3 things you might not know about the Keystone XL pipeline

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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President Obama will soon make a decision about the Keystone XL, a pipeline that would transport crude oil from Canada to the Gulf. Journalist Ryan Lizza was recently on NPR’s Fresh Air to discuss a recent New Yorker piece he penned about the decision.

Here are three things he brings up that you might not know about the project (excerpted from the interview):

1. Not building the pipeline might actually cause more environmental damage than building it.

“The central finding in the draft environmental impact statement,” Lizza says, “was, if you don’t build Keystone, the Canadians will sell this stuff anyway, they’ll build pipelines to their east coast, to their west coast, and they’ll send it to the Gulf of Mexico via rail — and by the way, sending oil by rail releases a whole lot more greenhouse gas emissions than putting it in a pipeline. So that became really the most controversial finding of the State Department’s report.”

2. Canadians are stunned to be lectured by the U.S. about the environment

“Canada is defining itself as an energy super power,” Lizza notes. But at the same time, “there’s also a sense [among Canadians] that, we can’t believe we — Canada — are being lectured about the environment by the United States of America. In Alberta, they have a carbon tax.”

3. Keystone XL Pipeline probably wouldn’t create many jobs.

“Long term, permanent jobs, are — I think the State Department would say — would be a few dozen. You know, it doesn’t take that many people to keep the pipeline up and running, once it’s built,” Lizza avers.

Matt K. Lewis