Why the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines are the wrong pipelines

Over the past couple of years, the United States has had a controversy over oil pipelines and what they mean for the people, country and environment. Conservatives want to drill and utilize the crude because this is the best way to produce energy, renewables be damned, while progressives want to eliminate the use of oil and go purely with renewable sources. Neither way is the correct way if you actually look at the situation and these two pipelines show why.

Personally, I would love to go straight renewables, but realize that is a pie in the sky proposition right now. We still need fossil fuels for energy. So I understand why we want to utilize the shale and oil found throughout our country. We need to continue to bring our own oil out of the ground and refine it. That is a fact of the way that we live. However, we continue to be shortsighted in how we decide to run our fossil fuel industry.

Why are we sending unrefined crude that we find in the Dakotas and Alberta to Louisiana? The oil companies still claim that the refinery capacity there is at maximum. So the crude going down there will in part be exported to other countries to be refined and then imported back into the United States at more of a cost to the American people. And the people that aren’t upset about that are the same people since 9/11 have said that America needs to be energy independent. Well, sending your crude to be refined in Iceland, Greenland, or any other place besides the United States doesn’t bring us energy independence, it just means that we become more dependent on other countries.

I hear from the GOP that regulation has strangled business in America. Here is a chance that they had to deregulate some of the rules they believe are causing problems for America. This would have been business that helped with American energy independence and for more jobs. But they didn’t use any creativity. Why not make the oil business a regional business and build or reopen refineries around the country?

Go to Glendive, MT, head 10 miles North and make plans to build an Oil refinery there. Oh I can hear the screaming of environmentalists by just suggesting to put a refinery there. But they need to get a grip. We need the energy. Energy independence is a viable National Security argument and the way that the world has become for security, it is a subject that we should take seriously. Let’s list what a refinery there would do.

  1. It would help promote said energy independence. A refinery that is closer to the oil fields would cause the efficiency of the energy produced to be greater than having a pipeline to Louisiana.
  2. Jobs. Let’s be honest, the two pipelines that the GOP have argued for provide about 50 full time jobs. An Oil Refinery will produce that amount very easily. And yes, the pipelines getting to the refinery would not provide 50 jobs, but when you have a net positive for jobs in America, I think that is a good thing.
  3. The environment. I know that refining is a dirty process. That there will be pollution. But it would keep a pipeline from being over the underground aquafers in Nebraska. That is a huge problem when it comes into being. We all know that pipelines leak, no matter where they are. The Aquafers help our farmers in the plains states. Why would we want to taint a water source? Water is a precious commodity, even more than money. So wouldn’t the trade off of protecting those Aquafers against a refinery that keeps the pipelines to a minimum be a good thing?
  4. The economy. If you have a refinery that makes gasoline and other petroleum products for a region of the country or does just one type of gasoline, like winter blend fuel, then the refining capacity you already have can be more year around for other blends of fuel. That in turn brings down prices of fuel. That in turn causes other things to be cheaper like shipping of items. More items are purchased, and the economy gets a boost. And that means that the true economy gets better, not just the people who already have money in the bank. This isn’t trickle-down economics here. This is the tried and true way of building an economy.

An oil refinery in Eastern Montana could provide fuel to the Northern Plains, the Northern Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific Northwest. Lower costs to refine the crude and possibly lower costs to the consumers. I think that this is the best way for the oil business to be brought up to date in how we do business.

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