Hillary Clinton has been deliberately cautious in her public evaluations of the pros and cons of the Keystone XL pipeline, but eco-radicals groups are evidently losing patience with the presumptive Democratic frontrunner’s wishy-washiness on the matter. Via The Hill:
A coalition of 30 green groups will send a letter to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday, pressing her to publicly oppose the Keystone XL oil pipeline. …
The Center for Biological Diversity is one of the 30 conservation groups that signed on to the letter, which will officially be sent to Clinton on Wednesday.
“Secretary Clinton, will you stand with us against Keystone XL?” the groups ask.
“Given your longstanding advocacy for the environment and the importance of battling the climate crisis, your involvement would lend an important voice to the struggle against this dangerous pipeline and in favor of energy sources that don’t threaten future generations of Americans,” the letter states. …
The CEO of CREDO Mobile adds that if Clinton does not stand against Keystone XL, then “environmental voters will know that she cannot be counted on in the fight against global warming.”
One hopes that President Obama will have manned up and made a decision either way before the 2016 election rolls around, but even if he doesn’t, the issue may be pretty moot by that point anyway as oil and gas producers increasingly use alternative shipping methods (i.e., railroads) and Canada starts making other plans. As ever, if green groups have been hoping to score anything more than a PR victory for environmentalism on Keystone XL, then they have got their priorities seriously mixed up, because Canada’s oil sands are going to get developed one way or another. All that these eco-radicals have really counterproductively accomplished is ensuring a railroad renaissance, a much more dangerous threat to ecosystems and communities than terrestrial pipelines:
President Obama’s own State Department answered the comparison question plainly in February. According to the report, pipelines larger than 12 inches in diameter in 2013 spilled more than 910,000 gallons of crude oil and petroleum products—compared with 1.15 million gallons for tank cars, the worst in decades. Comparing total oil spilled makes it appear, at first glance, that pipeline and rail safety records are similar. That’s only until you factor in that pipelines carry nearly 25 times more crude oil and petroleum products.
The State Department report estimates that the Keystone XL carrying 830,000 barrels a day would likely result in 0.46 accidents annually, spilling 518 barrels a year. Under the most optimistic rail-transport scenario for a similar amount of oil, 383 annual spills would occur, spilling 1,335 barrels a year.
The report is even harsher on railroads when it comes to human injuries and fatalities. It estimates that tank cars will generate “an estimated 49 additional injuries and six additional fatalities” every year, compared with one additional injury and no fatalities annually for the pipeline.