I’m happy to announce that my latest Op-Ed has been published in two major newspapers, the Baltimore Sun and New Jersey’s Star-Leger! I’ve placed links to the article below. I chose these two papers because I grew up in NJ and currently live in Baltimore.
Here’s the text of my original, unedited article:
The Keystone XL Pipeline, designed to pump unrefined oil tar sands from Alberta to Texas, won a critical victory Friday when the US State Department concluded the project posed “no significant impacts” to the environment. This conclusion is horribly misaligned with reality.
TransCanada, a Calgary firm, intends its XL to move over 500,000 highly pressurized barrels per day through what it calls “the safest pipeline in North America,” faint praise for a company whose existing Keystone pipeline has spilled 12 times in one year. That the 1711-mile long, half-inch thick pipeline traverses fragile ecosystems and public aquifers doesn’t aid matters.
More dangerous, though, is the resource-intensive extraction process. The EPA estimates carbon emissions from tar sand extraction to be 80% greater than average crude. Noted Columbia University climatologist Jim Hansen spoke bluntly of the project, claiming “exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts,” adding, “if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over.”
But some advocates, including Cindy Schild (Baltimore Sun – “Keystone XL pipeline, bringing oil from Canada, is a step towards the future”, August 22), a spokeswoman for the American Petroleum Institute, claim the pipeline is needed to create jobs. Environmental effects aside, this misses the larger point. After the short-term stimulus provided by construction of the Keystone XL, the pipeline locks the US into a long-term dependency on Canadian crude. We will have sent a negative signal to our domestic renewable energy markets all while American energy dollars continue to leak abroad.
Environmental advocates have been vocal in their opposition, staging a two-week sit-in at the White House which culminated earlier this month. The peaceful protest resulted in over 1000 arrests including those of prominent climate scientists. That our nation’s scientific experts have been incarcerated for defending our shared environment is nothing short of an American embarrassment.
To be clear, this decision is out of the hands of Congress. Final approval of the pipeline lies entirely with the Obama administration’s State Department. Instead of striving for a future of crisp, clean, green American energy, the federal government seems desperate to prolong our addiction to finite, filthy, foreign fuels and tar sands are perhaps the dirtiest of the bunch. Their penetration through our American heartland should be staunchly opposed.
At last count, the Star-Ledger article had 1,426 Facebook Likes, 3 Facebook recommendations, and 7 tweets, one Google +1 (I’m not sure this is catching on yet), and 6 comments! Not too bad for a “boring” issue like a pipeline.