American People Give Keystone Strong Approval
According to a Pew Research Center poll, 66 percent of Americans support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and this support spans most demographic and partisan groups. This poll stands in contrast to opinions from the left and environmental groups that public opposition to the Keystone pipeline should sway the Obama administration away from approving its construction.
Some people question the safety of transporting oil via pipelines and make the argument that since there is a risk to the environment involved in the transport of oil, the Keystone pipeline should not be built.
However, this argument is self-defeating for a number of reasons.
First, as the Wall Street Journal explains (sub. req’d) it is actually safer to transport oil via pipelines than by rail, and energy companies have been increasingly forced to ship by rail as pipeline capacity has been filled. Oil pipelines carry far more crude and have fewer leaks per mile than rails.
Second, as the Heritage Foundation has noted, the Department of State (DOS) has released numerous positive environmental reviews of Keystone and has found that the Keystone pipeline met 57 DOS safety standard requirements.
Finally, and here’s the clincher, oil from Canadian refineries will be transported and used regardless of whether the United States is the primary beneficiary or purchaser of this resource. Heritage’s Nick Loris explains that China will purchase and refine oil in refineries that are subject to fewer environmental regulations, meaning that there will be a greater risk to the environment than if the pipeline were built in the U.S. And again, “the U.S. will have to import more oil via tankers from overseas, or carry crude oil from Canada in trucks or on rails.”
Of course, oil spills are certainly unfortunate events. However, the relatively small risk that would come with transporting oil by the Keystone pipeline would not outweigh the benefits in terms of energy prices, the economy, and jobs in the United States.