With several train derailments lately, partly due to outdated tanker cars and possible overloads, Canadians have come to the conclusion that pipelines are the best way to ship crude oil. A poll conducted by Ipsos Reid for CTV shows that 69 percent of Canadians believe that pipelines are the best way to transport crude oil. 54 percent have no faith in flammable material being shipped by rail. The results of the poll were predictable in light of the Lac-Megantic disaster. There are also news of less tragic derailments almost weekly. Most of these derailments are blamed on human error, outdated tanker cars and possible overloads. Source: CTV News
The Canadian regulator for railroads requires railroad operators to replace these outdated tanker cars. It will be a lengthy and expensive process though. Meanwhile the US Administration stalls on the XL Keystone Pipeline, despite more than five years of review. While the Canadian government has called for a decision, regardless of its outcome, the State Department and the White House continue to delay it.
President Obama in many motherhood statement during his State of the Union address, without any tangible action, was trying to his environmental base and women. With ObamaCare unraveling itself, the president is unlikely to burden Democrats with yet another issue. Thus it is highly unlikely that a decision of Keystone is made before the mid-term elections, although some think a decision could come as early as today. We shall see.
Since crude is already being moved across the border by rail, it seems important to issue a permit for the pipeline, if only to reduce rail transport. The decision to approve the pipeline will have little or no impact on carbon emissions and the environmental risks are at a minimum. On the other hand rail transport of flammable crude oil, both from Alberta and North Dakota pose a significant risk. The decision seems like a no brainer.