The proposed Keystone oil pipeline would be almost 4,000 kilometers long. It would start in Alberta, cross the southwestern corner of Saskatchewan, enter the U.S. in Montana and continue through South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma before delivering the precious black slime, the viscous semi-fluid that modern civilization is addicted to, to the port in Houston, Texas, where oil companies can make a big profit by shipping it to everywhere else in the world.
Admittedly, those are not America’s favorite tourist states, but they don’t deserve an environmental disaster any more than anybody else does. So, I have an alternative proposal.
Take the same route you were planning to use for the pipeline, 4,000 kilometers long and a couple hundred meters wide, and cover it with solar panels and windmills. Probably mostly windmills as the route goes right through the area famously known as tornado alley, aka Oklahoma and Kansas, but there’s no conflict. Both of them produce energy and, since solar panels are more or less horizontal and windmills totally vertical, they could co-exist, in the same way that an apple tree can co-exist quite peacefully with a field full of dandelions.
Of course, it would be a huge and expensive project, but the pipeline would be, too. In fact, the greatest expense in both cases would probably be the same – the land. It just proves that when the powers that be want to complete a huge and expensive project, they can. When you start talking about doing something good, they start bitching about expenses and technical problems.
Once completed, the solar panels and the windmills (with occasional maintenance) would deliver energy forever. And, since it’s a huge area, it would be a huge amount of energy. The pipeline could only deliver oil until the oil runs out.