Rejecting Keystone Means Less Tar Sands Extraction, Less Carbon Pollution
The U.S. State Department has stated multiple times that tar sands oil will find a way to reach global markets even without the Keystone XL Pipeline. That argument was based on the State Department's assumption that other options for transporting the heavy tar sands, including rail, will take the place of the pipeline if Keystone were rejected. They assumed that the increased cost of rail transport would not impact the rate of tar sands extraction. This has been the argument that environmentalists have continuously faced throughout the fight against Keystone. But that argument is no longer valid thanks to Goldman Sachs!
On June 2nd, Goldman Sachs published a research report, titled "Getting Oil Out of Canada: Heavy Oil Diffs Expected to Stay Wide and Volatile," stating that without Keystone XL, tar sands expansion, and therefore the carbon pollution that comes with it, would be dramatically reduced.
The report goes on to detail why rail is not a feasible alternative to pipelines for transporting tar sands. They define the specific aspects of rail transport that make it significantly more costly than the State Department assumed, including: the high cost of specially-made rail cars, increased time needed to unload heavy crude oil, and a diminished ability to transport the same number of barrels at one time.
Without the Keystone XL pipeline, many tar sands developments would be put on hold, along with the significant harm they would cause to our environment and climate.
Last week, the new provincial government of British Columbia rejected the Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline proposal, even further limiting Canada's options for tar sands export routes. This further exposes the Canadian tar sands industry's dependence on Keystone XL.
So for everyone fighting the Keystone XL pipeline today, know that our case against Keystone is building every day! Goldman Sachs stated that the longer the pipeline is delayed, the less likely it is that oil will be extracted from Canadian tar sands. So let's once more rally around the rejection of Keystone XL, and call upon President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to protect our climate and reject the pipeline once and for all!
-- Bo Ra Kim, Sierra Student Coalition ExComm Member