Keystone XL pipeline, bringing oil from Canada, is a step toward the future

Civil disobedience on behalf of causes we believe in is a time-honored American tradition ("Going to jail for the environment," August 22). Another time-honored American tradition is keeping an open mind about the issues, listening to different views and then forming an opinion. It is too bad that Mike Tidwell and Cindy Parker and the others who chose to get arrested in front of the White House to protest the Keystone XL pipeline have turned their back on that tradition.

Wind energy will one day play a significant role in America's energy future, as will other renewables. But that day will not come anytime soon, for it takes years to acquire approvals and permits, secure financing and build the infrastructure. America's oil and natural gas companies believe in alternative energy, and that is why they are investing billions of dollars in developing the technologies that will get us to a green energy future. But they are also working to make certain that Americans have the energy they need in the meantime.

That is what the Keystone XL project is all about. When built, it will be a part of the nation's energy future that, of necessity, calls for diverse sources. It will bring oil from Canada — our "stable, steady and reliable" neighbor, to quote President Obama, to the nation's heartland. That oil, by the way, has almost the same chemical composition as much of the oil that already flows through our pipeline system. The pipeline will also create jobs — thousands of them — at a time when Americans all over are desperate for work.

Canadian sands crude oil can be refined by American refineries — among the cleanest, most advanced in the world — to benefit U.S. consumers. Saying no to oil sands crude won't halt its development. It'll only mean that the oil will be shipped to other countries with less-stringent refining regulations.

Cindy Schild, Washington

The writer is a refinery manager with the American Petroleum Institute.

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