There’s only reason we don’t have the Keystone XL oil pipeline well underway: radical environmentalists would consider it a shattering psychological defeat for that pipeline to get built. Opposing it never made a lick of sense, once due diligence on its ecological impact was completed, and that was years ago. It’s all about superstition, power politics, and a grand psychodrama every American is forced to participate in, because the current Administration is wholly captive to environmental lunacy. Not that it minds this captivity, since environmentalism is a potent tool for accumulating government power and suppressing dissent. No group in America is currently more vocal about using coercive power to silence disagreement than the Church of Global Warming.
Not everybody in the Administration buys the anti-Keystone gospel. At least, not everyone who currently feels free to analyze the situation with logic instead of politics and religion. For example, there’s former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who calls the Keystone XL project a “win-win” for energy and the environment. His comments are here transcribed by Fox News, which should satisfy the new FCC political officers that our Critical Information Need for news on the environment has been satisfied for the day. This sort of thing is what the FCC has in mind when it describes environmental news as a “critical need,” right?
???At the end of the day, we are going to be consuming that oil,??? Salazar told the conference. ???So is it better for us to get the oil from our good neighbor from the north, or to be bringing it from some place in the Middle East????
The former U.S. senator also released a statement later Wednesday saying,”It would be in the national interest to build the pipeline for our energy security, and enhance that national interest with the preservation of the Dakota Grasslands Conservation Area and the Prairie Potholes Region. In so doing, the carbon sequestration functions of these conservation areas will be preserved, wildlife and ranching heritage is supported, and energy security is enhanced.”
Salazar also said that he believes the project could be constructed safely if the right conditions are met. These would include requiring that the pipeline operator meet tough environmental standards and possibly even paying for conservation programs along the pipeline route.
Salazar is big on fracking too, as reported by the FuelFix blog, which first broke the news about his comments at the North American Prospect Expo in Houston:
???From my opinion and from what I???ve seen ??? I believe hydraulic fracking is, in fact, safe,??? Salazar said.
Salazar said the oil and gas industry must work to educate the public of the technology and ???make sure people are not scared.???
???We know that, from everything we???ve seen, there???s not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone,??? Salazar said. ???We need to make sure that story is told.???
Salazar says he came to his conclusion after speaking wither others in the federal government, including scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and Steven Chu, the Nobel Prize-winning former U.S. Energy Secretary who also says fracking is safe.
That’s not all Chu had to say about fracking, as elaborated in a Columbus Dispatch article linked by FuelFix. Speaking at a conference held by America’s Natural Gas Alliance last September, he used the same “win-win” language Salazar employed when describing Keystone XL, saying that fracking was a way to “have your cake and eat it too.” Then he declared the most famous study warning of the dangers from fracking was not credible. Then he said efforts to force America to decide between fracking and environmental safety were a “false choice.”
To top it off, fast-forward to last Monday, when The Hill reports Chu said President Obama’s decision to hold off on launching the Keystone XL project was “a political one.” Getting outside the Beltway has evidently been very liberating for Steven Chu.
Back over at FuelFix, we find the environmental movement glowering at Ken Salazar and muttering that they liked him better when he was under Barack Obama’s thumb:
Environmental groups, unsurprisingly, don???t agree with Salazar???s characterization of [fracking]. Groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council say fracking is a likely suspect behind polluted drinking water in Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming and elsewhere.
Environmentalists also attribute air pollution and even some earthquakes to the practice. Kate Sinding, a senior attorney with NRDC, called Salazar ???out of touch??? with a growing body of research indicating environmental harms of fracking.
???His comments are a disservice to the people around the country who continue to report problems when fracking comes to town ??? from contaminated drinking water, to devastated property values, air pollution, noise pollution, heavy truck traffic, industrialized rural areas, and even exploding homes,??? she said in a statement.
To be sure, Salazar and Chu still have their reservations about both fracking and Keystone XL, but their skepticism sounds a lot more reasonable than the official Obama Administration line. Salazar makes an interesting point that the fracking industry’s secrecy about the details of its process have contributed to public unease. I don’t see an official industry response to that critique yet, but I suspect they might say something about the importance of protecting trade secrets, and mention the fundamental dishonesty of their opponents, who have been known to stage phony flaming tap water and garden hoses to frighten the American people. I’m not sure if releasing a few proprietary chemical analyses will faze the people who think fracking causes earthquakes.
The State Department last week released yet another report that found no environmental problems with the Keystone XL project. Salazar reminded the North American Prospect Expo that based upon the best current information, “there’s not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone.” This Administration loves to portray itself as a bastion of science and reason. It’s long past time for them to start acting like one.