SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

February 26, 2013

Column: Keystone considerations

(Continued)

Also, the area the pipeline will be impinging on already contains 250,000 existing jobs on multigenerational family farms and ranches. Needless to say, any kind of technical breakdown of the pipeline project in this region would be more than seriously devastating. Why all this risk for fossil fuel, every drop of which is going to end up being exported out of the country anyway?

The breakdown of exactly how the Canadian oil is to be handled is: A small portion will be refined to diesel and exported to South America. The remaining, unrefined crude will be tankered to China. Because of the tax structure for both petrol products for export, there will be zero tax revenue for the United States.

One of the climatic impacts of the summer of 2012 was that the United States harvested 50 percent less corn and lost 60 percent of its previous pastureland. The main traversal of most of the keystone pipeline is right across America’s heartland, the major source of America’s wheat, soy and corn. One of the major reasons for the fertility of this region is the High Plains aquifer system, a virtual underground ocean of fresh water consisting of four gigantic aquifers. The largest, called the Ogallala, spans 174,000 square miles beneath eight states. Petrol product pollution of this water table on a grand level would spell Armageddon for U.S. agriculture. The potential for damage to the pipeline is not that far-fetched; a good percentage of this region is a meteorological area known to locals as Tornado Alley, where weather conditions have become more and more violently severe and unpredictable.

On Feb. 2, in the Wall Street Journal, Chevron and Exxon announced quarterly profits in the multiple billions of dollars from their refineries. On Feb. 19, the front page of The Boston Globe declared there was an overabundance of crude oil and natural gas at this time, in the United States. There has been a 46 percent jump in the availability of petroleum products here. Refineries that were about to close are now humming right along and generating huge profits. The Bakken energy fields in North Dakota and the shale oil fracking around the northern parts of the country and Texas are the reason we’re awash in multiple energy products.

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