In an attempt to justify his awful decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama is relying on the public swallowing a couple of myths: 1) the perception that the Ogallala aquifer that Keystone XL would cross is virgin territory which has never seen the likes of a pipeline before, and 2) that the administration doesn’t have enough information to make a decision. If one scratches beneath the surface just a little bit, neither idea holds up to a little scrutiny.
The Ogallala is the massive aquifer that runs from South Dakota to Texas. It’s particularly important to agricultural production in Nebraska and Kansas, so it’s entirely reasonable for people to be concerned about contamination. However, the fact is that we’ve been building and operating thousands of miles of pipelines throughout the Ogallala for decades. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words, so you can see the proof for yourself. Here’s a map showing the Ogallala (the shaded area) and the myriad of pipelines that cross it today.
What this map clearly illustrates is how disingenuous the Obama administration and the environmental fringe have been when expressing their “concerns” about Keystone XL.
We’ve been building pipelines over this and all sorts of other environmentally sensitive areas for a long, long time. We know how to do that safely and responsibility. On those rare occasions when spills or leaks happen, we have the regulatory and technical tools in place to ensure that they are cleaned up quickly and completely. The administration’s hand-wringing over the Ogallala is nothing but a distraction in other words. Just as environmental group’s predictions of disaster surrounding the Alaska pipeline never came true, Obama’s concerns over the Ogallala are merely an excuse to justify opposition to a project that is so clearly in the national interest.
The President’s claim that the State Department needs even more information before it can make a sound decision is equally ridiculous. State didn’t start reviewing the project last month when Congress set a sixty day deadline on making a decision. The review process has been going on for over three years now. The State Department has studied thousands of pages of detailed reports, data, maps and studies, and his issued thousands of pages of its own reports, including a massive eight volume environmental impact statement.
The President wants the public to believe that Congress imposed an arbitrary, impossibly short deadline on it. In fact, what Congress did was force the administration to end the years of dithering and an actual decision for a change. The President had more than enough information to make the right decision, but – sadly and all too predictably – he choose to appease the environmental fringe once more.