Yesterday, U.S. Representative Steve Daines promised that the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, which violates current environmental regulations and so must be granted a special waiver if it is to advance, will be “the most environmentally friendly way to transport oil across our country”.
The most environmentally friendly way to transport oil across our country? Well, everything’s relative. The least smelly way to pour raw sewage all over your lawn is to spray it with Febreeze afterwards – but that doesn’t make covering you lawn with sewage a good idea.
The most environmentally friendly thing would be to not transport thick crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands all the way down to Texas to be processed and then burned. Transporting and burning oil is an inherently dirty and destructive thing to do. It harms human health, fouls the air and water, and wrecks the climate.
Of course, gaining access to new sources of oil, as dirty as they may be, does have its benefits – for the investors who get paid off by big oil corporations.
It also turns out that what’s profitable for the oil companies is profitable for Steve Daines. Daines is a new member of Congress, having just won his first election four months ago, but already he has taken over $100,000 in payments from the fossil fuels industry. The Keystone XL pipeline may not be friendly for the environment, but it’s very friendly to corruptible politicians.