A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Snuggling Up with the Keystone XL Pipeline

Syncrude Aurora Oil Sands Mine, north of Fort McMurray, Canada.

The arguments against digging up the tar sands of the northern U.S. states and Canada and sending the oil through the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf Of Mexico have been laid out in great detail by hundreds of environmental experts like Bill McKibben and former chief NASA scientist James Hansen.

The tar sands represent another ecological disaster, any which way round you look at it. More fossil fuels, more wreckage of the land, more greenhouse gases spewing into the atmosphere just to dig the tar out, and more oil spills all along the pipeline.

Of course, those who will profit most by digging up the tar and then selling it to a world of oil addicts have their counter-arguments at hand. And one of the more hilarious (if it weren’t so completely untrue, shocking and sad), comes from business pundit and CNBC host Larry Kudlow:

Kudlow argues that the Keystone XL pipeline will be good for wildlife because animals will “like to snuggle under the pipeline” for “warmth.”

The U.S. government itself disagrees with Kudlow. According to Media Matters for America:

The Department outlined many ways the pipeline would “wreak havoc” on plants and animals around the prospective route, including “wildlife collisions and electrocutions with power lines.” The agency reported that Keystone XL would cause habitat loss and species displacements, resulting in “permanent impacts” on wildlife.

And the State Department’s draft Environmental Impact Statement regarding the pipeline includes projections of 1.9 spills (about 34,000 gallons) per year. Try snuggling under an oil spill.

Rayola Dougher of the American Petroleum Institute, a lobbying firm, fights back with the assertion that “animals like the Alaskan crude oil pipeline quite a bit.”  She cites the argument of well-known “expert” and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, who said that the Alaska pipeline drew lots of caribou who liked to meet up close to it because it was nice and warm. The United States Geological Survey totally refuted this:

Ray Cameron, who spent decades studying caribou for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, found that caribou herds were “effectively crowded out” of certain areas by development and that their populations shifted into areas with “fewer roads and pipelines.” Additionally … recent development of tar sands is a “big part of why caribou are now listed as threatened” by the Canadian government.

When the “experts” on the economy are arguing that it’s good for “snuggling” and caribou meet-ups, you know something’s really wrong.