Steve Forbes: Build the Keystone Pipeline and Frack, Baby, Frack

Wednesday, 07 Aug 2013 08:15 AM

By John Morgan

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Forbes magazine editor Steve Forbes, a stalwart defender of the Keystone XL pipeline, says approving the pipeline would actually help prevent oil spills, not cause more environmental damage, and that fracking is a key element of America's energy future.

"If you don't approve pipelines, we're going to be moving more and more oil on trains, which is just begging for accidents," he told Yahoo.

Forbes maintained the Keystone pipeline would create 20,000 jobs, more than some other estimates. The fate of the proposed pipeline, which would push an estimated 830,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Canada to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast, may be decided in a final ruling from the White House by year-end.

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Forbes noted that fracking is boosting local economies in some areas. "Because of fracking, Pennsylvania is prospering, towns are moving up — areas that had been depressed before."

By contrast, upstate New York, where fracking is not permitted, "looks more and more like East Germany before the Wall fell," Forbes said.

Forbes, CEO of Forbes Media and a staunch Republican, said a big problem with U.S. energy policy is that President Barack Obama "does not like oil, gas or coal."

"He seems to like windmills, a nice medieval technology," Forbes said.

"The inconvenient truth is that we have not had an increase in temperatures in 15 or 16 years even though we are pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

Public opinion on both the Keystone pipeline in particular and fracking in general is closely divided in some areas.

California residents narrowly oppose hydraulic fracturing, and they also narrowly support construction of the Keystone pipeline, according to a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Of those surveyed, 51 percent opposed the drilling method, while 51 percent also supported the pipeline.

In Quebec, a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in July, killing 47 people last month.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said jobs on both sides of the border would be helped by the pipeline, and that safety concerns would also be eased by it, the CBC reported.

"I think the reality is for anyone who looks at the business is that the absolute, safest way to transport energy products is though pipelines. That's the safest way to go," Harper said.

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