Why A Veto Of Keystone is a Veto Against Mother Nature

     When the President laid out his plan for energy independence in a State of the Union address a few years back he mentioned that "everything is on the table", but he should have qualified it by saying "everything that doesn't alienate my large green donors". After years of stalling on deciding whether to approve the measure and the miles of hoops that TransCanada has been forced to jump through, his threat to veto the Keystone pipeline if it is passed by Congress, is extremely short-sighted. It reminds me of the line in the song Everybody Wants to Rule the World, which goes "I can't stand this indecision, married with a lack of vision". Number one, approving the pipeline will bring us closer to energy independence.  The United States now produces 66% of its energy needs and while its true the Keystone pipeline will originate in Canada and primarily carry Canadian crude, the bottom line is this crude is coming out of the ground no matter what Obama does. The President has no influence over what the Canadians can do with their oil. And while it is a dirty business, there is a cleaner choice-- a lesser of evils if you will on how this crude can be transported. And its a better way for the planet. The pipeline will also spur production and jobs as it winds through the oil rich areas of the Dakotas and Oklahoma. This added production coupled with alternatives and renewable sources will get us to the 100% independance level.  We all want a cleaner environment and we are headed in that direction, but until we find another source to provide us with abundant, cheap energy. then we are stuck with fossil fuels to bridge the gap to a greener world. Since the year 2000 renewables or green sources of energy have gone from being 2% of total energy produced to 10% today, amazing progress in 15 years. But still woefully short to meet our energy needs. 

   Another reason approving the pipeline makes sense. Transporting crude by pipeline rather than rail, truck or barge is infinitely safer and cleaner environmentally than any other method of transport. Since 2008 rail shipments of crude have gone from 9500 carloads to an estimate 500,000 carloads, which equates to 320 million gallons. During the same time crude shipments from Canada have increased 20 fold according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. Along with this incredible expansion of crude shipments comes the danger of derailments or accidents. In July of 2013, a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in the town of Lac Megantic, Quebec killing 47 and extensively damaging the town,  In November of 2013, a train with 90 carloads of crude derailed near Aliceville, Alabama causing more that a dozen cars to explode and burn.  In the town of Casselton, ND another derailment in December 2013, caused the entire town to be evacuated. In 2013, 1.5 million gallons of crude spilled due to rail accidents, and that doesn't take into account the 1.3 million gallons that were spilled in the Quebec incident. The amount spilled by pipeline accidents was 2.0 million gallons in 2013, but when you take into account that 70% of oil is transported by pipeline and less than 5% by rail--you see that the spill statistics for rail are very troubling indeed. In 2014 there were 6 more derailments each one causing crude to spill. There are virtually no carbon emissions when oil is transported by pipeline--the same cannot be said for truck, barge or rail. Modern pipelines are built in a way that if there is any breech or spill along the line, operators are able to detect it and have the ability to stop the flow immediately. And final economically, it is cheaper to transport by pipeline rather than rail, with some estimates putting it at $5 to $10 a barrel less. And job gains from contruction and operation of the pipeline could number in the ten of thousands. So you see, there are many valid reasons to approve this pipeline, from an environmental standpoint and from an economic one too . They only question to ask is, what is taking so long?

Anthony Grisanti President- GRZ Energy

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Quick facts

The US now produces 66% of its energy needs.
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In 2013, crude oil spilled by rail accidents in the US totaled 1.5 million gallons.
Congressional Research Service