I’ve been hearing and reading a lot recently about this 1,661 mile pipeline that may stretch from Canada to Texas. It will carry tar sand from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico where I assume it will be refined into oil.
Proponents for the pipeline say that it will create jobs and help reduce our dependence on oil from the Middle East. Both very valid points. Opponents of the pipeline say that it is a serious threat to the ecosystems the pipeline passes through and poses the threat of polluting the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies irrigation and drinking water for 8 states, including Oklahoma (see Norman Transcript for full article).
The environmentalist in me is hearing warning bells going off. I don’t pretend to know all the details into exactly how this is going to be built or exactly what the environmental threat is or how it could take place. I’ve heard interviews on the radio about the process and listened to both sides of the argument. I have read that refining tar sand into oil is a much more complicated, expensive and risky process than the traditional crude oil refining process. I’m sure that the company who will build this pipeline has all sorts of safety measures in place and will guarantee that our drinking water will be safe but I can’t help but think about what happened in the Gulf last year. I’m sure that BP and Halliburton had all sorts of safety measures and assurances that their oil extraction was up to code and right on par with environmental regulations. Well, that didn’t exactly turn out the way they thought now did it.
We need oil, there’s no doubt about it. Is oil refined from tar sand our best and only option? At what cost are we willing to supply our need/addiction for the black gold? I have a great fear that those with the most power and money regarding this matter will get their way.
We have been placed in a position of stewardship of this planet and her resources. To be quite frank I don’t think we are being very good stewards. To be even more frank I don’t think that the One who gave it to us in the first place is very happy with how we are taking care of “his creation”.
Creating jobs is important, there’s no doubt about it. Here’s a thought. How about instead of spending the millions (possibly billions) of dollars on the pipeline, spend it on developing alternative fuel sources. Sounds like a lot of jobs could be found and created there.
Sometimes I feel like as a culture we can’t see the forest for the trees. Pretty soon there may not be any trees to see.