A major Keystone pipeline proposed by TransCanada would go from Alberta through the Midwest. The fuel would be pumped to the Gulf of Mexico to be refined for international sale, not necessarily to be used within the United States.
Aside from intensifying greenhouse gas emissions, one main concern is leakage. Leaks have occurred with various pipelines more than 300 times since 2000.
This is not the only pipeline proposed, so even if this one doesn’t get built, others may. Thankfully, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently decided to ban hydrofracking in New York State. Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas, and extensive leakage during extraction cuts into its “cleaner-than-oil” benefits.
People favoring these projects see local jobs being lost. In Pennsylvania, out-of-state crews were brought in to do work, so money earned locally doesn’t always stay local. The argument also fails to recognize that fossil fuels are finite and will eventually run out. And do we actually think that fossil fuel prices will remain low as they become rarer? Sorry, SUV drivers.
If you want to create local energy jobs, hire an energy auditor to assess your home or business and then carry out the suggested efficiency measures. Consider getting solar panels if your house is suitable. There are financing options available to pay for both of these. You’ll save money in the long run, do your part to protect our air and be providing jobs to local contractors. It is said that, for each dollar spent at a local business, 45 cents are reinvested locally. Not only does this minimize the need for pipelines and hydrofracking for fuel here in the United States, but you can begin to minimize the amount of money spent on fuel coming from abroad – which is polluting somewhere else.
TransCanada claims that 13,000 direct jobs would be created by the pipeline construction. However, the solar industry alone reports 25,000 jobs created in the sector since 2010, which is 10 times the national average job growth rate. If we can have energy that’s clean and creates jobs, why would we prefer energy that’s dirty and finite to create jobs?
Fiteni, a Long Island-based environmentalist, owns Green Inside & Out Consulting.