The Keystone Pipeline Debate

Feb 26, 2013

There have been many controversies surrounding the Keystone Pipeline, especially focusing on the Keystone XL project, which is still in heavy debate. The Keystone pipeline, which is incorporated and registered in both the U.S. and Canada, transports synthetic crude oil and diluted bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada to multiple destinations in the United States.

Since Canada is already the largest foreign supplier of oil to the U.S., those in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion believe the choice is a no brainer. The Keystone XL pipeline will link new sources of oil to refineries in the Mid-West and Texas. It will also help create thousands of jobs at a time when Americans need it most. Individuals opposed to the pipeline however, express environmental concerns, including habitat destruction and oil spills

Across the country, thousands of protestors picketed the Keystone XL pipeline, claiming that if a minor spill were to happen it would cause years of environmental issues. People opposed to the pipeline are pleading for President Obama to reject the proposed pipeline, referencing his stance on global warming. Environmental effects, including land and water pollution, are considered are one of the largest drawbacks of the pipeline. During debates, TransCanada agreed to obey 57 special conditions to prevent leaks, such as carbon dioxide releases, from occurring. Although these are legitimate concerns, there are many pipelines currently crossing the U.S./Canadian border that have been operating with little to no problems for years.

When construction starts on the pipeline, there will be approximately 20,000 jobs created for construction and operations specialists in the United States, benefiting the states that the pipeline travels through. These jobs are expected to increase the personal revenue of American workers by $6.5 billion. For example, Texas is expected to see $2.3 billion in additional revenue, and up to 50,300 additional jobs as a result of the pipeline. The completion of the pipeline is expected to supply 5% of the current petroleum demand for the United States, and represent 9% of all petroleum imports. The pipeline will help provide the United States with a stable source of petroleum.

Even with new technology, oil discoveries, alternative fuels, and conservation efforts, the U.S. will continue to seek new methods of energy production. Some people believe that discoveries, such as the Canadian oil sands, have the potential to unlock alternative methods of energy extraction and lessen the reliance on foreign suppliers.

For more information on the Keystone XL Pipeline please reference the links below:

- Susy Kustra