ADVERTISEMENT

Consider consequences of Keystone XL pipeline

Recently, an article appeared in the business section of The News drawing attention to the economic opportunity within the oil extraction industry for a group of Western New York industrial equipment firms. These firms supply Canadian oil producers with equipment that would serve the Keystone XL pipeline project. The article focused on the economic benefits to a small group of specialized business, presumably at the behest of the Canadian government, while barely mentioning the potential catastrophic consequences.

While I understand the need of business to maximize profits, the article presents a myopic, one-dimensional approach to a complex, international issue. The pipeline proposal is not a one-dimensional issue and cannot be considered thoroughly without carefully weighing the consequences. We need to hold onto principle as tightly as we hold onto money.

The final supplemental EIS, which was recently released by the U.S. State Department, comprises 11 volumes, yet appears to be anything but objective, reflecting a project mired in politics, engulfed in controversy, beset with increasing costs, awash in risk and having the potential to become an albatross around the necks of its owners.

In my opinion, the pipeline should be viewed as a defining moment when the American public decided it can and will affirm a course toward clean energy market development. Alternative energy sources pose a risk, not to the environment but to the oil industry, which is why this industry wants the Keystone pipeline. Thus, the project symbolizes oil dominance for decades to come. The longer we wait, the longer we endure extreme weather, higher prices and environmental disasters, not by years but by generations.

Michael D. Williams

Buffalo