Three days after spilling crude oil into Lake Michigan, BP has doubled its spill estimate to between 470 and 1228 gallons. The leak happened at its refinery in Whiting, Ind. Although some of the oil has been cleaned up, it's unclear how much is left in the lake, a drinking water source for about seven million Chicagoans.
After a protracted legal battle and a rash of angry demonstrations and civil disobedience actions along the pipeline route, the southern leg of the Keystone XL is complete, pumping hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude daily from Cushing, OK, to the Gulf -- straight through Julia Trigg Crawford family's farm.
In this first-ever national debate over a pipeline, the arguments are getting heated. So maybe it's a good time to take a couple of steps back to remind ourselves why we care. Just why is this pipeline such a big deal? That question has several answers, but they start with this: It's not about the pipe. It's about what the pipe would carry.
There are plenty of reasons to be against the Keystone XL pipeline. Environmentalists recognize it as the ultimate "bonfire of the vanities" -- planet-wide carbon bonfires. Here is another reason, perhaps the best reason of all: It doesn't do us any good. China, yes. The Koch Brothers (who own the refining capacity that would be used), yes. Us, no.