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TransCanada CEO: Keystone XL Not Connected to Tar Sands Development

GPTSP points out a fun little rhetorical knot from TransCanada CEO Russ Girling, who argues that the debate over his company's proposed Keystone XL pipeline should have no connection with the debate over the tar sands it will carry:

"I don't believe that there's a causal link between the two. The Canadian oilsands is the second-largest oil reserve in the world. It's available to the world to develop. It will be developed responsibly, in my view, irrespective of whether we build a pipeline or not," [CEO Girling] said.

"That oil will go someplace, so I think this push to connect somehow the development of the Keystone pipeline to the development in the oilsands is not valid."

"Denying our pipeline permit isn't going to deny the development of the Canadian oilsands" [Lauren Krugel, "TransCanada CEO says oilsands shouldn't weigh on Keystone XL debate," Canadian Press via Canadian Business, 2010.12.21].

Let me see if I have this right: the Keystone pipeline system exists solely to carry Canadian tar sands from Alberta to American refineries. Canadian tar sands have already leaked at four prairie pumping stations on the Keystone I pipeline and could leak elsewhere if the expansion anomalies are worse than TransCanada thought. But in Girling's mind, citing the potential health and environmental impacts of the tar sands and TransCanada's secret recipe for making such crud flow through pipes is irrelevant to the pipeline debate?

Ms. La Seur draws the appropriate conclusion: the Keystone XL pipeline is apparently unnecessary:

Up to this point, TransCanada has insisted that the Keystone system was necessary for U.S. energy security and to ensure access to "friendly" oil. If we don't really need Keystone XL, and the risks are so real, then it's harder to understand why this pipeline, at this time, along this route, should be built [Carrie La Seur, "TransCanada: What's in Keystone XL Doesn't Matter," Great Plains Tar Sands Pipelines, 2010.12.23].

Girling argues rather like the porn shop owner who would say, "Hey, not letting me build my porn shop next door to your school and church isn't going to stop the development of porn." Sure, other buyers will find other routes to access this dirty product. But that doesn't mean we should acquiesce to putting our neigborhood at risk.

CEO Girling, if Keystone XL really is unnecessary, then don't build it. Show some business sense, deal with China, and leave the U.S. alone.

Bonus Green Note: Gasoline consumption in the United States has dropped 8% since the historic peak in 2006. Experts see a steady long-term decline, with American gasoline consumption perhaps dropping 20% by 2030, thanks to higher fuel economy standards, higher prices, electric cars, and increased ethanol mandates.