sands’ refined product is earmarked for export. Even the two refineries that are going to render 10 percent of it into diesel fuel are sending that to South America. So, the United States gets absolutely, positively zero tax revenue, yet assumes all of the environmental risk, along with the heartache of hardworking farmers and ranchers.

So, we’re doing this why?

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Joseph F. Doyle is a freelance writer who lives in Salem.