“Essential” Workers: Building the Keystone XL Pipeline!?

Even though the price of crude oil is at its lowest level since 2002, Governor Steve Bullock of Montana is allowing the Canadian pipeline company TC Energy to begin construction this month on the infamous Keystone XL (for extra-large) oil pipeline in Montana. He has categorized the pipeline as “essential,” and so these workers are exempt from his state-wide, stay-at-home directive.

“Doctor, how about we disinfect the hospital floors with Keystone oil? That’ll kill anything!”

Apparently, although global industry is slowed by COVID-19, and the global market is glutted with cheap oil, the construction of oil pipelines is still considered an “essential service” by the bosses’ politicians and workers are on their way to Montana to work on construction, potentially bringing the virus with them.

The Keystone XL is a pipeline that environmentalists have fought for over a decade. The completed pipeline was designed to transport over 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil (a low-quality very dirty sludge) per day to refineries by the Gulf of Mexico. The impact of burning this oil will essentially let global warming charge ahead with a vengeance.

What is essential here is clearly the future profits of TC Energy, and the rare opportunity to take advantage of the virus confinement of the protesters who have been standing in the way of this project and other pipelines for over a decade. And Governor Steve Bullock is essentially a tool for corporations, propping up a destructive industry we have to oppose, to literally to save life on this planet.

Featured image credit: rblood/Flickr via NRDC