National Geographic Daily News
Environmental activists inflate a long balloon to mock a pipeline during a demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC.

Environmental activists inflate a balloon "mock pipeline" during a demonstration in front of the White House on February 3, 2014.

Photograph by Jewel Samad, AFP/Getty

Laura Parker

for National Geographic

Published February 9, 2014

Last Monday night, when environmentalist activists staged 280 candlelight vigils in 49 states to protest the proposed Keystone XL pipeline—in Washington, D.C., demonstrators inflated a giant black tube in front of the White House—many no doubt wondered if their long campaign to halt the project had reached a turning point.

"When I saw the photos coming in from the vigils happening all over the country, I looked at my husband and said, 'We have a real movement here,'" said Jane Klebb, who runs Bold Nebraska, a local group opposing the project.

The previous Friday, the State Department had released its final environmental impact assessment of Keystone XL, which would carry heavy oil from Canada's tar sands across Nebraska and five other states to refineries in Texas. The State Department concluded that, though the tar sands have a somewhat larger carbon footprint than other sources of oil, the pipeline was unlikely to affect the rate at which the oil is extracted—one way or another, it would find its way to market. (See related "Scraping Bottom: The Canadian Oil Boom.")

That conclusion seemed to satisfy President Obama's criterion for approving the project: that it not "significantly exacerbate" the climate problem.

The State Department report stretched over 11 volumes. The group that has spearheaded opposition to the pipeline, 350.org, released a two-word rebuttal: "Game on." (See related story: "Three Factors Shape Obama Decision on Keystone XL Pipeline.")

Hence the vigils.

Over the past several years 350.org, co-founded by global warming activist and author Bill McKibben, has reenergized the environmental movement with a campaign of grassroots mobilization and civil disobedience inspired by the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Now, as the Obama Administration weighs the decision on whether to grant final approval, the moment seems ripe with promise for environmentalists—yet fraught with peril. Have they picked the right fight?

"We have a lot riding on this," Klebb says. "If after five years of fighting and mobilizing people we can't stop this with the amount of resources we've put forward, then what project can we stop?" (See related interactive map of the route: "Keystone XL: Mapping the Flow of Tar Sands Oil.")

Photo of protestors led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Santa Monica.
Photograph by Laura Kleinhenz, Redux
Protesters in Santa Monica, California, on February 3, 2014, urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

Clash of the Symbols

In the hopes of rallying the public to the fight against climate change, the activists have made TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline a symbolic test of President Obama's commitment to reducing greenhouse gases. In the process they've sometimes exaggerated the pipeline's intrinsic importance—labeling it, in McKibben's memorable phrase, a "fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet."

In terms of carbon emissions, if you don't buy the argument that the oil from the tar sands is going to get to market somehow, stopping the Keystone XL would be equivalent, according to the State Department's numbers, to stopping the construction of somewhere between half a coal-fired power plant and half a dozen, at a time when China has been building dozens a year. In other words, the pipeline would exacerbate the climate problem incrementally—and perhaps "significantly," depending on your point of view—but it would not (to quote another slogan) be "game over" for the planet.

Proponents of the project wield exaggerated symbolic arguments of their own—that it would promote "energy independence," for instance, and create jobs. The State Department report found it would create 42,000 temporary construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs.

For President Obama, the dilemma is that it is politically difficult to forbid a commercial enterprise for symbolic reasons. A PEW Research Center poll taken last fall found 65 percent of Americans, including 51 percent of Democrats, support the pipeline.

The effort to block the pipeline is already complicating midterm election politics for Democrats in ways that jeopardize the broader environmental agenda. Four of eight Senate Democrats who have expressed support for the pipeline face difficult reelection campaigns; Democrats could lose control of the Senate, and with it the kind of leverage needed to make gains on a host of other environmental issues.

Amy Myers Jaffe, an expert on global energy policy at the University of California at Davis, cautions that the effort to defeat the pipeline may be misplaced. "The environmental movement has made this a litmus test," she says. "It's always dangerous to draw a line in the sand, because then you're stuck with the line."

She says the pipeline battle has overshadowed other achievements on climate change, such as the Obama Administration's new fuel efficiency standards. "There is demand for oil. It's going to move, and rail is more dangerous—we all just saw a town disappear," she says, alluding to the July explosion of an oil train in Lac-Mégantic in Quebec. "If you want to keep oil in the ground, we have to address what kind of cars we want to drive." (Related: "N.D. Oil Train Fire Spotlights Risks of Transporting Crude").

