With the recent release of the US State Department's report on the Keystone XL pipeline, there's little question that opponents of the pipeline can feel the ground shrinking under them. They're a minority in the American voix populi, and increasingly the facts do not favour their position.
If a recent interview with former Obama administration Green Jobs Czar Van Jones is any indication, they've come up with something of a novel solution to the latter problem: simply show up with their own facts.
For example, during the CNN interview, Jones insists that oilsands oil is corrosive. As it turns out, studies have indicated that this is false. This was a conclusion reached as early as 2011 by Alberta Innovates. Alberta Innovates is actually a government-owned research corporation, so it might not necessarily be unfair to question those results. Not so a year later when researchers commissioned by the federal government reached the same conclusion. So much less so this year when Britain's Penspen Integrity confirmed the results of the original study.
In fact, the most corrosive oil is sour oil -- oil featuring a high mixture of hydrogen sulphide gas -- and oilsands oil is not sour oil.
Secondly, Jones insists that the contents of the Keystone XL pipeline wouldn't be oil at all, but rather "tarsands." Almost seeming as if Albertans would be simply digging oilsands up and shoveling it as-is into the pipeline; a tacitly absurd proposition. To be far more accurate than Jones has chosen to be, the bitumen transported is synthetic crude oil.
Third, Jones' insistence that Canada has halted export of oilsands synthetic crude to the east and the west is also completely false. In 2012, Enbridge was given the greenlight to reverse the flow of its line 9 pipeline. Once the reversal takes place, it will transport oil sands oil as far east as Montreal. Moreover, transport of oil sands oil to the west has taken place for decades via Kinder Morgan's Transmountain Pipeline.
Fourth is Jones' claim that without additional pipeline capacity that the oilsands would remain in the ground. Again, false. The United States is already a prolific customer of oilsands synthetic crude. What they don't receive via existing pipelines is instead transported by rail. (Which, for the record, is far less safe than transportation via pipeline.)
Fifth and most fallacious is Jones' claim that the synthetic crude transported as far as the Gulf of Mexico will be sold to China, and not a drop of it to the United States. This claim can be demonstrated false on the basis of simple geography. The Gulf of Mexico, after all, is on the east coast of the United States. The most direct route to China is to travel west.
Van Jones is certainly entitled to his own opinions. There's no question about that. What he and his cohorts are not entitled to are their own facts.