Monday, January 23, 2012

EDITORIAL: Keystone XL Pipeline Revisited

By Christina Fermin
Politics & Society Columnist

Obama rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline that would go through environmentally sensitive lands, a victory declared by environmentalists. Political pundits have been taking swings at Obama, even after Republicans gave President Obama a small window to review the pipeline which they wanted approved. The most interesting thing I see come out of this debate is that Republicans are pushing for the pipeline to get built on the basis that it will boost the economy, create jobs and get America one step closer to energy independence. Let’s take a look at these claims more closely.

It has long been known that there is not one single sector that runs the economic engine we call the American economy. While petroleum may be at the basis of that engine, it is not the sole contributing factor. A pipeline running from Canada down to Texas is not going to restart the American economy and for anyone to claim this is silly. The only thing this is going to boost is more environmentally destructive behavior while we reward companies for ruining the environment and let them know that it’s okay to scar the Earth, pump poison into our waters and atmosphere and push carbon emissions instead of curbing them.

The other major claim I hear from political pundits is that the Keystone XL Pipeline will create jobs. While this may be partially true, it will create jobs for a small amount of time, creating maybe a few hundred jobs permanently. After building the pipeline in a few years, many of those jobs will be gone. Instead of pushing something so destructive and temporary, why not fuel and fund an alternative energy economy? Pour money into research, education and renewable energy. This will create far more jobs than any pipeline or gas drilling, it will also educate people to work these jobs and the research will be most valuable. This could be the golden ticket America needs to restart our economic engine. The versatility of a ‘green’ economy can begin the path towards energy independence and a whole new market of things that are Made in America!

If America really ever wants to be energy independent we need to look towards renewable energy. In the last few years there have been scientific breakthroughs when it comes to solar energy. Wind energy still needs more research and funding, but wind energy has come a long ways too. If we can find a way to harness geothermal energy in a cost efficient way there is an unlimited supply of energy, not to mention the energy we can harness from the ocean. The best part is that this is all free energy, that will not cause environmental destruction and it will not taint the air we breathe or the water we drink. Aside from renewable energy, American can start investing in alternatives to plastic, Styrofoam, water desalination, converting waste to energy. Some of these programs have already begun to happen, but if the Federal government took more interest and leadership in these things we could give it the boost it needs to turn our economy around, while also providing a model for the rest of the world to jump on board.

I applaud President Obama for standing poised in the face of political pressure and opposition. While TransCanada does have an opportunity to reapply for the permit to build the Keystone Pipeline with an alternate route that does not touch the ecological sensitive areas, I do hope that he makes an effort to do what he promised and get America moving in the right direction. As for you, you should put political pressure on your elected officials and deny any new destructive permitting that tries to get past your area or the nation.

If we are save Humanity from our own implosion we need to be at the front lines fighting these battles and demanding these things. Without pressure from the people the status quo will remain, this is an issue where both parties need to come together instead of fighting one another. Step outside the box and look at it from another perspective, we can create a better place and a better world.

About the Columnist
With a bachelors degree in political science from Florida Atlantic University, Christina Fermin has always cultivated her love for history, politics, sociology, ancient knowledge and teachings, the outdoors, the ocean and the environment. Christina strives to make our world better by helping us all create a new reality and understanding of all taking place here and now.



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