Punching Back at Big Oil

From The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-redford/keystone-xl-pipeline_b_978835.html

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Posted: 9/24/11

When you challenge Big Oil in Houston, you can bet the industry is going to punch back. So when I wrote in the Houston Chronicle earlier this month that we should say no to the Keystone XL pipeline, I wasn’t surprised when the project’s chief executive weighed in with a different view.

The corporate rejoinder, written by Alex Pourbaix, president for energy and oil pipelines for the TransCanada Corp., purported to cite “errors” in my oped. Let’s set the record straight, point by point.

First, the Keystone XL, as proposed, would run from Canada across the width of our country to Texas oil refineries and ports. It would carry diluted bitumen, a kind of crude oil, produced from the Alberta tar sands. On those points, we all agree.

I say this is a bad idea. It would put farmers, ranchers and croplands at risk across much of the Great Plains. It would feed our costly addiction to oil. And it would wed our future to the destructive production of tar sands crude.

That’s where the disagreement begins. Pourbaix claimed it was “not accurate” for me to call tar sands crude “the dirtiest oil on the planet.” He cited a report by the Royal Society of Canada that compared Canadian tar sands crude to oil from Libya, Venezuela or the Middle East.

The fact is, producing oil from tar sands generates 17 percent more of the carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our planet than conventional oil in this country. It’s 19 percent dirtier than Middle East Sour, 13 percent dirtier than Mexican Heavy and 16 percent dirtier than Venezuelan crudes.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-redford/keystone-xl-pipeline_b_978835.html

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