The most common mistake that politicians and the media make when discussing the Keystone XL pipeline is to frame it as an “environment vs. economy” issue. When presented this way, it appears to be a niche issue that will only resonate with the liberal base. The key to effectively informing people, and arguing the case against the pipeline, is to point out that the claims of benefits are lies.
While the environmental impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline would be numerous and extreme, it is too easy for people to dismiss the consequences when they perceive the benefits to be more jobs, less dependence on foreign oil, and cheaper gas at the pump.
There aren't any actual benefits to the pipeline – only perceived benefits. It is within this context that the environmental impacts are even worse, since we will be destroying our planet for no real reason.
All Republican Senators (including “moderate” Scott Brown) voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, claiming that it would create jobs, decrease our dependency on Middle Eastern oil, and decrease oil prices.
But the problem is that those perceived benefits are a complete fabrication, whereas the consequences are very real. They are cynically trying to manipulate us in order to help the oil industry make more money.
Here are the facts: among the studies conducted to estimate jobs created, there were only two not affiliated with TransCanada. Both agreed that there would only be a small number of jobs created, a lot of which would be temporary – certainly not enough to base a jobs plan on. Further, Cornell University pointed out that the long-term effects would actually be job losses. This is not the solution to our jobs crisis; it would make it worse. Strike 1.
Even Canada’s Natural Resources Minister admitted that the purpose of the pipeline is to “diversify” their clientele beyond the United States. The crude would bypass refineries in Oklahoma, and go directly to Texas for export. Since the oil wouldn’t be used in the US, that won’t affect our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Strike 2.
In their own report, TransCanada admitted that the pipeline would enable them to discontinue the $5 billion in discounts they've been giving us to use their dirty crude. This would increase price at the pump by 20 cents per gallon. Further, when the Canadian oil can be sold on the global market, it will end up costing us an addition $3.9 billion a year – more increases at the pump. Strike 3.
By peddling these three lies to advocate for a project that would cause so much devastation, Republicans have shown that they simply cannot be trusted to represent the best interests of not just the United States, but even humanity as a whole.
If the pipeline were to be built, it would encourage further exploitation of the Canadian Tar Sands. NASA’s top climatologist, Jim Hansen, pointed out that if we “tap this stuff heavily, it’s game over for the climate.” And this comes at a time when we can already see and feel the effects of Global Warming through continually more-frequent and more-devastating storms, such as Hurricane Sandy.
We cannot drill our way to affordable energy. Far more jobs would be created, and energy sources stabilized, by investing in clean, renewable. Republicans are against ending tax subsidies for big oil – Republicans think we need to pay them billions of dollars from our taxes or else they won’t want to continue making more money than any industry to ever exist on Earth. To actually achieve all of the things falsely promised would come with the Keystone XL pipeline, we need to invest in clean energy – not resort to lies and distortions.