It has come to my attention that Canada has again proposed multiple oil lines be built across the US. Now, I don’t have anything against Canada—been there and loved it—but if we don’t exercise our brain cells we’ll deserve whatever consequences may come.
First of all, this is concerning for multiple reasons. I’m not sure why people think this is a suitable idea when we can’t even manage to take care of levies and bridges that are much more easily accessible. Maintaining a network of underground pipelines that would extend throughout the US means a much more costly endeavor than taking care of our above-ground bridges.
This leads to a second point of concern. Obviously (please note the sarcasm) we’ve done such an adequate job of maintaining our bridges, that we’ll have no problem with maintaining an underground pipeline. Right. If we think the problems from off-shore drilling are terrible, let’s assume the costs to properly maintain underground pipelines are phenomenally more. Let’s consider that in all likelihood the pipelines will remain buried until there is some sort of problem that makes it necessary to dig up the pipeline, trace the problem, and fix it. If that is what is done with our bridges, there is no evidence to support behavior to the contrary. We cannot correctly presume that pipelines will be managed more competently, or with a preventative attitude.
Thirdly, let’s look at the potential ramifications if something goes amiss with said pipelines. The proposed locations for these pipelines could mean that any accident involving the pipelines could put major water sources at risk of contamination, and that the “breadbasket” of the US could see oil seeping into the soil. We’re talking undrinkable water, and potential famine. Someone can crunch the numbers, and I’m betting with our stellar history of prevention and maintenance that the possibility of an issue with the pipelines is actually pretty high.
While this is a great idea to foster growth and drive down the price of oil, potentially making it possible for us to stop relying on Middle Eastern countries, the reality is that this is not progress. This is humanity digging its heels stubbornly into the stuff of the past because we’re too lazy to mandate that humanity evolves. Take the oil companies, give them a certain amount of time to develop alternative clean energy sources and subsidize their efforts. Give them additional tax breaks if they beat the deadline and can help improve the availability of vehicles and products that can use the alternative energy. We are never going to get anywhere if we refuse to evolve and to greet the challenge that true improvement presents. The Keystone project isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s 2013 and we really should be regarding the future with an eye towards drastic improvement and use of renewable resources.