Keystone XL Pipeline Won’t Help U.S. Consumers

The Keystone XL pipeline is one project that just won’t go away.  After all the information about the negative impact to the environment from the extraction of tar sands oil, the threats to the environment in the middle section of the United States, and the lack of benefit to U.S. consumers, why would such a project still be a possibility?  Well, the entities that stand to benefit from such a pipeline have a lot of money and power at their command.  They won’t give up on this pipeline.

I get frustrated every time I see one particular television commercial, which you have probably seen.  It’s a commercial where a well-dressed woman is walking around a white background, talking about the way to lower energy costs for consumers and to generate a million new jobs.  This lady’s answer?  Develop tar sands oil and drill more, on-shore and off-shore.  Half of the 1 million new jobs are apparently tied to the Keystone XL pipeline, as described on the American Petroleum Institute’s web site.(1)  The API, by the way, is the organization running this misleading commercial.

A question occurred to me sometime ago about this pipeline.  The oil industry wants us to believe that, by allowing this pipeline, we would have more gasoline available to us here in the U.S., which supposedly means the price of gasoline would go down.  There are some factors here that just don’t add up.  This pipeline is estimated to cost TransCanada and ConocoPhillips in the neighborhood of US$5.2 billion.(2)  Why build such an expensive pipeline if your intention is to provide more fuel to consumers in the U.S.?  Wouldn’t it cost less to build a refinery near the source and then supply that product to the U.S.?  I guess that wouldn’t work for the oil companies because they get a better price for a gallon of gasoline when there is a limited supply of gasoline available.  I doubt they want any more refineries online.

There is a reason why this pipeline must go all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.  The oil companies want to be able to sell this oil on the open market, which means a good portion of the oil would be competing with Middle East oil.  It would be shipped off from ports in the Gulf of Mexico the same way oil is shipped from production areas in the Middle East.  The oil companies stand to make huge profits from this pipeline.  And we would see no change in gasoline prices in the U.S. because of it.

Congress recently tried to force President Obama to approve the Keystone XL project.  They were not successful, this time.  In this attempt to approve the pipeline, all but one of the members of Congress involved were Republicans.  All of them received money from the oil industry.(3)  These congressional members were not acting to benefit U.S. citizens.  They were acting to benefit themselves.

Today, I read an article that said TransCanada is planning to build a pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas.  Since such a pipeline would not cross a national border, they would not need government approval to build it.  This pipeline section is expected to cost US$2.3 billion.  It looks to me as though TransCanada is just going to build the southern portion of Keystone XL and wait to wear the government down on the northern portion.

Next time you see that commercial on television, remember what API is lobbying for, their bank accounts.

1. American Petroleum Institute
2. Wikipedia
3. Think Progress

One thought on “Keystone XL Pipeline Won’t Help U.S. Consumers

  1. Pingback: President Obama, which way is the political wind blowing today? « TahitiChris

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