And the exercise in futility that was the eco-radicals’ ludicrous mission to kill the Keystone XL pipeline reaches its inevitable, inglorious zenith. Via the AP:

Canada’s government on Tuesday approved a controversial pipeline proposal that would bring oil to the Pacific Coast for shipment to Asia, a major step in the country’s efforts to diversify its oil exports if it can overcome fierce opposition from environmental and aboriginal groups.

Approval for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project was expected as Canada needs infrastructure in place to export its growing oil sands production. The project’s importance has only grown since the U.S. delayed a decision on TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline that would take oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The northern Alberta region has the world’s third largest oil reserves, with 170 billion barrels of proven reserves.

Enbridge’s pipeline would transport 525,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific to deliver oil to Asia, mainly energy-hungry China. About 220 large oil tankers a year would visit the Pacific coast town of Kitimat and opponents fear pipeline leaks and a potential tanker spill on the pristine Pacific coast.

The United States receives the single largest share of its oil imports from Canada, and the proposed Keystone pipeline extension would have carried an average of 830,000 barrels of oil/day from Alberta’s oil sands south to our refineries in the Midwest and the Gulf (along with crude from North Dakota, which just hit production output of 1 million barrels per day, by the way). Without our cooperation, however, Canada started to look into tapping new markets in Asia and building their own infrastructure. The Northern Gateway may still face some court challenges from environmentalist groups and has a lot of safety regulations it needs to meet, but I think it’s safe to say this pipeline is probably happening.

Again, this raises the befuddling question of what these eco-radical groups believe they have achieved in blocking the Keystone XL pipeline — other than publicly tearing down what they themselves had deliberately built into a symbol of everything eeevil about the fossil-fuel industry — because the practical result has been a higher rate of the deadly accidents and environmental disasters that they claim they wanted to prevent. Via Politico:

In the 11 months since a runaway oil train derailed in the middle of a small town in Quebec, incinerating 47 people, the rolling virtual pipelines have unleashed crude oil into an Alabama swamp, forced more than 1,000 North Dakota residents to evacuate, dangled from a bridge in Philadelphia and smashed into an industrial building near Pittsburgh. The latest serious accident was April’s fiery crash in Lynchburg, Virginia, where even the mayor had been unaware oil was rolling through his city. …

This year has already shattered the record for property damage from U.S. oil-train accidents, with a toll exceeding $10 million through mid-May — nearly triple the damage for all of 2013. The number of incidents so far this year — 70 — is also on pace to set a record.

Almost every region of the U.S. has been touched by an oil-train incident. These episodes are spreading as more refineries take crude from production hot spots like North Dakota’s Bakken region and western Canada, while companies from California and Washington state to Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida build or expand terminals for moving oil from trains to barges, trucks or pipelines.

Oil train spills since 2009