The fact that sections of the Keystone Pipeline Project are functioning and the locations of those lines are among few facts that Merrill Matthews got right in his Sept. 24 editorial (Sun Advocate)-no surprise, given his affiliation with the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation think tank.
He states that the Keystone lines have been functioning "with no major leaks." In fact, during its first year of operation, Keystone's Phase 1 pipeline (which runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois) spilled 100 times more frequently than TransCanada predicted and there have been at least 35 incidents. It prompted US pipeline safety regulators to deem Keystone 1 a hazard to "life, property, and the environment" and issue a "Corrective Action Order" to address multiple problems.
Tar sands pipelines in the northern Midwest dumped three times more oil per mile than the national average for conventional crude from 2007 to 2010, according to a report  by Cornell University's Global Labor Institute.
I'm not sure where Matthews pulled large job creation numbers from-he cites no source-but the Cornell researchers wrote, "According to the U.S. State Department, the six states along the [XL] pipeline route are expected to gain a total of 20 permanent pipeline operation jobs"; 571,000 agricultural workers are directly employed along the XL pipeline's proposed route. The researchers note that water contamination resulting from a spill, "would have significant economic costs and could result in job loss..."
Tar sands is among the dirtiest fuels on the planet, emitting huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere-and is harder and more expensive to clean up than conventional oil.
Increasing imports of tar sands oil into the U.S. is wrongheaded and downright foolhardy-unless you're an oil company reaping huge profits.