|An illustration from the EIS that looks like it belongs in a children's book shows the process for ripping up the miles of prairie and badlands to lay the Keystone XL pipeline.|
What is encouraging is that the President has plainly accepted that the climate crisis is a threat. What is troubling is that he continues to adhere to an "all of the above" energy policy that does not seem to differentiate among energy sources based on sustainability. The Department of Interior has opened more public lands to natural gas and coal extraction, and even the administration's solar policy has permitted some of the most poorly sited and destructive renewable energy projects imaginable, such as BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah solar project. If we truly believe that we face a climate crisis, and that our wildlands are under unprecedented threat, our policies should prioritize energy efficiency and sustainable renewable energy. Our transportation investments should favor mass transit, pedestrian and bike friendly cities, and fuel efficient vehicles. We should not be green lighting the construction of multi-billion dollar oil pipelines.
The President must consider whether his administration should approve further entrenchment in a paradigm that he has already admitted we must abandon, or to affirm his pledge to innovate and switch to a more sustainable path. Whether or not Keystone XL is found to contribute to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the irrefutable fact is that the pipeline is a step in the wrong direction. An investment of time, money and sweat in an industry that should be rendered obsolete by investments in a smarter path.