By Jonathan Alter
“I’ll get us that oil from Canada,” Mitt Romney said  in his victory speech after the Michigan primary. He was referring to Keystone XL, the crude-oil pipeline that has become a top-tier campaign issue for Republicans.
Problem is, the tar-sands oil in that pipeline wouldn’t be coming to “us.” It would go directly from Canada to refineries in the Gulf region en route to export markets in Latin America and Europe. The U.S. would be used as little more than a transit corridor.
We’ve heard a lot about groundwater contamination near the completed portions of the pipeline — more than a dozen spills of the highly corrosive oil, including one near Kalamazoo, Michigan, that they can’t seem to clean  up. Conservative Nebraskans became greens overnight when they learned the details of the project that will go through their state.
But the immediate effect of completing the Keystone pipeline (perhaps by 2015) is more surprising and counterintuitive. … Read More