Commentary in Chicago Tribune Claims that Misguided Obama Blocks Keystone Pipeline

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—January 23, 2012.  Last week President Obama announced that he concurs with the recommendations of the State Department and has denied the application of the Keystone Pipeline project.  In making this announcement, President Obama indicated that:

“This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people.”

The Chicago Tribune’s editorial following this announcement indicated that President Obama was ‘misguided’ in his rejection of the project.  Full text of the editorial can be found at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-pipeline-20120119,0,3017097.story

What follows is a response to the Tribune editorial written by David R. Matteson, Emeritus Professor, Governors State University division of Psychology & Counseling.  It is being reprinted with the express permission of the author.

Dear Editor:

“Pipeline Politics” (Thur. Jan. 19 Editorial) criticizes Obama’s insistence that the Tar Sands proposal needs study, as if it were simply a political decision. The threats are brushed aside with the statement that “there is not much evidence.” However, many of the previous pipelines have developed leaks. Last November’s announcement by the Tar Sands company, agreeing to re-route the pipeline plan to avoid having the oil travel over the Nebraska aquifer, amounted to an admission that there will be leaks if this pipeline is built.

More important, the editorial completely ignored the evidence concerning the dangers of burning “dirty oil.” Doing so results in at least 3 times as much carbon emission per gallon as burning regular oil. This poses the serious danger of pushing global warming over the tipping point.  Scientists and climate experts, and some national governments, are now saying 350 parts per million is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. Scientists believe the use of the “dirty oil” from the Tar Sands reservoir will bring us to well over 400 parts per million!  That could lead to the demise of planet earth as we know it, in the lifetime of our great grandchildren.

President George W. Bush stated that the U.S. was addicted to oil. Are we willing to overcome our addiction to fossil fuels, and work to develop jobs that provide clean energy? Or (to use the addiction metaphor) do we insist on borrowing the dirtiest needle from a fellow addict, in order to continue our “habit”?

Should a responsible President lead us to overcome our addiction?  Or, as the editorial suggests, should he carry on business as usual — even if that means a hot hell of existence for our descendants?

David R. Matteson, Crete IL

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