Self-titled “environmentalists'” recalcitrance on acknowledging the reality that Canada’s oil sands are coming out of the ground — regardless of whether or not the Keystone pipeline’s northern extension is built — truly knows no bounds. It’s only too bad they don’t seem to realize that terrestrial pipelines are the relatively cleaner, safer, and more environmentally friendly method of transport for oil, natural gas, and petroleum products, and that by blocking the pipeline, they’re probably doing more environmental harm than good in the long run. A recent example, via Bloomberg:

Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR) cars are still burning and residents remain evacuated today after an derailment Oct. 19 west of Alberta’s capital Edmonton. …

The derailment of 13 CN cars, nine of which contain propane and four carrying crude, comes as regulators boost scrutiny of oil transport by rail in Canada and the U.S. The industry is drawing heightened attention after a train carrying oil jumped the tracks and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in July, killing 47. …

Railroads are facing new rules that may raise costs as energy companies move more oil on trains amid delays in building new pipelines such as TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL from Alberta’s oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Across the continent, trains are forecast to move as much as 2 million barrels a day by the end of 2014, according to Calgary-based pipeline operator TransCanada Corp. (TRP

But let the fact that, in the lieu of more extensive pipeline infrastructure, the booming shale revolution is turning to other means to ship their products not deter the most determined of greenies. Millionaire Al Gore, billionaire Tom Steyer, and other such notably wealthy, esteemed, and self-styled environmentalists met at progressive conference today to once again decry the horrendous effects of economic growth on our planet’s climate, and the Keystone XL pipeline was a quite a big topic of conversation:

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline is “ridiculous” and “an atrocity,” said former Vice President Al Gore on Thursday.

Speaking at an event honoring the 10th anniversary of the progressive think tank Center for American Progress, Gore praised President Barack Obama’s efforts on climate change, stating that he thinks the president is sincere and that it will be a legacy issue for him. But on Keystone XL, which is waiting to hear its fate from the Obama administration, Gore was unequivocal.

“I hope as he gets down to the licklog, as he gets down to the decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, that he understands what this means,” Gore said. “This should be vetoed. It’s an atrocity, it’s a threat.” …

“Junkies find veins in their toes when their arms and legs go out,” Gore said. “We are now at a point where we are going after dangerous and dirty fuels.”

I.e, his usual anti-Keystone stump speech. In the most woeful event that President Obama (eventually) approves the pipeline, the eco-radicals are threatening to cause a ruckus that they hope will be large enough to deter such an eventuality, via Bloomberg:

Critics of the Keystone XL pipeline say they’re still optimistic President Barack Obama will block TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s planned $5.3 billion link between the oil sands in Alberta and refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Just to be sure, they’re organizing a nationwide civil-disobedience campaign to keep up the pressure should the U.S. State Department recommend Obama approve the project.

Rainforest Action Network, Credo Action and the Other 98% have convinced about 76,000 volunteers to sign a “pledge to resistance.” In doing so, Keystone opponents are joining anti-nuclear activists and others who have used sit-ins and other forms of non-violent protest over the years to bring publicity to a cause.

“We believe that whether or not this pipeline is built is in President Obama’s hands and his alone,” Elijah Zarlin, senior campaign manager for advocacy group Credo Action, said. “We will engage in peaceful and dignified sit-ins if necessary to urge him to reject Keystone XL.”

The silliest part about it all? This really is the type of stuff that’s currently standing in the way of the Keystone pipeline.