Being Green, Just Because

Obama vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline yesterday. Shocking, I know.

The veto is disappointing. It is so emblematic of the laziness of today’s environmentalism. In case you are unaware, the enviro’s position is succinctly summed up as such:

Fossil Fuels = Bad

Then again, “bad” doesn’t really do their sentiments justice. “Evil,” “catastrophic,” or something in caps lock with ten exclamation points is probably more accurate. Natural gas is guilty of this, too, because progress is wholesale elimination; none of this incremental nonsense.

Vetoing Keystone is lazy because it so effortlessly shrugs off the reality of the situation. How much sleep do you think Canadian oil companies will lose over this rejection? Is anyone aware that these companies are going to drill in the Alberta tar sands and export it regardless of the veto? Come to think of it, the State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) concluded that carbon pollution won’t be significantly affected if no pipeline is built precisely because it concedes that the oil is going to flow either way.

Armed with these embarrassingly self-evident truths, has anyone thought of the consequences that come with vetoing the pipeline? The TransCanada Corporation has already applied to build an even larger (and thus potentially riskier) “Energy East” pipeline to ferry the oil. The other options to transport the crude include rail and road options. It is without question that the relative risk of shipping via pipeline is much less than using other transport modalities.

This feel-good “You shall not pass!” is nothing more than just that. People are going to build more pipeline and use riskier transport methods than they otherwise would have to ship the same amount of oil. The environment will be worse off, but at least the environmentalists can feel good about something.


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