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Potential solar power unreached

All causes shall give way. Such was the determination of the king in one of Shakespeare’s tragic plays.
For his own good, any action he might take was warranted, no matter the “sighs and groans and shrieks” of his countrymen.
An announcement on the GOP energy platform brought this scene to mind. It promises speedy approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would establish a Gulf coast refining and exporting hub for a Canadian oil firm.
Many citizens are concerned about its impacts to the land and great risks to water and climate stability.
Note Julia Crawford and John Hansen, among hundreds of ranchers and rural landowners fighting against condemnation of their land by the company that operates the pipeline. T
he Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment ostensibly is held up as “bulwark against tyranny” in the party platform. For a transnational corporation’s good, however, the bulwark gives way. Along the pipeline’s route, landowners’ property can be seized.
Ninety-one major spills could be expected over a 50-year operational life of the XL pipeline, a Nebraska University engineering professor predicts.
Foreseeable risks are great and the consequences very grave, especially at river crossings in the planned route.
“Contaminants from a spill at the Platte River crossing,” Professor Stansbury warns, “would travel downstream unabated into the Missouri River for several hundred miles affecting drinking water intakes for hundreds of thousands of people, as well as aquatic habitats and recreational activities. In addition, other constituents from the spill would pose serious risks to humans and aquatic species in the river.”
The tar sands oil contains benzene and numerous other, toxic and corrosive chemicals. Should a spill occur in Nebraska’s Sand Hills region, it would contaminate the Ogallalla aquifer, the country’s largest underground source of freshwater used for drinking water (and irrigation) by millions of people.
Its existing, northern pipeline has had three major spills, exceeding 20,000 barrels of oil since 2007, and many smaller accidents.
In a recent reprimand by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the company’s safety record is described as a “history of failures,” of defects not remedied, and an “inadequate management program.”
Mining the tar shale begins with peeling back the overlaying forest. Bereft of this forest, the planet loses another part of an essential sink for absorption and sequestration of carbon dioxide, and countless species are annihilated.
So large are the energy inputs required to process and transport the heavy tar crude that its climate-warming impact is three times higher than that of regular oil.
As renowned scientists have warned repeatedly, its extraction and use is tantamount to importing catastrophic climate disaster. The Keystone XL pipeline, says Dr. Hansen of NASA, is “a fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet.”
The causes of Americans’ rights to their own land, and of land and water and climate health for future children should not be given away for the good sought by a transnational oil company with this pipeline project.