To the editor:
I really appreciated getting to hear Tony Horwitz discuss his new book, “Boom: Oil, Money, Cowboys, Strippers and the Energy Rush that Could Change America Forever.” The Lawrence Public Library staff on Monday night arranged it by Skype here in Lawrence.
Horwitz’s book is a record of his 4,000-mile trip to find out what the Keystone XL pipeline is doing to people and our land.
I have been bothered ever since I heard Horwitz. There are a few good things: The U.S. will soon become the largest oil producer in the world, which means energy independence. The oil booms in North Dakota and Alberta, Canada, have created many jobs.
There are many negatives to the oil booms, however. To name some briefly: oil spills, devastated landscapes, flaring off of natural gas (wasted), oil train derailments, crime in boom towns, fear of oil companies claiming eminent domain and ruined farmlands.
The XL pipeline already runs through Kansas. The Kansas Legislature gave these oil companies a 12-year exemption from paying local property taxes in those counties where the pipeline exists. So those counties have the infrastructure expenses that could have been helped by property taxes. I can’t figure that one out.
The oil problem is not going away and is so complex. We all need to know more about how it affects us as a nation.