To Build or Not to Build Keystone XL Pipeline – TransCanada Corporation (USA) (TRP): Phillips 66 (PSX), Valero Energy Corporation (VLO)

To build or not to build
While the State Department report’s conclusions raise the probability that the Obama administration will authorize the controversial pipeline, environmentalist opposition remains a major and growing challenge. Groups like Bill McKibben’s 350.org continue to gain momentum in rallying support against Keystone, whose construction, they suggest, would contribute to a higher global temperature.

But if the State Department study is correct in its assertion that rejecting Keystone would not have a meaningful impact on drilling activity in Alberta’s oil sands and, hence, on the level of greenhouse gas emissions, then does it really make sense to deny a pipeline that would bring hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day to our refiners and help us reduce our dependence on foreign imports of heavy crude oil?

Look, I’m not denying that climate change is real; the freak weather events of the past few years have been enough to convince me. I also agree with climate change campaigners that raising the Earth’s temperature by more than two degrees Celsius would likely have disastrous consequences.

But the bottom line is that the world needs oil and Canada has tons of it. If Keystone gets rejected, oil sands operators would probably just expand their use of rail and barge to ship oil to the U.S. and/or find entirely new markets for their product.

So is it really in the United States’ best interest to forgo the economic benefits (admittedly temporary) and greater energy security (also admittedly short-term) that Keystone XL would provide? What do you think?

The article To Build or Not to Build Keystone XL Pipeline originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Arjun Sreekumar.

Fool contributor Arjun Sreekumar has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.