Indiana environmentalists wary of oil pipeline plan

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The oil industry says a new oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast might create jobs for Indiana residents if the Obama administration approves its construction. But Indiana environmentalists say the state should focus on modernizing its auto industry to make clean cars instead.

American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard told a crowd in Indianapolis Tuesday that the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline would create new work for more than 100 Indiana companies. He did not specify which companies.

If built, the 1,700-mile pipeline planned by Calgary-based TransCanada would travel through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma before reaching refineries in Houston and Port Arthur, Texas.

Supporters say the line, which would carry an estimated 700,000 barrels of oil a day, could significantly reduce U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

"We've made the case that you have the option of getting oil from Canada or from a petro-dictator in another country. To us it's a pretty straightforward equation," said Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer, who attended Tuesday's conference on energy jobs.

But opponents say it would bring "dirty oil" that requires huge amounts of energy to extract and could cause an ecological disaster in case of a spill.

Hoosier Environmental Council Executive Director Jesse Kharbanda said Indiana should keep its focus on industries more tied to the state.

"An approach that puts more of an emphasis on modernizing the automobile sector would be extremely beneficial to a manufacturing state like Indiana," Kharbanda said.

The pipeline project has been in the planning and review stage for years and has become a flashpoint for President Barack Obama's energy policies. The U.S. State Department, which has authority over the pipeline because it crosses an international boundary, is expected to make a decision on the project by year's end.


  • Out of Touch

    If this line would go right through your property, would you keep the same outlook? If this line took away your home, would you still promote it? If you had a major gas leak into the water source your family and children use to drink, would you argue for it?
  • Common sense vs. rhetoric
    Once again, we have those more concerned with potential issues than those rooted in reality. We have an economy desperately in need of jobs, a government starving for tax dollars and their advice is to focus on the future. Well, most are going to perish on the way to the future because of their short-sightedness.
    The oil is going to either be used by us or China. Why not US. The emissions are going to go into the atmosphere either way, why shouldn't our economy benefit instead of China's? Are you so bent on the destruction of our country you would sacrifice your friends and neighbors in pursuit of a utopian goal of the few? The automotive industry is making great strides at reducing the pollution output of current vehicles with plans to go farther. Alternative fuel vehicles are proliferating but if our current administration gets their way, no one will be able to afford the electricity to charge them. Then what? Solar cars? Bicycles? How about horses? Oh, right, they also pass emissions into the atmosphere. Wait, humans also pass emissions. Are you suggesting the end of humanity in order to preserve mother earth?
    We should build the pipeline immediately using the latest safety technologies and try our best to error-proof the entire route and all connection points. Let the environmentalists take another herbal remedy for their acid indigestion over their fretting about the possibility of a spill of a substance that already comes from the very ground on which it would spill.
    • JEB "Bush"
      Hey JEB,

      demanding more of a finite product does not decrease price for that product. Also, we have been the largest user of oil by far for decades, why are we in such bad shape? Oil is the subsidized blood of our nation. You seem to be against government expenditures, but you advocate subsidy for your lifestyle? Perhaps you could use a breif vacation to find yourself, because you are very confused.
    • Silly Joe
      Joe must not have to drive to work. These "Green" folks need to settle down and plant some trees. We, as a nation, should use what we have available while there are alternatives being developed. For the boneheaded Al Gores out there, we cannot stop "cold turkey" on the coal and oil use since our average temp has gone up 1 degree over the last 200 years. Personally, I think it is outragous to be paying over $3.00 for a gallon of gas. Joe, How much of that 535 million dollars given to Solyndra was "dumped". If half a billion dollars was spent to drill or build a pipeline, maybe my gas price would go down a bit. See how it works??? I pay taxes...the governement does something smart with my money...I save money. This kind of thinking might make our economy better and create jobs. Again, settle down "green" folk. Right now jobs are more important along with cheaper gas!!!
    • prehistoric!
      We didn't quite learn our lesson on single source based industry so now we will dump billions into a fuel that is finite and dirty as heck!

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