Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Keystone: Still Kicking


I started using the Keystone XL pipeline as an intro to this class years ago, and I figured I'd change it to some other environmental issue as the years went by, but somehow it manages to stay in the news and avoid resolution. In today's news, Democrats in the Senate seem to have forced Mitch McConnell to allow another round of amendments to be considered. The first round included a landmark vote in which the Senate, including James Inhofe of Oklahoma who long denied the reality of climate change, acknowledged that "climate change is real." They couldn't get the votes to attribute the cause of climate change to human activity, though. Well, I suppose we should be pleased with baby steps.

Oops, and another entry. Just spotted this blog entry from natural resources economist David Zilberman, who teaches in the program I graduated from. He recommends that Democrats agree to the Keystone Pipeline if Republicans agree to a 50 cent gas tax or a smaller carbon tax. That's an interesting proposal: it's a total non-starter politically (can you imagine if the unified Republican Congress's first product included a 50 cent gas tax?!) but it points out some better solutions than just slowing the development of this one project.

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