The United States is criss-crossed by 2.5 million miles of steel tubing carrying energy products, but President Obama and the environmental movement’s Alamo moment was over 1,200 miles of pipeline that would carry petroleum, including some from the oil sands of Alberta, through the metro-east and to the Gulf of Mexico.
President Trump moved swiftly to undo the Obama holds on the Keystone XL and Dakota pipelines. Good move for us locally, and ultimately good for the nation.
The Keystone XL will come through Patoka and feed the Wood River refinery. It will mean jobs for Southern Illinois. It might spur need for more of the coiled steel that Granite City Steel makes and is used mainly in the oilfields.
As U.S. Rep. John Shimkus said, “It is time for the federal government to stop picking winners and losers in the energy sector.”
The Obama administration demonized this tiny fraction of the pipeline system and held it up for seven years because some of the oil it would carry was from the “dirty” tar sands of Canada. They reasoned that if the American markets did not use that oil, the Canadians would never tap that resource and damage their environment or add to global warming.
Well, that oil may mean competitive energy prices for local consumers. It may mean that the next group of extremists isn’t funded by our petrodollars flooding the Mideast. It might mean a job that gets some local youth off the street corner.
Remember that 2.5 million miles of pipeline. Time has proven that network to be one heck of a lot more reliable and kind to the environment than offshore drilling or shipping oil halfway around the world on a boat.