Hoeven, for his part, admitted that he’s still four votes short of a veto-proof majority in the Senate to approve the pipeline.
Coons, for his part, managed to make a claim that Politifact deemed “mostly false.”
Coons said building “Keystone means unlocking the Canadian tar sands.”
Oil production has been steadily growing in the Canadian tar sands without the Keystone XL pipeline. Most experts expect that trend to continue despite current low oil prices.
Coons would have been on safer ground if he said Keystone XL would unlock Canada’s ability to further increase its production capacity. The pipeline would offer much lower transportation costs than current transportation methods, which would encourage greater oil production.
I’m not sure why we should care if Keystone did, on its own, “unlock” Canadian oil reserves. Isn’t the whole point of being allies and trading partners with our friends to the north to help facilitate their economy? All the more so when it benefits our economy as well which Keystone does by creating jobs here and providing badly needed bandwidth for oil transportation out of North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields?
At this point there are no really valid arguments against building the Keystone pipeline. Some say that dropping oil prices undermine the need for the pipeline, but need isn’t for the public to decide. This is a private project, funded by private risk-takers, and whether or not it is needed is up to them.
Besides, the world isn’t going to stop running on oil any time soon. There’s going to be a market for the Canadian oil in the future, even if that market has depressed prices right now.
Others say that Keystone has little benefit to the national economy, but again that’s not really a valid consideration in a free market unless we’re going to start making decisions about what businesses can open or expand based on some subjective and arbitrary views of whether or not they’ll benefit the larger economy.
As for the environmental impacts, those have been reviewed ad nauseum. The Keystone pipeline isn’t some new invention. There are thousands up thousands of miles of pipeline which already exist in the United States. In fact, there is already a Keystone pipeline which crosses the U.S./Canadian border. The only objection this particular Keystone pipeline is that environmentalists have chosen to elevate it as a symbol in their war against fossil fuels in general.
They don’t merely want sound regulation of fossil fuel energy development. They want to stop fossil fuel energy development, and what better way than to create a bottleneck in transporting fossil fuels?