The focus should be on regulating carbon emissions nationally, Jaffe says, "instead of trying to block infrastructure." Later this year, the Obama Administration has promised to propose regulations limiting the emissions from existing coal-fired power plants—a policy move whose effect on climate would potentially dwarf that of the Keystone XL.

Water, Land, and Grassroots

Carbon emissions are not the only environmental objection to the pipeline. Opposition to it gained a foothold first in Nebraska, where farmers raised concerns that a pipeline leak could seep into the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies drinking water to the Great Plains and irrigation for a third of the nation's farmlands. Klebb's group joined forces with farmers, and TransCanada was eventually forced to redraw the route around the aquifer and the fragile Sand Hills.

That has not been enough to convince all Nebraskans. "The pipeline has brought together a whole group of new voices, in particular rural voices and voices from the agricultural community," Klebb says. "That is hugely significant. This is not just an East Coast—West Coast environmental issue."

Even in oil-friendly Texas, pipeline opposition bloomed. The pipeline route would cross through Julia Trigg Crawford's farm in Lamar County, 120 miles northeast of Dallas. Crawford is now in the third year of a court fight to prevent TransCanada from taking her land.

"When our little fight started off, it wasn't purely environmental, it was property rights—and it grew," she says. "Now it's Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, Libertarians, white, black, gay, straight, city dwellers, country dwellers. I symbolize someone who is going to stand up against mammoth odds." (See related story: "Keystone XL Pipeline Path Marks New Battle Line in Oklahoma.")

Mainstream environmental groups have since thrown themselves into the battle as well. "When we're able to focus on distinct, concrete projects, we tend to win," Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, told the New York Times. "And when we tend to focus on more obscure policies or places where we need action from Congress, we tend to stall." If Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline, Brune said, it will be "the Vietnam of his presidency."

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, who directs the Natural Resources Defense Council's international program, cautions against overemphasizing the pipeline. "The battle is climate change," she says. "Keystone XL is one piece of that fight, one marker on that path."

But she also dismisses the idea that the Keystone skirmish will backfire against the environmental movement.

"This is not something that the big environmental organizations got together on in a room," she says. "It's something the people decided was important. That kind of passion is what helps lift the boat in all of the climate fight—in getting a price on carbon, in getting changes on power plants. You have to have that kind of heart to win."

56 comments
Bill Copeland
Bill Copeland

Laura Parker, your wording is more than confusing.  Whatever you meant to say, it is wrong, andI  think you should apologize to your readers.

"in terms of carbon emissions, if you don't buy the argument that the oil from the tar sands is going to get to market somehow, stopping the Keystone XL would be equivalent, according to the State Department's numbers, to stopping the construction of somewhere between half a coal-fired power plant and half a dozen"

If one DID buy that argument, you might say that the carbon cost of transporting this dirty fuel by other means would amount to maybe a couple of power plant’s worth but if you do NOT buy that argument then the difference is truly enormous, as in “game over” enormous. Lowballing the difference between what will happen to the Tar Sands carbon with and without KXL is easy if you assume no change in the energy economy, saying in effect that we will not smarten up, ever, and that there will be no decrement to the ultimate extraction of Tar Sands until the pool is drained.   Both the human and the natural economies would be ruined well before that time. Stopping (or impeding) KXL should slow the extraction as well as draw attention to the destructive nature of this incredibly dirty fuel. 

The State Department can be expected to make such leaden assumptions about our economic future because they are bureaucrats and cannot allow for, much less project the dynamism of our culture. Huge changes are happening in the renewable energy sector and they are picking up speed.  Environmentalists know this is not the be-all and end-all for there goals but they will not give up on opposing this nasty greed-driven project, even if it is approved. You would do well to put your ear to the ground and hear the rumble. 


Travis Mattila
Travis Mattila

ancient fossils keep me warm.

build it bigger and better and stronger. thats what i say. 

make it awesome.

KENNETH LANE
KENNETH LANE

The kickbacks and bribes have already been placed so the conclusion is foregone------besides President Obama will do exactly as his Rightwing handlers tell him to!

Peter V.
Peter V.

A few facts:

The US is the world’s largest consumer of petroleum products.

The US is currently the largest importer of Canadian petroleum (approximately 90% of all Canadian petroleum is exported to the US).

The US industry is heavily dependent on petroleum to maintain economic growth.

