Re "The future of Keystone XL," Editorial, Feb. 4
The Times writes: "If developed nations had started earlier … oil pipelines and Arctic drilling rigs would hold little attraction."
Given no credit, Jimmy Carter did start early. He is responsible for federal standards to increase fuel efficiency, and he invested in green energy, putting solar panels on the White House. (Ronald Reagan promptly removed them.)
Now, about that pipeline.
Severe water shortages are inevitable in the next decade, as reservoirs and aquifers are quickly depleted. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico would cross the Ogallala Aquifer and more than 1,500 waterways; even small spills can taint an entire aquifer or waterway.
Builder TransCanada has a history of spills. Thinking of any pipeline crossing that precious source of water makes me shudder.
Keystone XL carries oil intended primarily for export. Anyone who says the pipeline makes us more energy independent is blinded by a laissez-faire attitude.
Joanne M. Mell
Canada is extracting tar-sand oil that will be exported to other countries. The question is, will the oil be sent to America's Gulf Coast refineries?
Despite all of the concerns about environmental impact, oil products are everywhere, from the gasoline in our cars to our plastic bottles. Oil is still used to heat many homes.
The world is not ready to abandon oil and its byproducts. That year may be coming, but not within the decade.
Despite the fact that the State Department's report indicates that the Keystone pipeline itself will not impact climate change, it will encourage further production of tar-sands oil and refinement, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels.
As your editorial states, if developed nations had reduced reliance on emitters of greenhouse gases and developed low-pollution energy, "oil pipelines and Arctic drilling rigs would hold little attraction." I agree, but how to facilitate this transition to clean energy?
A carbon fee and dividend policy would provide the solution. The time for hand-wringing is over; we must demand solutions to carbon emissions from our legislators.