Letter: Keystone study flawed | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Keystone study flawed

Barb Coddington
Glenwood Springs

The expert report supplied to the State Department resulting in the conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline would not contribute to greater greenhouse gases emissions had two problems.

The first is that the second in command for Environmental Resource Management, a man named Andrew Bukowski, was the main individual responsible for the State Department study. ERM, despite its benign and scientific sounding name, is an international consulting firm, most often hired by resource extractors, these extractors interested in using environmental research to their advantage; the” research” will often work backward from a desired conclusion. ERM has been employed by Trancanada for three previous pipeline projects.

The second problem is with the logic used to arrive at the conclusion that the pipeline will not lead to greater greenhouse emissions. The conclusion put forth is, that because the oil sand will be produced anyway, with or without the pipeline, there is no addition. Since when is unburned CO2 calculated into the atmosphere as it lies in the ground? The presumption is part of a business plan, a prospectus. Business projections are just that; they do not create a reality. Without the cheaper transport that the pipeline promises the sludge may be too expensive to get to refineries and market. With the current glut of cheaply produced oil, this is the case.

It has been suggested that this is the “race to the end.” Arab countries will continue to dump their more cheaply produced light crude on the market because they silently acknowledge that, because of the merciless details of climate-change effects, the end of oil is near. They prefer some money for their product rather than cutting back to keep over extended (oil sands) players in the game.

And please notice the State Department report doesn’t even try to address the actual CO2 put in the air by more intensely industrial extraction, energy used to make the sludge transportable, refining byproducts, and shipping; because yes, it will be exported. The president’s made the right call, and let’s hope he can remain true to his promise not to approve the greenhouse-gas-producing pipeline.

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