Both sides make strong arguments, but after more than four years of exhaustive study, the right answer on Keystone remains: Build it.
At a time of rising global competition for energy resources, the pipeline would bring reliable new oil supplies to a U.S. that still imports 40% of its crude, 7.6 million barrels a day last year. And 40% of those imports come from OPEC nations such as Venezuela, Iraq and Nigeria. Keystone is expected to supply 830,000 million barrels a day, a key step toward the long-sought goal of North American energy independence, which suddenly seems attainable.
Much of the opposition to Keystone has come from critics who say running a big pipeline through the heart of the USA is too risky. Haven’t they noticed that tens of thousands of miles of oil pipelines already crisscross the United States? As long as the nation’s quarter-billion vehicles rely almost exclusively on gasoline and diesel, pipelines are the safest and most efficient way to move it.
Obama delayed a final decision on Keystone last year, in part to allow a rerouting around environmentally sensitive areas in Nebraska. That has been accomplished, and Nebraska’s governor signed off on the new map last month.