|Or, we could just use a lot of trains|
But while the Republicans are predictable in their blatant corruption, there has to be some serious questions asked of the liberal environmentalists that are driving the resistance to Keystone. To wit: What are you hoping to accomplish? We know that the oil from the tar sands is dirtier in a toxic sense, dirtier in a pollution sense and dirtier in a carbon emissions sense. But let me ask a single question: If the pipeline is not build, how much Canadian tar sands oil would not be shipped? And the answer, of course, is zero. It would merely be shipped by rail to ports on the east and gulf coasts. One tanker car at a time, on poorly maintained track, every train and every car a potential toxic disaster.
So that's where we find ourselves. It was dumb to invest the Keystone XL Pipeline with the gravitas of the entire political environmental struggle, when a reasonable person might wonder if winning the battle meant losing the war. But now the Democrats find themselves in the minority in the Senate, and in yet another desperate and pointless political move around the Keystone pipeline, they now are letting their Louisiana Senate hopeful Mary Landrieu lead a vote to pass the pipeline. Without condition, without quid pro quo, without any horsetrading at all. In a doomed effort to save one seat in a Senate already lost.
Frankly - and ironically in the worst kind of rain-on-your-wedding-day fashion - the Keystone Pipeline is environmentally favorable when considered against shipping the same volume of tar sands oil by rail. Resistance to the pipeline only made sense to the extent it would limit the amount of oil that went to market - as soon as the answer to that question was 'zero', the pipeline made sense for every concerned party. But years of political leverage had been built up, and to just hand that over without extracting some consideration from the Republicans - food stamps, unemployment extensions, infrastructure investment, SOMETHING - reveals a Democratic party so inept, so unable to manage its caucus and its agenda that one can only wonder how they've won any arguments at all.
Now, there is some indication that President Obama will veto the bill approving construction of the Keystone Pipeline. And that would be precisely the right answer to this cobbled - together kindergarten strategy. Let 'the adult in the room' force some kind of concession out of a Republican caucus desperate to get the pipeline built.