This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline: Be careful what you wish for.
Environmentalists have been furiously fighting the plan to pipe Canadian crude oil across the Great Plains from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The political firestorm has gotten so hot that the Obama administration recently punted the decision to the far side of the presidential election.
Northwesterners ought to be aware of a potential consequence of the project’s failure: That same tar sands oil could wind up getting piped west to Vancouver, B.C. – there to be shipped on supertankers through our very own and very vulnerable Strait of Juan de Fuca. China could then nail down long-term contracts for the Canadian petroleum.
A Houston energy company, Kinder Morgan, would love to do just that if TransCanada Corp. doesn’t get U.S. permission to take the oil south. It already runs a pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver; expanding the line’s capacity would be a tough but doable job.
It is wishful thinking to suppose that Canada wouldn’t be able to bring the petroleum to market if the U.S. route is blocked.
Demand for oil is rising, especially in Asia, and prices are expected to rise, too. Petroleum continues to be a crucial foundation of all industrial economies.
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