No, I haven’t suddenly started to wander around in leather sandals and a hemp shirt (at least, not yet). But based on a recent news report, I’m fairly certain that I’m more concerned about the welfare of the environment than the folks we usually see purported to be ‘saving the planet’.
Here, I’ll prove it.
A few days ago near the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic, a runaway train exploded. The train was loaded with crude oil from North Dakota, and the gigantic explosion is estimated to have killed at least 50 people.
But a larger point was missing from most of the headlines on this tragedy, namely: why was the oil being transported by train in the first place?
ANSWER: Because there aren’t enough pipelines to transport the crude oil.
Pipelines, such as the proposed Keystone XL, are by far the most efficient and safest ways of transporting oil. Actually, the numbers aren’t even close. Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal ‘Washington Wire’ blog:
Weighing in on this brewing debate of pipeline versus rail safety, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research said in June that pipelines are generally safer than rail for oil transportation.
Between 2005 and 2009, rail shipments were more than three times as likely as pipeline shipments to lead to a spill or fire, after taking into account the volume of oil being shipped, according to the Manhattan Institute. Road shipments were more than 30 times as likely to lead to a spill.
Pipeline shipments also result in fewer injuries, according to the institute.
Now, a thinking person would allow for the reality that our world is powered by energy derived primarily from oil, gas, and coal. Those three natural sources of energy have propelled our economy and standard of living to the best on the planet. Also, since all efforts to replace those sources with “green” energy (e.g. wind/solar) have thus far been magnificent failures, it could logically be argued that we should presently do everything we can to transport our current energy as safely as possible. Until an alternate, even cleaner form of energy is feasible in the free market, this would seem to be the most sensible approach.
Which makes it so incongruous that Environmentally Aware Leftists are doing all in their power to prevent that from happening.
Enter the Keystone XL Pipeline. Under consideration since 2008, the proposed 875-mile pipeline has already passed two different State Department studies and would instantly make much of the current rail-and-road transporting of oil unnecessary.
Yet President Obama has been dragging his feet on approving the pipeline for what seems forever. And in June, he told an audience at Georgetown University that:
“…the net effects of the (Keystone XL) pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward.”
Hold on there, Bunky: that’s already been determined. Twice, in fact. In its last report from March, the State Department said that the pipeline “would not accelerate global greenhouse gas emissions or significantly harm the natural habitats along its route”. That being the case, wouldn’t it make just oodles of sense to simply approve the Keystone XL now, so that we could use the safer, superior transport method as often (and as quickly) as possible?
Not to the Left, it doesn’t.
There is a growing realization that their motivation arises from an almost religious zeal to rid the world of the use of fossil fuels. Bret Stephens of the WSJ summed up the paradox neatly:
“…Why do environmentalists routinely frame political choices in the language of moral absolutes—save/destroy the planet; “don’t be mean, go green,” and so on—rather than as complex questions involving trade-offs that are best dealt with pragmatically?
When it comes to the question of how best to transport oil, environmentalists tend to act like rabbis being asked for advice on how best to roast a pig: The thing should not be done in the first place. So opposition to Keystone XL becomes an assertion of virtue, indifferent to such lesser considerations as efficiency (or succulence).
But the pig will be roasted. The oil will be pumped. What happens then?”
What happens then is of no consequence to the Left: they seek only to enforce their secular doctrine, consequences be damned.
Case in point: instead of being transported via a huge, comparatively safe pipeline, all that oil (which will be brought to market, regardless) will continue to be loaded onto trains, trucks and ships: all methods which carry a significantly higher risk of environmental danger.
Whereas if we could just get President Planet & his pals out-of-the-way, our environment would be much better off.
There you have it: I want a cleaner, safer environment, and the Left obviously doesn’t, their constant chest-thumping notwithstanding. ALL of which qualifies lil’ ol’ me as a gen-u-ine Environmentalist!!
So, …how does one go about procuring a “hemp shirt”, anyway?