US Will OK XL Pipeline After Quebec Train Wreck

The last few days have been bad ones for the good people of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada. This small town near the border with the American state of Maine is the kind of place that never makes the news because nothing much out of the ordinary happens there. Except Saturday, several train tanker cars filled with oil derailed there and burst into flames killing dozens. The accident will change the little town forever, and it will also ensure that the Obama administration approves the Keystone XL pipeline.

What exactly happened is still a matter of dispute. The company that owned the train cars, Rail World, has suggested that an engineer failed to set sufficient hand-brakes. This allegedly would have allowed the cars to roll downhill a few miles and into the heart of the town of 2,000. Others, including the townspeople, see this as a corporation trying to blame the lirrle guy. Investigations are just beginning. The police in Quebec have ruled out terrorism.

As Lenin noted, and as Sit Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity proves, everything is connected to everything else. This appalling train wreck will have ramifications far beyond the lovely little town in Quebec. It will affect events in Alberta, in Ottawa, in Washington and across the USA’s heartland. Because of this wreck, the Obama administration will approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

The main objection to the pipeline that would bring oil sands crude from Alberta to the Americna gulf coast refineries has been environmental. But the greens have ignored the fact that the oil is already moving to the gulf by rail and truck. If they succeed in preventing the construction of the pipeline, the trains and trucks will still move the stuff. And as the Wreck in Quebec has shown, that isn’t all that safe.

Pipelines are unlovely things, and they can leak. Terrorists can target them. They are inherently dangerous. But what makes them dangerous is what they carry. A pipeline of water has little ability to harm the area through which it flows. It is the crude oil that makes a pipeline or tanker a potential bomb.

However, that doesn’t make them equal. Opponents of the pipeline can argue about spills and leakage till they are blue in the face, but a pipeline will not move into the middle of a small town, explode and kill several people. The damage is isolated. And that is how the Obama administration will finally refute the safety argument.

A pipeline is not perfect, but it won’t get people killed by moving. The same is not true of trucks and train tankers. The oil is being shipped and that is where the greens need to focus their attention/ The pipeline is a secondary issue. By this autumn the XL pipeline will have the blessing of the US government, and it will be in no small part because of the death and destruction in a little town in Quebec.

And for what it is worth, this journal counts itself as a friend of La Belle Province and encourages readers to donate to the Red Cross to help out. Vive Lac Megantic.