Greenpiece: Keystone XL Pipeline proves problematic

In Columns, Green Piece, Opinion

groves_standardNot more than a month ago, I was watching a CBS News report I thought was truly fascinating.

The report offered visual evidence that served as yet another indication that the full-speed ahead attitude that some groups of individuals have taken toward the Keystone XL pipeline, is ill-advised.

The report showed TransCanada, the company behind the large structure, had dug a large portion of the pipeline out of the ground to re-inspect it, heightening concerns that perhaps the company had not taken the necessary steps to ensure its safety when they were first building it.

The news on CBS came out around the same time as a report from Public Citizen that pointed out many red flags.

The report showed there were construction problems and also apparent code violations, effectively raising questions of whether or not the federal government has been keeping tabs on TransCanada and their work.

I’ve argued that the pipeline would actually create less jobs than the numbers presented by TransCanada and the U.S. State Department, and that there were still a lot of factors worth considering before approving the project in its entirety.

But the most important thing worth considering—and the one that I’d like to address in this column—is the question of just how safe this pipeline actually is if in the very beginning of its construction, there are already visible problems.

A similar structure, the Pegasus Pipeline, spilled approximately 5,000 barrels of crude oil all over Mayflower, Ark.

Months later, when the same pipeline burst in Missouri, people in Mayflower were still dealing with the damage and trying to clean things up.

Shouldn’t it stand to reason then that if the ExxonMobil-owned pipeline has had so much difficulty and created so many problems for the people who lived around it, that we might want to be a little more careful when putting together this pipeline?

In a speech on building the private sector at the Developing Unconventionals energy conference, former President George W. Bush spoke of the importance of implementing the pipeline.

“So what should a concerned administration do?” he said. “If private sector growth is the goal and Keystone pipeline creates 20,000 new private sector jobs, build the damned thing.”

Never mind the fact that most of those 20,000 jobs are temporary.

What I find interesting is that Bush’s comments came no more than a week later than the CBS and Public Citizen reports.

Bear in mind that I’m not taking an anti-conservative stance and I’m not criticizing President Bush for his belief that Keystone XL will do the country good because in the end, I don’t know more than the next guy how these developments will shake out.

However, I do think that before our government proceeds with the completion of this project, there needs to be some serious analysis of the job TransCanada is doing, and the government needs to be prepared to take a more active supervision of the project if they need to.

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