Well, not exactly the Keystone XL pipeline, but it’s what happens when the environmentalists and President Barack Hussein Obama blocked the real thing. We have noted previously that the oil companies weren’t waiting for the pipeline to be approved, but were going ahead to supply the oil that a modern industrialized society needs, moving oil by rail, with the most predictable of consequences.
Hazardous material placard number 1267 indicates that the cargo is crude oil. Click to enlarge.
There have been lines of dozens, perhaps over a hundred, new looking rail cars sitting on sidings in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, over the past few weeks. I did not know what they contained, until I got close enough to read the hazardous material placard. Hazardous Material Placard #1267 indicates that he cargo is crude oil. These photographs were taken from the parking lot of the Jim Thorpe Market, which is beside one of the railroad lines along the Lehigh River. There are breaks in the lines of these tanker cars, for the access to the water treatment plant and the construction site for the new Jim Thorpe bridge. There is a line of cars on the other side of the river as well, and these lines extend out of sight, around bends in the river.
This rail tanker car appears to be brand new. The label on the end states that the capacity is 25,560 gallons. Click to enlarge.
This is one of the cars; the ones close enough for me to see appear to be new. One section of the line of cars that I can see from US 209 coming down Mansion House Hill is painted differently, being primarily white rather than black. They could be reconditioned cars rather than new, or provided by a different manufacturer, but, absent hiking down the rail line, I do not know.
But what they provide is the physical evidence of what we have said would happen: the manufacturing jobs that were not created due to the failure to build the Keystone XL pipeline have been created in other industries, the building of new tanker cars for one. Different people got the jobs than would have had the pipeline been approved, but they were good jobs nevertheless.
Line of new oil tanker railcars extending around the curve and out of sight, northwest under the old Jim Thorpe bridge, and into the Lehigh Gorge State Park, at Glen Onoko.
What the environmentalists did not stop was the use of oil to fuel our nation. Oh, they’ve made it more expensive — meaning: the left caused the greatest harm to the poor people they claim to champion — because it costs more to ship by rail, and they’ve made things more dangerous, because shipment by rail is inherently more hazardous, but they didn’t do one thing to reduce our dependence on petroleum. We will still use oil and gasoline and diesel, because we need the energy which can be obtained from petroleum for much of our infrastructure, manufacturing and economy.
We would all like the Star Trek future, where energy is inexpensive and completely clean, but that future isn’t here yet. The Pennsylvania Solar Park outside of Nesquehoning contributes a little bit to our energy needs, but, realistically, just a little bit. The average annual electricity consumption in Pennsylvania is 10.54 megawatt hours (MWh) per home, and with the Solar Park’s listed annual production of 14,000 MWh, the 55-acre Solar Park can power a whopping 1,328 homes per year. We can produce some clean, renewable energy, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to our actual needs. Your Editor certainly hopes that the energy production from clean and renewable sources can be increased dramatically, but if that happens, it won’t be anytime soon.
This is the real problem with the environmentalists: they are so short-sighted and single-minded that they are hurting their own cause. By stopping the Keystone XL pipeline, they didn’t reduce the consumption of petroleum in our economy, but they stopped a more efficient and safer means of oil transportation from being built. Because locomotives are powered by diesel engines, they have actually increased the amount of petroleum being used, and CO2 and other gasses being emitted, than would have been the case had the pipeline been approved and built. We need to be sensible about our environment and our economy, and recognize that while it always makes sense to try to do things cleanly, it never makes sense to be stupid about it.