The extraction of natural gas through hydraulic fracking is arguably the most environmentally unfriendly source of energy.

The US continues to import Canadian petroleum (with increasing demand).  Currently this is currently largely done by rail, and soon in some cases, with transfers to barges down the Mississippi river to refineries near the gulf coast.  Double (or even triple) handling of the petroleum is required, increasing the risk environmental events.

The completion of the XL pipeline should be encouraged, not opposed.

Richard
Richard

Tar sands oil could be banned out right. But to conform with WTO (world trade organization) rules that would mean banning most heavy crudes including Californian (huff and puff) and stopping flaring in the Bakkens.

However it dose not stop the smog in the cities. In large cities with good public transport we should ban cars within a mile radius at least of the city center.

I think the reason the pipeline issue is so popular is because it gives people the idea that if I don`t use the `dirty oil` I can drive my car all I want.

Carolyn Timmons
Carolyn Timmons

Living in Kalamazoo, MI, home of the worst DILBIT spill in history SO FAR, I can verify that once this material is spilled, it cannot be cleaned up. 3 years and several billion dollars in cleanup costs later, the DILBIT is still there in the Kalamazoo River.

Cameron Spitzer
Cameron Spitzer

Finishing the KXL pipeline is like stocking up on cigarettes when you're trying to quit.

David Dodson
David Dodson

Kleeb, not Klebb. Also, crude oil is already flowing across Julia Trigg Crawford's property.

Mark Ellenson
Mark Ellenson

We need to resist this pipeline at all costs. We need to send billions of dollars to the mideast to fund terrorism at all costs.

Eric Thompson
Eric Thompson

Keystone and fracking; environmentalism following in the footsteps  of the anti-change factions throughout history. Luddites and the people who persecuted Galileo would fit right in.

m s
m s

I think it's definitely the right fight. We shouldn't be furthering the goal of oil companies at all. They have too much power as it is. Instead we should be taking steps to remove oil/coal from our power systems entirely.


The anti-clean energy people would agree that if we start now to build up the amount of cleaner energy replacements we'd have enough in ten years to remove oil as anything more than just a process for plastic/fiberglass and eventually even that will find a replacement. 


The first step tho is lifting the ban on hemp so that we can begin growing the crop needed to make the fuel.


Same goes for coal, we already have alternatives now we just need the funding to replace the natural gas systems with gas from garbage. It's not that difficult actually we've seen it done in other countries successfully.


America is way behind on many things!

Rob Dekker
Rob Dekker

Laura Parker said "stopping the Keystone XL would be equivalent, according to the State Department's numbers, to stopping the construction of somewhere between half a coal-fired power plant and half a dozen, "


Laura, exactly which numbers from the State Department report did you take to get to this conclusion ? 


For starters, even if you are taking only the numbers of the natural gas burned by tar-sand operators, you would end up with energy usage close to 15 % of all Canada's natural gas usage. That's more that "between half a coal-fired power plant" let alone "half a dozen".


And then we did not even talk about the emissions from upgrading the bitumen, or refining it, or burning the refined product itself.

Rob Dekker
Rob Dekker

Myers Jaffe said "There is demand for oil. It's going to move, and rail is more dangerous—we all just saw a town disappear,"


This is the kind of sick mis-information that we can really do without.

The disaster in Lac Megantic was caused by rail transport of our own domestic light crude being transported from North Dakota to Canada, in other words IN OPPOSITE DIRECTION of the Keystone XL.




Rob Dekker
Rob Dekker

"The State Department concluded that, though the tar sands have a somewhat larger carbon footprint than other sources of oil, the pipeline was unlikely to affect the rate at which the oil is extracted—one way or another, it would find its way to market."


Actually, the State Department report does not really say that.

They state that it depends on the price of WCS, and the cost of rail transport, both of which are a serious point of dispute (between the EPA and others and the fossil fuel contractor (ERM) that wrote the State Department report). 


In fact, ERM (while it is still under investigation for conflict of interest with TransCanada) finally admitted the obvious in the FEIS report :


"Oil sands production is expected to be most sensitive to increased transport costs in a range of prices around $65 to 75 per barrel. 

Assuming prices fell in this range, higher transportation costs could have a substantial impact on oil sands production levels—possibly in excess of the capacity of the proposed Project—because many in situ projects are estimated to break even around these levels"


Since WCS prices have been in the $65 to $75 per barrel range for the past couple of years, the State Department report concludes that the higher transport cost of rail will likely reduce oil sands production levels, possibly in excess of the Keystone XL capacity.


