Fighting for the Canadian Pipeline.

The June 20 editorial in the Chicago Tribune was written in the finest Col. Robert McCormick tradition. The famous 20th Century Chicago publisher had his biases and did not like to have facts challenge his opinions. The only part of the editorial that might have raised the Colonel’s eyebrows would have been the opening that referred to ‘friendly, reliable Canada.’ Times have changed.

The focus of this editorial is President Obama blocking TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline to Texas for Canada’s tar sands crude oil. The article accuses Obama of blocking the pipeline as a sop to his eco-green political base.

The Tribune editorial writer seems convinced that the Keystone pipeline will go “a long way toward solving the problem of what to do with all that potentially lucrative and useful oil piling up in the northern reaches of North America. ” The writer says: “The U.S. could use it, that’s for sure.”

What the writer fails to understand is that the secret of being a good writer is being a good researcher. The writer forgot that. A little research would have added the reason that the pipeline wants to go to the Texas refineries is that they are on the Gulf coast of Texas and there are oil carriers that dock there that can take the Canadian product around the world. Why else is the ‘friendly’ Canadian Government trying so hard to get pipelines to the east and west coasts of Canada but to get to even more shipping points?

If the writer extended the research parameters, he or she might have better understood why the ecologically conscious among us are freaking out about concerns for the Ogallala aquifer. This source of clean water for most of the cattle and grain production area of the American Midwest could be devastated by a serious spill of tar sands crude. This is not Texas Sweet Crude. It is called tar sands crude for good reason. Any chemist should be able to tell the writer the difference. It has to be pumped at higher temperatures and at higher pressure. It needs a much bigger and stronger pipe. When it spills, it does not sit on top of your local water supply. It sinks, it permeates the soil, and it is going to be there for a thousand years. There is no effective clean-up possible.

The only way Alberta tar sands oil should be shipped anywhere is after sufficient refining that it will act like normal oil if spilled. The refining has to be sufficient to allow for mopping up the mess.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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