The Daily Kos for once managed to come as close as it can to admitting a good thing about the Keystone Pipeline: if the Pipeline is not built, oil companies will just transport their oil by rail, which is less environmentally safe, more expensive, and more dangerous to human lives.
As the Daily Kos notes, transportation of crude oil by railroad has increased 74 percent since 2012. This has led to accidents like the Saint Lac-Megantic Disaster, where 47 people and billions of dollars in property by a derailed crude oil that blew up. And the tragic disaster in Quebec is hardly a single anomaly. Residents had to evacuate in North Dakota in response to a crude oil derailment, and as of May 2014, over $10 million in property damages have occurred thanks to train incidents regarding rude oil. The State Department last week released an analysis of the Keystone. They explicitly stated that the amount of injuries and death caused by crude-oil rail shipments will increase fourfold over the next 10 years if the Pipeline is not built.
Because the Daily Kos is the Daily Kos, they choose to blather about how we must wean ourselves off of oil and so must fight both the Keystone Pipeline and rail shipments. Well, perhaps it would be best for them to take a look at Japan then. In a lecture at the Brookings Institute last week, Toshikazu Okuya, the Director of Energy Supply for Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry talked about Japan’s ongoing efforts to promote renewables. The result is that Japan is now importing its highest percentage of fossil fuels in over 40 years. This has negatively impacted the Japanese economy, as its trade surplus has fallen into a significant trade deficit to pay for the higher imports of oil and natural gas. Meanwhile, Japan’s energy costs have risen more than any developed nation in the world, with the exception of one country – Germany, which continues its drive to develop solar and wind, the middle class’s energy costs be damned. Score one for green energy.
The fact is that America is a nation that runs on oil, and that for now, solar and wind continue to remain a chimera. The best way for America to transport its newfound energy abundance is to rely on pipelines and not relatively unreliable and unsafe trains.