Which is what Keystone opponents have been saying all along, and there is no indication that the Keystone XL is "unlikely to affect the rate at which the oil is extracted" as this presentation suggests.



Jane Kleeb
Jane Kleeb

Thank you for the article, there is a big correction that needs to happen. The route still crosses the Aquifer and the Sandhills. The State Dept report states as much, I hope the reporter will edit the article because TransCanada and their allies use this all the time to claim we complain even when we "win"...trouble is the route barley moved off some of the Sandhills and crosses just as many miles of the Aquifer.

Jane Kleeb
Jane Kleeb

Thank you for the article, the route still crosses the Aquifer and the Sandhills. The State Dept report states as much, I hope the reporter will edit the article because TransCanada and their allies use this all the time to claim we complain even when we "win"...trouble is the route barley moved off some of the Sandhills and crosses just as many miles of the Aquifer.

Jeremy Listerud
Jeremy Listerud

The tar sands oil is "dirty" crude and it costs a lot to clean it to a usable grade. the useable grade is not a high grade crude that can create jet fuel, or even gasoline its diesel fuel and various oils. The tar sands were suppose to be a last resort for crude oil, since we are using them that means the world is running out of crude. I suggest for all in support go buy solar panels for your homes, McCain is already cashing in and making more than $4000 a month already on sales. You lost the world energy investing just into crude, and crude companies will have you all in a money jail slave status for energy within 15 years. Grow up and move on. The keystone XL pipeline is so named after the beer can because the company hired beer drinking young guy sex slaves to draw it and build it. No engineering of legitimate status will be done on it, thus providing the catalyst that will send the already impoverished to starvation, 25% of the world population will die. 4.5 years from now.

Doug L
Doug L

The right fight is against Dirty Coal.

Brian Ewing
Brian Ewing

You would think that National Geographic would get it right. The term "tar sands" is inaccurate and always has been so.  But I suppose it sounds "dirtier" to opponents of the pipeline, so it gets used to death.  Even "oil sands" is not necessarily correct, but is at least closer to the truth.

The substance in question is actually bituminous sand, a mixture of sand, clay, water and an extremely viscous form of petroleum called bitumen.

If you're going to write about something, please at least know what the basis of your topic actually is.

Russel Carty
Russel Carty

The global impact of this issue is troubling to say the least. However, the reality is that Canada and other oil producing nations will continue to harvest and sell their products globally. Someone will burn the tar sand oil and there is no since wasting resources attempting to limit corporate greed and national political agendas. As an Oklahoman, I would prefer that the tar sand oil transit our state by pipeline rather than rail. Recent accidents serve to emphasize the imminent dangers and lack of regulation/preparation associated with rail transport and over road transportation is impractical.

John Smith
John Smith

Two big errors I saw in this story:

1. The town that "disappeared" in a rail accident was in Canada, not North Dakota.

2. The Keystone Pipeline already crosses East Texas farmer Julia Trigg-Crawford's land. That part of the pipeline has already been built. She is now asking the court battle to declare the taking of an easement on her land to have been illegal. 

Jim Bennett
Jim Bennett

To the Environmental purist, there is a middle ground for the safest transport of oil and that is the XL; not by train, not by semi. You are not going to put the cat back in the bag. What you need is to decrease the probability of a spill.

The article talks about the XL Pipeline relative to Tar Sands Crude but does not talk about the Bakken. I live in Havre, MT on a major rail line and each day you see trains with Bakken crude headed West. Train drailments are not uncommon. We have two companies in Havre picking train cars off the ground all year long. You don't hear about them because they are grain cars or container cars. As you increase the oil being transported by rail, you increase the risk.


"The $7 billion, 1,700-mile, high-tech Keystone XL pipeline will transport 830,000 barrels a day of oil—including 100,000 barrels of light sweet Bakken crude from North Dakota—to U.S. refineries."


"Three terminals — in Anacortes, Tacoma and Clatskanie, Ore. — are already receiving crude oil by trains. Other facilities are proposed at the ports of Grays Harbor and Vancouver, and at refineries.

Together, the 10 projects would be capable of moving nearly 800,000 barrels per day, said Eric de Place, policy director at Sightline Institute. "It's a lot of oil that we're talking about moving by train in Washington. It raises new questions about how the state can handle a spill.""


