The pipeline lie

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The Obama administration’s opposition to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the recent defeat of the bill in the Senate have given ammunition to the Republican opposition to make the most of gas price increases and attack the administration, accusing it of being an environmental extremist that is against U.S. energy independence.

In reality, that’s not how it is. If the pipeline gets built, the approximately 700,000 barrels of oil per day flowing through the 2,000-mile-long pipeline from Alberta, Canada to Texas would be exclusively for exports. As planned, this project won’t increase the production to be sold to U.S. consumers by even one gallon of gas.

Moreover, the project poses a high potential risk for the environment given the possibility of ruptures and leaks throughout the pipeline. This is a real concern that is hampering TransCanada’s plans to obtain an exit to the sea in order to export the fuel. Even Canadians themselves in the east and west coasts are against having the pipeline routed through their areas for fear of its environmental impact.

That said, the project’s only positive argument for the U.S. is the creation of temporary jobs for its construction and nothing more. The benefit is temporary, while the environmental risk is permanent.

This project is a corporate bonanza. It will allow for seizures of private land in six states for a foreign oil company’s project, the fuel will be for other countries, and oil and pipeline investors will obtain profits subsidized by tax benefits. All Americans will be left with is a high risk of pollution.

Thinking this project will somehow help our country’s energy independence is a mistake. And implying or saying the pipeline’s construction will reduce gas prices for drivers is a lie.