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A Common-Sense Alternative to the XL Pipeline

November 11, 2011

There has been a lot of resistance from Americans against the $13-billion, 2,100-mile-long Keystone XL Pipeline – proposed by TransCanada and encouraged by the U.S. State Department. This is yet another example of big oil getting their way with total disregard for the safety of the environment and the inhabitants of the land. There are many good reasons for the resistance to such a project.

The purpose of this pipeline is to distribute heavy crude oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada to the refineries in southeastern Texas. First of all, the method of extracting this oil from the ground is an environmental assault. It is the dirtiest of all oil. It destroys the land and fouls the air. Second, the proposed pipeline will cross six U.S. states including a huge underground aquifer that provides drinking water to eight states. One accidental spill near this aquifer could wreak havoc on tens of millions of people.

I want to propose a common-sense solution to all this. Why not build a new refinery in northern Montana… near the source of the oil? We need more refinery capacity anyway. It probably wouldn’t cost any more to build a refinery than it would to build this pipeline.

It has been proposed that there is more oil in the Dakotas than in Saudi Arabia. If this is true, a refinery in Montana would be conveniently located to handle that oil as well. The only downside I see with this solution is that this new refinery would be land-locked. Distribution of the finished petroleum products would have to be made over land. That’s okay, though. It would be an incentive to keep the petrol in the U.S. and it would provide a lot of jobs for tanker truckers. This week, the decision to approve the pipeline has been put off for a year. This breather would be a good chance for the decision-makers to consider my proposal.

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