By Karl Gotthardt Canadian and Military Editor
After weeks of protests, including Hollywood celebrities, on the White House Lawn and by the Council of Canadians on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the State Department held its final hearing on the pipeline on Friday. The State Departments own assessment determined that the environmental impact would be minimal. This calls into question whether the decision on the pipeline, which will carry crude oil from the Alberta Oil Sands to Texas, will be based on fact or ideology?
According to environmentalists, the Alberta Oil Sands, which they call tar sands and like to call dirty oil, is the bigget environmental disaster in the making. The fact is that Trans Canada Pipelines has met and exceeded every stipulation place on it. The $7 Billion pipeline will create both temporary and full time jobs. One figure places it at 140,000 jobs. The environmental restrictions are the most stringent in place and while Trans Canada Pipelines cannot give a 100% guarantee, it has taken and will be taking measures to minimize the impact.
For the past few weeks the President has been trying to mobilize his base. His base wants him to deliver. If the decision is based on facts, the pipeline will be approved. If based on ideology it won’t. As an aside Hillary Clinton has said in the past that the State Department leans in favour of approving the pipeline.
Jon Entine, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research tends to agree.
“Keystone has now become emblematic of the great divide that’s opened up in the United States between the left and the right; the Keystone debate defines the polarized political climate in Washington. People are looking for ways to symbolize their political beliefs. The debate over the pipeline has taken on the most visible signs of the divide, so Keystone is never going to be debated on its merits.”