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AT: Doesn’t Block Tar Sands

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AT: Doesn’t Block Tar Sands

Yes it does—keystone prevention key to end global oil supply

Hughes 2/12

(J. David Hughes, a geoscientist, is the president of Global Sustainability Research Inc., “Stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline Is the Right Thing to Do,” NY Times, Feb 12, 2014,

Keystone XL is the right issue for environmental groups like to focus on. Indeed, the petroleum industry's own statistics show that existing pipeline capacity will be full within a year. The bulk of Western Canadian oil production is from the tar sands. Tar sands developments require extremely large upfront expenditures that will not be made unless operators are assured of a return on the investment. The failure to build Keystone XL, which is likely the quickest and most expedient way to increase Canadian export capacity, will effectively cap oil production and discourage investment in future projects and the expansion of existing ones. And using rail transport to replace the pipeline is not feasible given that most of the capacity is already used and questions are being raised on safety since the Lac-Mégantic and other disasters. Alternatives to Keystone XL, including the Northern Gateway and Transmountain Expansion pipelines to Canada's West Coast, are earlier in the regulatory process and face high levels of public opposition, making their construction doubtful at best. Tar sands are one of the few sources of new oil in the world capable of substantial growth. Capping expansion will materially reduce global oil supply and increase price, which, at the end of the day, is what most people understand when it comes to personal oil consumption. Reducing consumption is the key to making meaningful inroads on climate change.

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