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Other Views: State says Keystone best option

The long-awaited U.S. State Department report on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline confirms what project supporters have been saying for months: A state-of-the-art underground pipeline to carry Alberta tar sands crude oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast is environmentally far safer than all other options available to transport the oil. Moreover, if the pipeline were not built, Canada would find other ways to get oil to market. In other words, the pipeline is the best way to move the oil but is not the only way.

The exhaustive scientific review of the potential environmental effects of Keystone XL was science-based and as dispassionate as possible. Its conclusions expose pipeline opponents' real agenda, which is to stop the use of traditional fossil fuels, no matter the efficacy and efficiency of their use -- and no matter, apparently, if less safe means of using oil result in environmental damage. And such damage would play right into their narrative.

They are, in effect, climate change fear mongers who preach religious-like anti-fossil fuels fervor, rather than acknowledge sound science.

Given the new North American energy landscape, the State Department report is pragmatic and sensible. It gives President Barack Obama the information he needs to approve the pipeline, which he should do as soon as possible. Logically, he can't stall. The report he wanted is done. It says the pipeline is the best option for the environment, to say nothing of jobs and economic activity that will be generated along the construction route. He can either give the OK or listen to environmental extremists, who, this time, are just plain ol' wrong.

Higher ed still not hearing the warnings

Jack McDonald, the North Dakota Newspaper Association's attorney, reminds us that an individual cannot violate the state's open meetings law. Government bodies are responsible.

It was suggested in last week's reporting that higher education Chancellor Hamid Shirvani had violated both the open meetings and open records law. But, as McDonald noted in a message to newspapers, the state Board of Higher Education apparently violated the law. The board, McDonald said, "is an experienced public body, with most of its members having ... experience on the board and complying, or trying to evade, the open meeting law." In other words, the board is culpable, not Shirvani, who is a hired hand.

Now, the board intends to investigate itself regarding the allegations, and it will take two months to get it done. Once again, the higher ed board's arrogance and high-handed behavior is making it easy for critics of the system to do mischief. Board members either acceded to Shirvani's requests for secret meetings, or they instigated the meetings. Either way, they violated the law and thumbed their noses at whatever trust the public still has in the board.

Not smart.