An article in New York Magazine says MSNBC host Chris Hayes is basing his argument against the extension of the Keystone Pipeline on "two crucial premises" that have both "turned out to be wrong." The piece, published Monday by Jonathan Chait, says Hayes's case for opposing the pipeline that would transport oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is based on two assumptions that are incorrect:
So, we have two empirical premises where Hayes is mistaken. First, the environmental impact of Keystone is far smaller than Hayes implies even if you disregard the conclusion that Canada will find other ways to move the oil. (And if you accept that conclusion, the environmental impact is negligible.) And second, the practical alternative, far from being nonexistent, is actually quite potent.
According to Chait, Hayes's first problem is his belief that, if the pipeline is not extended, the oil that it would transport would remain in the ground. Chait cites the State Department which believes "that blocking the pipeline would simply spur Canada to develop alternate routes for exporting its oil."
The second flawed premise Chait cites is that, with cap and trade legislation having failed to pass through Congress, President Obama would have few other options by which to curb the country's carbon emissions. In fact, Chait says that, since last June, "Obama is unveiling new regulations on greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants".
Those regulations purportedly reduce emissions from 10 to 27 times as many emissions as the Keystone pipeline would introduce.