Look at those numbers closely - 100000 to 800000 barrels per day. This is why your gas is under $3.00 per gallon.


The oil is going to market whether you like it or not and at an ever increasing barrels per day. The question should be what is the safest, method with the least risk to all for taking oil to market. If you want more rail accidents like North Dakota then oppose the pipeline. Then again that is easy to do when you do not live next the rail and know the risks.



Justin Smith
Justin Smith

How did these protesters arrive at the locations to protest? I bet they got in their car made of plastic, rubber and uses oil, drove to the location and protested the oil pipeline. Got back in their cars drove home. Facepalm. 


Better yet they got on their bicycles made of plastic and rubber bits, called their friends on their cell phone made of plastic bits. Did their protesting against the oil pipeline then went back home. Facepalm. 


Our modern society uses oil and lots of it. Our level of technology is not to the point where we can do without oil. These protesters preach that we should give up oil then they  go about their daily life enjoying all of the benefits of what that very oil provides. 


Brian Dear
Brian Dear

@Peter V.  While I disagree with you on fracking, I totally agree with you that the net benefit of the Keystone Pipeline (for both the environment as well as economically) exceeds the cost. Another thing is that if Keystone doesn't happen, the oil will be piped east to west to be loaded onto oil tankers and sold to China where they will refine it -- it goes without saying that the environmental impact of Chinese refineries make Texas refineries look like a Sierra Club picnic, not to mention the danger of oil tankers to the oceans.

Brian Dear
Brian Dear

@Carolyn Timmons  So you agree with the pipeline? The risk of spills is much greater when oil is transported by trucks, tankers and trains and handled multiple times.

Emily Rose
Emily Rose

@m s I just saw my first solar garden yesterday! It was very exciting! I live in KS, a treeless prairie and we don't have one....hmmmm

Don Ziolkowski
Don Ziolkowski

@Rob Dekker  


read the article, he says multiple times that the report makes the implicit assumption that the tar sands oil will be removed regardless of the pipelines existence.

If that's true (and it is, after all it's being removed as we speak and there is no pipeline) then this 15% you speak of isn't subject to the decision to build or not build a pipeline. It's a fixed set cost that will occur regardless.


as to the rest. All I can say is the same thing, if it's pulled out, it will be refined, if it's refined it will be burnt for energy, these things aren't avoided by refusing to build the pipeline. The only thing the pipeline creates is the amount of emissions created by creating it. That's it.

A J
A J

@Rob Dekker  .. and yet the point still stands. It will mean more crude on rail lines, regardless of the direction of transport.

Don Ziolkowski
Don Ziolkowski

@Rob Dekker  

You think that perhaps they use magic to transport down and trains to transport it up.


can you seriously be so overcome with silliness you think it's irrelevant the train blew up a town because it was facing north instead of south. That is beyond absurd.

Don Ziolkowski
Don Ziolkowski

@Rob Dekker  


oil is a commidity whose demand is high and constant and whose supply is dropping everyday. 


Perhaps the cost of a barrel of oil has been down for a few years but trending into the future its inevitable that the price increase.



The only reason the cost of transport would go up is the cost of the fuel itself to do the transporting, thats the big affector of transport costs.


Are you seriously suggesting the price of fuel might go so high that you can't afford to transport fuel? Rail prices are largely the price of fuel for the trip, if the price of rail goes up it's most likely because the price of fuel has gone up which means that the tar sands oil is now worth more covering the increased cost of moving it.



Joe G.
Joe G.

@Doug L  

It is every fossil fuel that we should fight. Coal is a good start.

Joe G.
Joe G.

@Jim Bennett  it is not the fact that oil is being transported it is the fact that oil is being taken out of the ground. The best way to prevent an oil spill is to not touch the oil. 

Justin Smith
Justin Smith

@Lee Demaray  Hi, I find your argument somewhat lacking in specifics. So how about this:


Stop, stopping the keystone xl pipeline. 

Joe G.
Joe G.

@Justin Smith  They used electric cars powered by solar panels made from recycled material.


The oil is not just destroying the climate it is destroying ecosystems that the oil is under. Oil is a burden not something I enjoy. I would trade my "benefits" from oil for a world without smog and beautiful ecosystems. 

