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Keystone pipeline project an environmental hazard


Far be it from me to miss the irony of the article “Keystone pipeline clears major hurdle” (Feb. 1) appearing below the obituaries column, which was at the top of the page. Yeah, this could bury the polar bears, but don’t write the rest of us off just yet.

“The State Department reported no major environmental objections to the proposed $7 billion pipeline,” but I can think of 7.1 billion environmental reasons to reject Keystone — every human on the planet is inescapably tied to a well-functioning environment and climate, with everyone inseparable from the life-sustaining air we breathe and the water we drink. Second guessers? Please consider the American Lung Association’s saying, “when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters,” factor in carbon pollution’s contribution to climate change and wish future generations good luck.

In context, the state department’s lack-of-objection report is saying Keystone’s tar sands oil is not significantly worse than other things we are currently doing, but stop right there, please. It’s the things we’re currently doing that have brought us to where we are, which is exactly where we don’t want to be unless, of course, you think it’s getting a little hot in here and want Superstorm Sandy to return and provide a few refreshing breezes. The Jan. 31 report concludes the carbon emissions impact from the pipeline’s operation will be minimal, since Canada’s oil sands are likely to be developed anyway: “Approval or denial of any crude oil transport project, including the proposed project, remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands, or the continued demand for heavy crude oil at refineries in the U.S.” says the report. But this “if you can’t beat them join them” mentality is like acquiescing to buy a teenager cigarettes or alcohol since he’s gonna get them anyway.

Then, a couple days later in the Feb. 4 paper, we read “Attitude Toward Climate Change is Unsustainable,” even if it’s more the actions than the attitude in this actions speak louder than words world in which we live. The problems to our climate are human-caused (Sept. 27: U.N. reports scientists now as certain humans cause climate change as they are that smoking causes cancer), which means it is within our power — and our responsibility to future generations and our non-human animal friends — to fix it. The dangerous and dirty pipeline will decimate vulnerable wildlife and the wilderness they call home.

President Obama will make enemies regardless of his decision, but does he really want to go down as “The Pipeline President” and bring the rest of the vulnerable with him?

Jay Lustgarten

Westerly



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