Sen. Angus King’s Keystone XL vote was important for two reasons: The pipeline plan has a high risk level, and the perceived need is questionable.

The proposed pipeline is an add-on to the existing Keystone 1 pipeline, which pumps tar-sands oil into the United States.

Keystone 1 has a chronic problem with leaks. There is no compelling reason to believe that the important Midwest aquifer would be safe from contamination from the new pipeline.

The need for the Keystone XL pipeline is not clear. The builders of the pipeline claim that oil from Canada will reduce our dependency on foreign oil.

The last time I checked, Canada was a foreign country. Adding more oil to an economy heavily dependent on oil will only sustain our need for oil, and by implication, it will sustain our need for foreign oil. The only long-term fix for our oil habit is to develop non-oil energy sources.

I hope that Sen. Susan Collins follows Sen. King’s lead if the Keystone XL issue comes to another vote.

Peter Konieczko