New York Times Opposes Keystone XL as Dangerous, Unnecessary
On April 2, 2011, the New York Times published an editorial in opposition to Keystone XL, noting:
The environmental risks, for both countries, are enormous….
In the United States, the biggest potential problem is pipeline leaks. The Keystone XL would carry bitumen – which is more corrosive than crude oil – thinned with other petroleum condensates and then pumped at high pressure and at a temperature of more than 150 degrees through the pipeline.
Last July, an older bitumen pipeline in Michigan spilled 800,000 gallons of the stuff into the Kalamazoo River. A new TransCanada pipeline that began carrying diluted bitumen last year has already had nine spills.
The Keystone XL would cut diagonally across Montana and the Nebraska Sand Hills – a delicate region of porous, sandy soils – to northern Kansas before heading south to the Gulf. It would also cross the Ogallala Aquifer, a shallow underground reservoir of enormous importance for agriculture that also provides drinking water for two million people. A pipeline leaking diluted bitumen into groundwater could have disastrous consequences.
For this reason, Senators Mike Johanns and Ben Nelson of Nebraska have vigorously opposed the planned route of the Keystone XL. Still, political pressure to win swift approval has been building in Congress. Moving ahead would be a huge error. From all of the evidence, Keystone XL is not only environmentally risky, it is unnecessary.
It’s unusual for the New York Times to express an opinion about a pipeline project out in flyover land, but this one has attracted an unusual amount of national and international attention.