Saturday, February 01, 2014

The Keystone XL Pipeline will be approved

As I said in this comment over at Steve's place almost two years ago, I have always believed that the Obama administration would ultimately approve the Keystone XL pipeline. This report was delayed for a year, but given what it says, I expect Obama will okay the project sometime in the next few months.

While I am nominally against the Keystone project, my feelings are not all that strong. If the pipeline is not built, the oil will still go to wherever the demand is, it just will go by rail. And while not having a pipeline might avoid pipeline accidents, it will increase the chances of rail accidents. The only reason I am even nominally against it is because another pipeline just means more infrastructural commitment to fossil fuel, when we really should be building stuff to move away from that.

It is a little strange that Keystone has turned into one of the make-or-break issues for committed environmentalists in this country when other issues (like carbon emissions standards for power plants) would have a much greater impact environmentally speaking. Matthew Yglesias is probably right that the pipeline is a better issue to organize around than most of the alternatives. That seems to be driving the focus on that project more than anything else.