Pipeline Dreams

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The Center for Biological Diversity announced that they, together with some 40-plus other organizations, were able to rally 793,000 signatories for a petition against the Keystone XL pipeline. The proposal is building a pipeline from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast where it can be refined and distributed in the United States and abroad. What is troubling isn’t the number of signatories, or the method to garner attention, rather the complacent view.

The group claims that the pipeline will “increase US dependence on fossil fuels.” The Wilderness Society comments that U.S. politicians are forcing unwanted oil on American consumers. The recent increase in gas prices leads me to believe there is still plenty of demand for auto fuel in the US. In fact, we have few good substitutes to fill the tank.

U.S. demand for fossil fuels is not going to decline as a result of blocking the Canadian pipeline proposed by TransCanada. Sans the Keystone line crossing America, gas will be transported in other ways from other places with their own environmental impacts.

TransCanada has made clear intentions to mine the oil and send it to be refined, whether across the US. to the Gulf Coast, across the Pacific to China, or both. The claim that stopping the Keystone pipeline will reduce carbon emissions is merely a pipe dream.

Originally posted at Environmental Trends.

Holly Fretwell is a Research Fellow at PERC and an adjunct instructor at Montana State University where she has taught  introductory economics, macroeconomics, natural resources and environmental economics. She works with the Foundation for Teaching Economics, giving workshops for  high school teachers to improve their skills in teaching and...
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