One of the things that makes understanding government policy hard is that it is couched in terms where the alternatives are left unsaid.
Case in point: Obama's opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. This week he blocked it once more.
Obama (and many others) would have you believe that this is a yes/no choice on the pipeline; and they don't like oil pipelines, so "no" makes sense.
But it isn't that sort of choice at all. Transporting oil is legal. So the choice is between transporting oil through a pipeline ... or transporting by tanker truck or tanker train.
No offense intended ... but think about the sort of person that will be driving those. And recognize that humans make mistakes.
So, Obama has decided that he'd rather have oil transported by overworked, underpaid, less-skilled people who we have to drug test regularly.
And he won't make the connection, but I will: he also wants this to happen:
See all that gray area in the middle? You can't miss it ... it's several city blocks in size.
That's a recent satellite view of the Lac-Megantic derailement site.You can see the tracks curving in from the top left, and then splitting in the top middle. The runaway train didn't make that turn.
It's gray because the fire was so bad the ground was burned. Thirty buildings are gone, and over thirty that are in this photo are scheduled to be demolished due to fire damage. Forty-seven people died. They only found 42 bodies. They suspect 5 people were vaporized the fire was so bad. They're still identifying body parts, and still have two to go.
This is what happens when you choose rail (or truck) transport instead of pipelines. You know — the old labor-intensive technology over the new capital-intensive technology.
Of course, this happened in Canada. It could never happen in America. Except that it did happen. Last week. No one died. This time.