Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.
News Opinion

Keystone pipeline: Let's wait for the facts

The op-ed by retired Gulf Oil vice president Charles Campbell ("D.C.'s Keystone Kops) claims President Obama's refusal to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline was made only for political reasons. This couldn't be further from the truth. There is still much contention about legal issues, the siting of the pipeline and the pollution it might lead to. President Obama's decision has only provided a feverish, unreasonable reaction by environmental bashers.

The story of the Keystone XL oil pipeline is a lot more complicated than the simplistic, often inaccurate statements in the op ed piece.

The article says no major spills have occurred in existing pipelines. What is he waiting for? A BP spill? There have been many pipeline spills, some devastating and polluting to water sources. This pipeline would be higher heated and more corrosive than most since it will carry the diluted bitumen — thick sands mixed with natural gas to thin it.

The overriding concern to the livelihood of U.S. citizens is the high increase in air pollution. Doubling U.S. imports of tar sands means the cutting down of 740,000 acres of Canadian boreal forest. Even a small amount of water pollution would be devastating.

But then there are the details. A few of the many questions about the whys and wheres of the Keystone XL pipeline are:

•What happened to the existing refinery in the Midwest?

•Are the only refineries that remain the ones in Texas? Is single control wise?

•Anywhere the pipeline will be dug will cause traffic disruption, disruptions by construction sites through towns and villages, through farmlands, ranches, prairies and waterways. Are the people ready for this?

•Will the pipeline be dug through the Nebraska Sand hills? Over the Ogallala aquifer, near the Yellowstone River (which has already suffered an oil spill)?

•How much of the refined oil will go to the USA? How much will be exported?

•How about the possibility to a legal challenge to the president over the "national interest requirement" when a foreign country is connected to the USA?

Loud pronouncements about the Keystone XL oil pipeline are vapid hot air until careful realistic assessments are accomplished. These bombastic pronouncements and absurd namecalling are rallying political cries themselves and are impediments to reasonable solutions that are truly in the best interests of the country.

Ellen Kelly, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Keystone comes up dry
    Keystone comes up dry

    Tuesday evening's Senate vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline may have come up one vote shy of the necessary 60-vote margin, but it's surely not the last we've heard of the project. Republicans have become so enamored of TransCanada's vision of a 1,200-mile link from Canadian tar sands...

  • Keystone XL is an outdated technology for meeting tomorrow's needs
    Keystone XL is an outdated technology for meeting tomorrow's needs

    It makes no sense to invest billions of dollars in a dead-end technology like the Keystone XL pipeline, which will be obsolete and of ever-declining value over the next dozen years as we burn up yet more of our dwindling fossil fuel reserves ("Keystone comes up dry," Nov. 19).

  • Our government is broken [Letter]
    Our government is broken [Letter]

    Canada has a shale oil supply that could have reduced U.S. reliance of oil imports from the Middle East, provided thousands of American jobs and ultimately lowered the price of gasoline for American citizens. But President Barack Obama has held the project hostage. Not the House of...

  • The real reason Obama hasn't approved Keystone [Letter]
    The real reason Obama hasn't approved Keystone [Letter]

    There are so many falsehoods and inaccuracies in your editorial that I cannot rebut them point by point ("The Keystone delay," April 22). I would rather present the facts about why the Keystone pipeline should have been approved years ago and why President Barack Obama's continued delays are...

  • Keystone delay is all politics [Letter]
    Keystone delay is all politics [Letter]

    Here is what President Barack Obama said on Good Friday when he announced that he was again, after four years, delaying a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline until after the election:

  • The Keystone delay [Editorial]
    The Keystone delay [Editorial]

    Our view: Choice to temporarily defer a decision on controversial oil pipeline is a rational, albeit politically convenient, one for the White House

  • Keystone XL is one more hole in a sinking ship [Letter]
    Keystone XL is one more hole in a sinking ship [Letter]

    On what basis did the U.S. State Department conclude that the Keystone XL pipeline project is relatively benign in regard to greenhouse gas?

  • Climate change toadies
    Climate change toadies

    While reading the front page of The Sun the article on the loss of amphibians ("Alarming U.S. decline in environment's sentinels," May 23), I heard on the radio that Congress is trying to assure construction of the Alberta tar sands pipeline.