An export pipeline

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Regarding the Keystone XL pipeline: The Post-Gazette (“Slippery Non-Decision,” April 25 editorial) writes that President Barack Obama owes the voters an answer. Actually, the “voters” are waiting for the facts that elude your paper and editorial comments. If there were an election, it is certain the line will not stretch beyond TransCanada Corp., oil industry contractors, the American Petroleum Institute and the Koch brothers, who have given about $50 million to think tanks and members of Congress who have pushed for construction. 

Folks like U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy wrote in your paper that Mr. Obama should build the pipeline, which will provide more than 20,000 jobs. The facts suggest that maybe 2,000 short-term jobs would be created during the construction, but when talking in the long term maybe 50 or 100 in our economy.

Former NASA scientist James Hansen has stated that tar sand is one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet. Separating the tar sands’ tarry substance (bitumen) from its Canadian clay and sands causes three to four times the carbon emissions per barrel than conventional oil. Huge amounts of water and chemicals must be added to allow the product to flow up the pipeline. The oil industry calls it “dilbit,” diluted bitumen, and the water sources include the aquifers along the route of the pipeline.

The idea that the pipeline enhances our energy security is a scam. That construction will help wean America of its dependence on foreign oil is demonstrably false.

The Keystone pipeline is an export pipeline. When completed, it will achieve a long-term objective of Canadian tar sands producers to gain access to export markets. The pipeline will deliver the tar sands to Texas-based refineries that will export virtually all of the finished product, mostly diesel.

Big winners will be firms like Koch Industries, which holds up to 2 million acres of land in Alberta, the starting point of the Keystone XL. They and others have heavy investments in the refinery industry. Oil from tar sands makes sense only for a small number of people who are making a lot of money from the product.

BOB FIFE
Mount Washington


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