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Keystone XL will help support terrorism: former Iraq War planner

A retired U.S. Army brigadier general who served as one of the military's top logisticians in Iraq argues that the Keystone XL pipeline will help support terrorists and regimes "that want to kill Americans".

"My experiences in Iraq convinced me that the greatest threat to our security is our over-reliance on oil," Steven M. Anderson wrote recently on The's Congress Blog. "Americans must immediately take steps to cut our petro-addiction before it's too late."

Anderson served as a senior-ranking aide to General David Petraeus during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006 and 2007.

Not only does America's reliance on fossil fuels transfer $1 billion each day to the Middle East, he argues, but military fuel trucks "provide hundreds of convenient rolling targets for our enemy."

Anderson argues that a U.S. government decision to approve Keystone XL "would set back our renewable energy efforts for at least two decades, much to our enemies' delight."

TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline would stretch 3,200 km from Alberta's oil sands to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. Years of protests have transformed the project into a symbol of North America's climate-damaging oil addiction.

Proponents typically argue Keystone XL will improve American security by displacing oil imports from hostile regimes.

But Anderson flips that argument, writing that much of the Canadian oil headed to Texas will be exported to other countries (an analysis TransCanada disputes), keeping the U.S. reliant on Middle Eastern and Venezuelan crude.

"Tar sands oil only maintains the status quo of directly and indirectly helping fund terrorists and rogue nations that want to kill Americans," Anderson argues.

The former brigadier general says that one way to start changing that status quo is by mandating broad reductions in gasoline consumption, some of which could be achieved with more efficient trucks, airplanes and buildings.

President Barack Obama's administration is set to make a decision on Keystone XL by year's end, though a recent Reuters report suggests the date could be pushed back.

Geoff Dembicki reports on energy and climate issues for The Tyee.

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