Posted: 30 May 2012 10:37 AM PDTCould the fate of a pipeline prove decisive in the U.S. presidential election? So far, the proposed Keystone XL pipeline connecting Canada and Texas is central to a Republican strategy of tarring President Obama as an economically clueless tree-hugger oblivious to the jobless multitude.
Yet should energy pipelines assume gigantic, life-like proportions in the public imagination? Whether or not they should, they have been doing so for a couple of decades now. In the 1990s, the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline linking the Caspian and Mediterranean seas was treated by its advocates and opponents as a life-and-death struggle. So it has been in recent years over competing proposed natural gas pipelines connecting Europe to Russia and Central Asia -- Nord Stream, South Stream and Nabucco.
Now we have Keystone XL, a proposal by TransCanada for a 1,700-mile-long pipeline that would carry some 700,000 barrels a day of bitumen to Gulf of Mexico refineries.
Yet, while American pols go on and on theatrically about Keystone, it is instructive how calmly the Canadians handle the issue.