Saturday, November 7, 2015
Rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline was a huge environmental win, right????
I've been saying it for years: NO. It was a huge disaster. All the focus on Keystone was a red herring -- turning our attention from the real environmental disaster that was occurring.
As people rallied against Keystone, they ignored the fact that pipelines capable of carrying two million barrels of crude oil were built in the Gulf of Mexico. This allows more oil drilling in the ultra-fragile Gulf.
As people rallied against Keystone, the U.S. and Canadian governments approves a whole range of shorter, smaller pipeline projects that now permit Canadian crude to flow across the border.
As people rallied against Keystone, a huge rail network was built across the U.S.-Canada border, and rail lines inside the U.S. brought out of mothballs, allowing crude oil to be moved by the much less safer rail route all over the U.S.
As people rallied against Keystone, Mexico decided -- for the first time in a century -- to allow foreign oil companies to invest in Mexican oil fields. This means even more oil drilling in the fragile Gulf of Mexico, and in corruption-ridden, violent Mexico, where the rights of indigenous people and the environment are not protected from rapacious oil companies.
Keystone XL was not built. A huge win?
No. American imports of Canadian crude oil have increased to 3.8 million barrels a day from 2.5 million barrels a day.
Oil sands production kept going. More oil was pumped and used. Less safe oil distribution methods were used. Ever-more-fragile environmental areas were exploited. People were duped into fighting Keystone, and ignoring the bigger picture of oil sands development and fossil fuel use. As environmentalists cheered as Keystone went down, they also cheered as "Obama lowered oil prices!" -- not realizing that those lower oil prices just meant more climate change, and an ongoing dependence on fossil fuel.
A big win, right?