The long-term consequences of the pipeline produce another risk that I have not seen addressed. The investment money to build the pipeline would be better spent developing renewable energy sources. Money removed from developing renewable energy, especially substituted for developing fossil energy sources, reduces our efforts to address the predicted crisis of an overheated earth.
Once the pipeline is functional, the advocacy for further fossil use will be increased because recovery of the expense of constructing the pipeline will be demanded and because more oil will be available. Unfortunately, at this time of financial calamity, the pipeline will most likely be permitted.
The only chance that it won’t be is if the State Department concludes that the long-term consequences of neglecting to act on reducing the driving force of global warming outweighs the short-term benefits of the pipeline and then makes the apparent politically suicidal decision to deny the permit. A vision of mankind as lemmings headed for the cliff and led by America comes to mind.