A proposed pipeline would cart the dirtiest of dirty fuels through America's heartland.
From extraction to processing to shipping to combustion, tar sands are far and away the dirtiest form of all fuels. It demands enormous amounts of energy to simply extract and then process into crude that can move through a pipeline. It has a 20-percent larger carbon footprint (PDF) than plain old dirty oil. And it leaves toxic wastelands wherever the sands are removed.
Right now, there's a proposal sitting at the State Department for a giant pipeline that would transect the country, carrying dangerous, toxic tar sands oil 1,661 miles from Alberta, Canada, all the way down to refineries on the Texas and Louisiana coasts. It's called the Keystone XL pipeline, and it's obviously enormously controversial. We'll be following the Keystone XL story very closely, over coming months, so consider this just an introduction.