It’s been five years since the Keystone XL was proposed and the oil industry thinks that is somehow a justification to approve it. But bad ideas generally get worse with age, and KXL is no exception. With floods in Colorado again reminding us that we are teetering on climate calamity, oil consumption going down, temperatures going up, and massive renewable energy sources sitting untapped, five years seems like more than enough time to conclude we don’t this boondoggle project.
A quick snapshot of the last five years makes it clear that we don’t need more climate wrecking tar sands:
- Since KXL was proposed 5 years ago, U.S. oil production has increased 44%, while gas prices have gone down 14% and oil consumption has dropped 1.6%.
- Meanwhile, the risk of pipelines has hit American communities hard with three major pipeline disasters – the Kalamazoo River, Mayflower, Arkansas, and the Yellowstone River – bringing costly damage to communities, resources, and wildlife.
- Over the last five years, the world has had 3 of the 10 hottest years ever and the current year is on pace to join them. 2001-2010 was hottest decade ever. The last several years have also seen an unprecedented number of extreme weather events, such as Superstorm Sandy, costing us lives, livelihoods, and tens of billions of dollars of damage.
Meanwhile, it has become clear that KXL would be a climate change disaster, raise America’s gas prices and most of the oil would be exported. KXL would also spur further destruction of the Boreal forest, a major nursery for our wildlife heritage. Areas directly threatened by tar sands extraction are used by 130 species of protected migratory birds.
Yet again, State Department’s analysis of KXL’s impacts has been met with criticism from federal agencies with wildlife and environmental expertise, and conflict of interest questions have been raised regarding the industry friendly firm State hired to do its work.
While industry moguls cry foul over five years without their misguided pipeline, the fossil fuel titan Koch Brothers are using their deep pockets to fund delay tactics to keep one of America’s richest renewable sources – offshore wind – untapped. As a result, the widely supported Cape Wind project has been tied up for a decade. Europe has already invested in 58 offshore wind projects, but relentless fossil fuel forces in the U.S. have kept us from enjoying the clean power and the long-term jobs that are growing so plentiful on the other side of the Atlantic. However, momentum for clean energy is building, further obviating the need for carbon intensive fossil fuels like tar sands.
The time to confront our energy future is now. KXL and tar sands are the wrong path. KXL is not in the national interest and should be rejected. It will be a sign of progress when it doesn’t take us five years to realize that a horrible idea is a horrible idea.