The Keystone XL pipeline is highly vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
At least that's what opponents of the project want you to believe. The proposed oil-sands pipeline has yet to be built, and the Obama administration needs to sign off on the project before it can go forward. But environmentalists are launching a campaign to classify it as a national security threat. The claim opens up a new front in the public-relations arms race over the pipeline — and it's heavy on the hype.
NextGen Climate — an organization backed by billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer — commissioned a report detailing the potential for a terrorist attack on Keystone XL. The assessment is authored by Dave Cooper, a senior operative from the U.S. special forces team that took down Osama Bin Laden.
The report — released Wednesday — does everything it can to gin up anxiety that an attack could occur, but stops short of quantifying the actual risk.
It cites "an uptick in terrorist attacks against energy infrastructure around the world" to emphasize the pipeline's vulnerability. Cooper outlines a number of scenarios to illustrate how the pipeline's northern extension might fall victim to sabotage. And he argues that Keystone's national exposure could increase its chance of becoming a target.