Next to climate change, the Keystone XL pipeline is the most contentious and well-known issue in the modern green movement’s portfolio. It’s too bad, then, that the pipeline is effectively irrelevant. The FT reports:
[S]topping the [Keystone] pipeline route will not stop the production in the oil sands nor the greenhouse gas emissions. The oil will continue to come through current routes and via rail, which poses its own environmental threats. By November last year, 180,000 barrels per day entered the US from Canada via rail tankers. The US, one way or another, will get its oil.
This irrelevance, though, is why Keystone should have been approved years ago. If, as report after report have indicated, Canada’s oil sands crude will find a way to market with or without passage through America’s heartland, then the pipeline itself is neither green nor brown. It’s a piece of secondary infrastructure, and no amount of green protesting can change the simple fact that Keystone’s construction will have a negligible effect on climate change.As Keystone’s saga stretches into its seventh year, the Obama administration is running out of excuses to kick the can down the road (just how long is this road, anyway?), and the new Republican-controlled Congress is ready and eager to force the President’s hand on the issue. By his own logic, Obama ought to have approved the pipeline long ago.