Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Proponents of Keystone XL Say Opposition Isn't Really About Environment

From Fuel Fix:
Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline used to have a simple argument: the project would endanger Nebraska’s delicate Sand Hills region, a vast network of dunes and wetlands that have been designated a National Natural Landmark.
State leaders, including Republican Governor David Heineman, opposed the project on those grounds. President Barack Obama cited the threat to water in the state before denying TransCanada Corp. (TRP) a permit last year to build the pipeline, which would carry Canadian tar sands oil to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Then TransCanada offered a new route that largely avoids the Sand Hills and won the support of Heineman. While oil spills remain a concern, environmental groups opposed to the pipeline have shifted their emphasis to the more complex charge that mining Canadian tar sands will result in more greenhouse gases and exacerbate global warming.
“The initial opposition was framed heavily in terms of its impact on water and the risks to the aquifer,” Phil Sharp, a former Democratic House member from Indiana and president of Resources for the Future, a Washington-based research group, said in an interview. “They kind of downplayed the greenhouse gas issue. Now I think they’re coming up short in the public argument because there either isn’t the public foundation on this issue or the same intensity of interest.”
Read the rest of the article here.

Those who support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline point to examples like this as environmentalists "moving the goalposts" when their arguments get shot down by science or improvements in technology and planning because of the fact that their opposition isn't based on any legitimate concern, but instead is motivated simply by a dislike of fossil fuels, or of big oil, or because they just aren't happy if they aren't protesting something.  

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