Margot Kidder

Post image for Eight Reasons to Love the Keystone XL Pipeline

The State Department is expected as soon as today to release its final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on the proposed 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline to bring up to 850,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Canadian heavy crude from Alberta’s oil sands down to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

According to anonymous sources at State, the FEIS will confirm the agency’s earlier finding that construction and operation of the pipeline will have “limited adverse environmental impacts,” reports Juliet Eilperin in the Washington Post. This will remove a key obstacle to State issuing an assessment that the pipeline is in the U.S. national interest. Then, presumably, this $7 billion, shovel-ready project could start creating thousands of high-wage jobs.

In July, the House passed H.R. 1938, the North American-Made Energy Security Act, by 279-147. The bi-partisan bill would require President Obama to issue a final order granting or denying a permit to construct Keystone XL by no later than November 1, 2011. The Center-Right is putting pressure on Team Obama, in the run-up to an election year, to expand U.S. access to oil from our friendly, democratic, politically stable neighbor to the north.

At the same time, Eilperin notes, Keystone XL “has strained President Obama’s relationship with his environmental base and become a proxy for the broader climate debate. Protesters from across the country have gathered daily in front of the White House since Saturday, resulting in 275 arrests so far.”

First to be arrested was Canadian actress Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in several Superman films. Her top reason for opposing the pipeline: “It’s bound to leak, there’s no way it’s not going to…. They always assure us these things are safe, and they never are.” By that logic, no pipeline should ever be built, and all should be dismantled. And then we could all live in Medieval squalor. Planet Saved!

I’ve been a Keystone booster for some time, but the fracus at the White House has taught me new reasons to love the pipeline.

[click to continue…]