Better to take that seven billion and turn it into refinery capacity on the U.S.-Canadian border. A northern refinery could process North Dakota's crude, as well as the billions of barrels in the oil sands of Canada. The alternative is an ugly mass of steel snaking through the heart of the nation, despoiling rivers, aquifers, delicate ecosystems, and some of the the most scenic vistas on Earth.
Look at the Alaskan pipeline. I has become an eyesore - a rusting, leaking hulk. Want another one straddling the middle of America? Pipelines are not progress. They are relics waiting to happen - so yesterday, (and so unfriendly.) There is no pipeline anywhere that improves the environment it passes through, nor pleases the people it passes by. Only the oil companies - the corporate giants who have no romance in them except it be hard currency - see beauty in such a coiling mass of regressive engineering.
The oil executive will throw dollars to the locals whose lives they despoil - dollars that will dissipate in the once clean air that now carries the stench of oil across a thousand miles. These are dollars their children and grandchildren will never see, vanished like the vistas they will only see in pictures.
Mr. Obama, reject the Keystone Pipeline; save America that unnecessary destruction. Then, build a refinery on North Dakota's far northern border. Let the only pipeline be the one that runs across Canada, and only a few miles across America to its newest refinery.