Death Of Keystone XL Pipeline Spells The Beginning Of The End For Tar Sands

Six years ago, the battle for the Keystone XL pipeline began. Now, thanks to the Obama administration, the plan is dead.

The Obama administration announced Friday morning that the plan proposed by TransCanada to build the pipeline, which would have carried more than 800,000 gallons of tar sands crude per day from Canada all the way to Gulf Coast, was rejected. President Obama rejected the pipeline because it would not have created meaningful and sustainable job growth, nor would it help secure the long term American energy needs.

Environmentalists around the nation cheered on Friday after the news broke. Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune had this to say:

“Today marks the beginning of the end for dirty tar sands, as well as dirty fossil fuel projects around our continent and the world,”

Does this really mean the end of Canadian tar sands — one of the most dirty fossil fuels in the world?

To answer that, we can look at TransCanada, whose stock nosedived 6 percent with the announcement of the rejection. But this has been an ongoing trend as the companies total stock has dropped 34 percent in the last year.

While the downfall of a single company and their project might not be the end of the tar sands industry, it does look like the beginning of the industry’s demise. Behind the scenes while the Keystone XL was under the microscope the tar sands industry was quietly expanding by the use of rail. In the third quarter of 2014, Canada’s export of crude went up 22 percent. With the addition of new terminals, Canada could be exporting one million barrels a day.

And this low cost of oil allows companies to ship by rail because there is more profit to be made, but there is also much more danger.

For the Keystone XL, it showed the bleeding that is happening in the tar sands industry as it is cheap crude oil’s rich brother. And this price difference is what will cause the end of the tar sands industry as it is very labor intensive. Finally, the rejection of the Keystone XL just opened the wound for the dirtiest industry in the world.

Image by Howl Arts Collective via flickr, available under a Creative Commons License

Tanner Bisbee hails from the great State of Maine. He's a full time college student and serves on the football staff at school. His most notable work to date is his book Modern Day Sports Blog. To read more check out my blog