Sunday, 2 October 2011

Obama's $7bn environmental headache

President Obama is stuck in a moral tar pit. Any day form now he has to decide the future of the £7bn oil pipeline - the Keystone XL - that, if approved, will run from Alberta in Canada to oil refineries in Texas. The 1,700m pipeline is to be built by oil giant TransCanada (

The positives are:
 - 700,00 barrels of tar sands oil pumped into the US everyday, increasing energy security and decreasing dependence.
 - Supporters argue that Obama would be crazy to miss this chance to reduce the US's energy dependency on a global oil market threatened by wars and revolutions.
 - The pipeline would also boost employment, generating 2,000 jobs and constructing could add a further 118,000.

The negatives are:
 - The environmental impact; the tar sand process uses far more energy than normal oil production.
 - TransCanada has a dismal safety record and if built the pipeline would run across 1,500 US rivers and the nation's largest aquifer

What are your thoughts? Should he or shouldn't he?

Further reading: