Killing Keystone XL could lead to environmental calamity

 Washington Examiner:

Environmentalists may have cheered when President Biden pulled the plug on the Keystone XL pipeline, but his decision is sparking concerns of a greater calamity down the tracks as the risks associated with transporting Canadian crude oil by rail start to pile up.

"Biden is trying to be a 'green' hero, but if he truly cared about the environment, he would have left the pipeline in place," South Dakota resident Pete Nestle told the Washington Examiner. "It's a hell of a lot more dangerous to move oil by rail. It isn't rocket science. What he did was purely political."

As one of his first acts in office, Biden revoked a key permit for the cross-border venture with Canada.

If the plans had stayed in place, the Keystone XL pipeline would have carried Canadian crude oil from Alberta and Steele City, Nebraska. The pipeline would have connected two points of an existing pipeline, also called Keystone, which carries oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.


Construction of the extension began in 2020 after a decade of protests from environmental activists, Native Americans, and ranchers along its proposed route. They had raised concerns about climate change and argued underground oil spills could contaminate the land and pollute drinking water.

"The cancellation of the Keystone pipeline project was inevitable once the government changed," Barry Prentice, University of Manitoba supply chain management professor and former director of the Transport Institute, said. "Despite its merits or drawbacks, it is now a deflated political football. This means that more crude will have to move by rail. The huge investments in the oil sands will not be abandoned, and the oil has to go somewhere.”

But now, some are saying the bigger risk is transporting hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil a day by rail and point to multiple train derailments in the last decade as well as other environmental hazards linked to spills. Crude is extremely toxic and can cause damage to the land, air, and water. It is also dangerous to animals and humans.

"If there is an oil leak with transporting the oil through a pipeline, all the dirt that is surrounding the pipe will absorb the oil and contain the spill," Peter Bardeson, business manager for the Laborers, Local 620 union in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, told the Washington Examiner. "By rail cars, if there is a derailment, the oil runs everywhere on the surface. So just picture a tanker car derailment in the middle of small-town America ... what an environmental disaster."

In the United States, there are four ways to move oil and gas: pipeline, truck, rail, and boat. In the absence of more pipelines being built, Canadian companies such as Gibson Energy, Cenovus Energy, and Imperial Oil are turning to trains to move their products to U.S. refineries, which need the Canadian export to replace declining supplies from Mexico and Venezuela.


Pipelines are the more environmentally sound way to transport oil. The anti-energy left does not want any oil transported by they pick on pipelines because of the permit process.


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