Sen. Heitkamp: The Keystone pipeline is like the "Kim Kardashian of energy"


Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) on Wednesday compared the hyperactive lobbying and political battle over the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline to tabloid press coverage of socialite and reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

“It’s the Kim Kardashian of energy,” Heitkamp said at a Washington, D.C., tax policy conference held by law firm BakerHostetler. “I don’t know why we care.”

Heitkamp is a fan of the pipeline — though clearly not of Kardashian.

Keystone would bring oil sands from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast. It also would jar loose a bottleneck of shale oil shipments from the Bakken formation in her state.

But, really. The eco-radicals have managed to turn an otherwise unremarkable pipeline proposal into the cause célèbre of denizens of self-fancied environmentalist crusaders when, in the grand scheme of U.S. energy policy, there are so many bigger, less commonplace fish that they could be attempting to fry. The Keystone pipeline proposal is coming from a company from a friendly U.S. ally; said company all too happy to comply with the strictest safety standards; it would transport materials that almost everyone in the U.S. uses everyday; and we as a country are well past due for some serious upgrades to our energy infrastructure. It really shouldn’t be a problem, except that killing it would provide a very visible and symbolic victory for the hardcore eco-crowd — which is a shame, because pipelines are actually one of the more efficient, safe, and environmentally sound methods of transport for the constantly growing oil-and-gas industry. From Diana Furchtgott-Roth at NRO:

Pipelines have been used to transport natural gas and oil, including from Canada to the United States, for three-quarters of a century. Almost 500,000 miles of interstate pipelines crisscross America, carrying crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas, and over 2 million miles of natural-gas distribution pipeline send natural gas to businesses and consumers. …

U.S. oil and natural-gas production is outpacing the transportation capacity of our inadequate national pipeline infrastructure. The Keystone XL pipeline is only one of many pipelines that will need to be constructed in the years ahead. …

If personal injuries and environmental damage caused by accidents in the transportation of oil and natural gas were proportionate to the volume of shipments, one would expect the vast majority of incidents to occur on pipelines. But the opposite is true — the majority of incidents occur on road and rail, as shown by Transportation Department data, even though more road and rail incidents go unreported.

And why is it, exactly, that the Obama administration is aggressively pushing the bounds of credulity by once again preposterously claiming they need still more time to really, truly make an informed decision about a pipeline that is wildly unpopular among wealthy progressives but relatively innocuous and run-of-the-mill in and of itself? I suspect that the president’s busy schedule might have a little something to do with it:

10:00 am The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews…
11:25 am The President arrives Boston, Massachusetts
1:45 pm The President delivers remarks at an event for Ed Markey for Senate and the Massachusetts Democratic Party
5:40 pm The President arrives Miami, Florida, Miami-Dade International Airport…
7:05 pm The President delivers remarks at a DNC event, Florida, Miami Beach, Private Residence…
8:55 pm The President delivers remarks at a DNC event, Florida, Miami Beach, Private Residence