There has been a lot of talk since the election about President
Barack Obama approving the Keystone XL pipeline, and one expert
sees reason to believe that the rumors are true.
Nick Loris, an economist
focusing on energy, environmental and regulatory issues for The Heritage
Foundation, thinks the Keystone XL pipeline will be pushed
through to the forefront "for the reason that President Obama said
he was going to make this decision soon after the election and in
the beginning of 2013, and it's obviously already been sufficient
time in which the Department of State completed its environmental
review and came to the conclusion that the pipeline would pose no
significant environmental risk."
The decision would ultimately involve the northern leg of the
pipeline, which crosses the Canadian/United States border, thus
requiring a presidential permit.
"The part of the pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma, down to the
Gulf Coast -- since that's all within the United States,
construction has already taken place," the economist explains.
A recent editorial in the Canadian The Globe and Mail calls on President
Obama to approve the pipeline, admitting that some of the concerns
about a pipeline carrying Canadian bitumen are "valid."
"Well, the environmental concern really is that, one … it runs
over the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska. But if you look at the state
of Nebraska, it looks like a spider web of oil and gas pipelines,"
Loris notes. "The other concern from environmental activist
organizations is that Canadian tar sands oil is more greenhouse gas
intense than other oil we produce and we import."
The energy economist explains that that is an insignificant
portion of emissions compared to global emissions -- not to mention
that even if Obama does not agree to build this pipeline, the
oil will go somewhere else, namely China, where it will be
refined in less regulated refineries.