Saturday, January 25, 2014

Keystone pipeline presents environmental quandary

This was a boreal forest.
Domestic energy production would be a boon to our economy and security, but mining coal sands in environmentally horrific.

Mining proponents point out that the tar sands oil will be mined even without the pipeline.  Trains would carry tar sands oil if Obama denies the pipeline.   But trains are (apparently) more risky than pipelines in terms of frequency of spills (what about size of spills?).  So not building the pipeline could actually result in worse environmental consequences.  Catch 22?

What if....instead of building the keystone pipeline, we reduced the equivalent amount of energy (negawatts) by guaranteeing loans or rebates or tax incentives on geothermal systems.  Solar panels on roofs are nice, but electric technology has a shorter lifespan, whereas geothermal heating and cooling is a truly long-term infrastructure investment.  Cutting off supply only works if we reduce demand.

More photos.  Video presentation.

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