Editor’s note: This letter is in response to a guest commentary about energy written by Sen. Roy Blunt.

Sen. Roy Blunt does not tell the whole truth about America’s energy resources. We are one of the world’s five top exporters of coal, and those leases on federal lands in the West will not expire for another 25 years.

The Keystone Pipeline poses a serious environmental hazard to all the states it will go through, including Missouri. Every pipeline ever built is capable of breaking, and our precious water and lands are at risk to support a Canadian operation that requires the removal of 4 tons of earth from above tar sands for every barrel of oil that must be processed. It means that huge amounts of water and heat — which emit large amounts of greenhouse gases — are needed to turn this produce into a transportable form of very viscous and heavy crude oil.

The Canadian companies will put our land and water at risk if the pipeline is allowed to reach the Mississippi for oil refineries in the Gulf. Sen. Blunt should be protecting our country and supporting President Joe Biden in our slow transition away from fossil fuels. But, unfortunately, dirty coal will remain part of our energy grid for decades to come.

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin is a member of the Sustainable Environmental Advisory Committee for the city of St. Joseph.

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