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BOOM: Oil, Money, Cowboys, Strippers, and…
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BOOM: Oil, Money, Cowboys, Strippers, and the Energy Rush That Could…

by Tony Horwitz

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161615,960 (3.5)5

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"Boom" is a sometimes interesting look at the politics and people behind the much maligned Keystone Pipeline that is still, after five years, not approved by the U.S. government. The pipeline has become little more than a political football that is likely to be kicked around for at least as long as the current president remains in office.

In the meantime, oil producers in Canada and the American West are forced to use means of transportation for their oil (rail and trucks) that are more risky to the environment and to the safety of ordinary Americans than moving the new production by pipeline is likely ever to be. The oil is going to be produced and moved; it is only a question of how that happens and how much of it makes its way to American refineries rather than to the dirtier Chinese ones.

Horwitz focuses almost exclusively on the anti-pipeline arguments put forth by environmentalists and a handful of landowners who simply do not want anyone to encroach upon their lands for any reason. Admittedly, these landowners and environmentalists make some legitimate points. And it is hard to disagree with their premise - especially when only one side of the story is being presented in detail. The author does interview many who believe in the pipeline's construction, but he usually "taints" their thoughts by his subtle/sometimes not so subtle implications that the arguments are being presented for selfish reasons on the parts of those expressing them.

"Boom" would have been a better book if the author had carried on his tour to where the pipeline will someday end, those refineries in Texas that are already preparing to produce the gasoline and other products that will run America for decades to come. There is much enthusiasm down there for the new jobs and higher wages that the pipeline will deliver to Southeast Texas along with all the shale oil.

As written, the scale tips a little to heavily to one side of the argument to make it very thought provoking. Rated at: 2.5 ( )
1 vote SamSattler | Oct 3, 2014 |
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