Swiftright Right
Swiftright Right

@Justin Smith  Not all hydro carbs are equal. There is a big difference between say, light sweet crude and tar sands oil. Namely that it takes 1 barrel of crude to produce 29 barrels of usable oil. When your talking tar sands it takes 1 barrel to produce 2.8 barrels of oil.


you dont have to be a green nut to see why tar sands are more about politics then economics. The reason no one (other then the land owners) wanted to exploit tar sand until recently is that its ridiculously inefficient, literally 1/3 the production is required just to run the extraction system.



Justin Smith
Justin Smith

@Joe G. @Justin Smith  Please provide a link to the study where you make this claim. I find it quite dubious that all those protesters drive electric vehicles. But oh wait electric vehicles are made of plastic and rubber like regular cars. Wow where did they get the oil products to make them?  


You say you "WOULD" trade your benefits from oil but what is stopping you? Or do you just say that to look good, while you sit back and enjoy all that plastic molded into modern conveniences. 

A J
A J

@Swiftright Right @Justin Smith  Your numbers are farcical. You cannot get 29 barrels of oil out of one barrel of crude. One barrel of crude is, by definition, 1 barrel of oil.

Justin Smith
Justin Smith

@Swiftright Right @Justin Smith  I already know that there is a difference between light sweet crude and tar sands oil. 


Though you claim this is more about politics than economics I find totally dubious at best. 


If you knew anything about economics you would know that cost is the driving factor in any product. 


If for EXAMPLE : the cost of making a barrel of tar sand oil is $200 dollars and the market price of oil it $100 dollars a barrel nobody in their right mind will bother with tar sand oil. Now if you reverse those costs then everybody will want tar sand oil. Not just politicians but the average consumer will too. 


Efficiency has absolutely nothing to do with it. 

Brian Dear
Brian Dear

@Joe G. @Jim Bennett  When you buy your hydrogen car and all of your consumer products are made out of recycled paper instead of plastic, let us know. Let the way!

Peter V.
Peter V.

Umm… no.Hydrogen technology is far from clean.Hydrogen gas rarely exists naturally in its elemental state.Hydrogen is always bonded at the atomic level to other elements, usually carbon, or more abundantly with oxygen in the form of H2O.The production of hydrogen gas requires “cracking” the atomic bond with a huge amount of… you guessed it, energy.Currently technologies require a higher energy input into production than the potential energy output of the hydrogen gas itself, resulting in a net energy consumption.

Ironically much of the energy input required to produce hydrogen gas comes from fossil fuels.

Dead end.

Don Ziolkowski
Don Ziolkowski

@Joe G. @Jim Bennett  so your plan is


Invent SAFE hydrogen car. 

Advance that technology to the point that it's affordable.

build millions of new pumps at fill stations to fill them.

buy every american a new hydrogen car.

BAM FUCKING SOLVED THAT SHIT


could you do this by like thursday? Cause i'm going to need gas by then bro.

Jim Bennett
Jim Bennett

@Joe G. @Jim Bennett  I am not against keeping oil in the ground, don't get me wrong. Changing to alternative energy would be great but your idea of keeping it in the ground is a little late. The fight is now about how to transport crude with the least risk to the population and environment. XL pipeline seems to be the least risk.  

Even with no XL Pipeline the Bakken and Canadian oil is still being developed.   

Justin Smith
Justin Smith

@Joe G. @Justin Smith @Lee Demaray  Hi, I find your argument equally lacking in specifics. It is easy make up your mind against something  when you dont have to worry about facts getting in the way. 


I bet you like wind farms too. The fact that they kill thousands of birds, including bald eagles every year should matter, but it is probably another inconvenient fact that you and people like you ignore. 

Justin Smith
Justin Smith

@Swiftright Right @Justin Smith  You complain about the Canadian government giving subsidies to make the tar sands viable. Sounds to me like you should be protesting the canadian government instead of the pipeline.  


If China were to get all of this oil that would certainly help our trade balance with them. Though it might be from Canada the oil is getting added value here in the US by being refined. 

Swiftright Right
Swiftright Right

@Justin Smith @Swiftright Right  Except that tar sand oil is receiving massive, historically huge subsidies both from Canada and indirectly from the US. More money is changing hands at a government level then at a corporate level, if thats not politics trumping economics I dont know what is.


We dont need to be subsidizing oil that will not be available to Americans (every one agrees that China will be getting nearly all of it) will produce virtually no long term jobs (30-100 depending on source) and is polluting on a scale unseen outside of communist Russia. 


With the breakthroughs being made in Natgas and oil fracking we have huge amounts of cheap, far cleaner and less polluting fuel right here in the US.

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