Saying the Keystone XL pipeline has nothing to do with climate change is like saying sex has nothing to do with pregnancy.

But that’s what the State Department is trying to contend in a recent environmental impact report on the controversial pipeline, which would carry 830,000 barrels a day of the world’s filthiest crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf Coast of America (“Keystone XL pipeline clears major hurdle,” Feb. 1).

The report acknowledges that this particular crude – from extraction to use – is 17 percent worse in greenhouse emissions than more traditional types of oil. But it speculates another path to market would be found if the 1,179-mile pipeline is nixed.

That’s not for certain. And why should our nation enable what clearly is globally harmful, whether or not another enabling path may be available?

It’s not for national energy security. The oil, to be refined at facilities owned by the Koch Brothers, is destined for export.

It’s not for environmental security. Leaks from this pipeline could destroy a major Midwest aquifer at a time when water is quickly becoming as huge an issue as climate change.


It’s not for international relations. Canada might be upset if the pipeline is blocked, but will get over it. Besides a lot of Canadians, especially indigenous people, are fighting hard to close down the massively destructive tar sands oil extractions.

The next move belongs to Secretary of State John Kerry, who will make a recommendation to President Obama. The president has said he will not approve the pipeline if it would contribute to climate change. And it would.

Cathy Wolff


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.