Tar Sands Will Cost You at the Pump Says Economist (VIDEO)

Canadian oil giant TransCanada, which proposes to build a massive, expensive and risky tar sands pipeline must be feeling pretty happy about rising gas prices. Policy makers and the media often accept conventional wisdom that when gas prices rise, we need to double down on dirty fossil fuels. Conventional wisdom is wrong.

So says bipartisan energy economist Philip Verleger in his recent opinion piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“U.S. farmers, who spent $12.4 billion on fuel in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, could see expenses rise to $15 billion or higher in 2012 or 2013 if the pipeline goes through,” says Verleger. 

How?  By diverting oil that currently goes from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico with the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, farm belt and heartland states would have their supply choked, and prices would rise. Verleger also says TransCanada is planning on gains by manipulating markets, which by the way, is illegal.

Lack of oil isn’t the problem. Our oil addiction is the problem.  The Keystone XL pipeline scheme is basically fool’s gold, and in the end everyone will pay more, but families and farmers in the Midwest will get hit hardest.

“American consumers will pay the price of this highway robbery. Food prices will rise because they reflect farm operating costs. In addition, millions of Americans will spend 10 to 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel as tribute to our “friendly” neighbors to the north,” says Verleger.

Here’s what SHOULD happen. We need updated pipeline regulations that address the safety challenges of carrying corrosive and toxic tar sludge under the high pressures and temperatures required. A tar sludge pipeline recently dumped 800,000 gallons into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. The proposed pipeline puts makes a sacrificial lamb of the Ogallala aquifer, our nation’s largest clean water resource.

Oil companies also need to be held accountable for their reckless and destructive tar sands operations. Forest wilderness is being replaced with vast toxic lakes that kill migratory birds. Emissions of greenhouse gas pollution are 82 percent higher than conventional oil production. 

This pipeline isn’t a solution to our oil addiction. Clean energy is the long term solution that ends our addiction to fossil fuels, including expensive and destructive tar sludge from Canada.

Below, Nebraska landowner Randy Thompson talks about how the pipeline will put his property and water at risk. “There’s really no reason” for the pipeline he says.


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Published: March 15, 2011