Pipeline to Oblivion

Political, corporate and public support for the Keystone Pipeline is a direct repudiation of efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption across the globe.  Touting the economic and societal benefits of the project, supporters voice little concern for its environmental impacts, including our continued reliance on a product that threatens the welfare of our planet.

The tar sands of northeastern Alberta, Canada, lie within Cretaceous sediments of the Athabasca River Valley.  Extraction of their heavy crude has involved both open pit mining and in situ techniques (which require large volumes of water, diverted from the river).  Both forms of extraction threaten the regional environment, either via direct destruction of boreal bogs and forest or by pollution of the river and its tributaries.  Of course, transportation of the heavy crude in a pipeline that crosses the American Heartland raises the possibility of spills in rivers, prairies, wetlands or vital agricultural areas along the way.

But the primary threat of the Keystone Pipeline is its reinforcement of our dependence on fossil fuel.  A shift toward natural gas utilization and clean, renewable energy production have gained significant traction over the past decade, fueled by the threat of global warming, recurring incidents of pollution (such as the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico) and the political ramifications of the international oil market.  Support for the Keystone Pipeline demonstrates an unwillingness to address the ongoing, man-induced degradation of Planet Earth and our accelerating march toward oblivion.