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Keystone Xl Pipeline

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Permitting the Keystone XL Pipeline To Be Built
Anthony Draper
EN 1420

The Keystone Xl pipeline which is a proposed pipeline line that would run from Alberta Canada down through the US to the Gulf Coast should be permitted to be built. It would have a huge positive benefit on the country as a whole. It will provide America with more permanent jobs, economic growth; reduce our dependency on overseas energy, reduce emissions from trucks on the road transporting oil as well as train cars carrying oil. In a country hurting for jobs and some kind of positive economic relief this project can help ease some pains. If our government can waste millions upon millions on failed energy efforts than it can support one that will actually provide jobs and money to this country instead of taking money and not being worth the effort as many of the green initiatives have proven to be.
The main opponents to the pipeline being built are on the environmental side. Their main reasoning is that it will have huge negative impacts on the environment and the areas in which the pipeline will cross through. Now while there is always the possibility of this pipeline having negative impacts on the areas around it but the way those on the environmental side would have attacked it are unjust. They claim it will leave a big carbon footprint and cause too much pollution in the environment. President Obama even made it a point not to permit this from being built until the dangers can be assessed. The State Department investigated and surveyed the probable impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline built and it discovered that the impact from building the pipeline would not be significant because the Canadians will extract the oil either way and find other means to transport the oil (Walsh 2014). Those in the environmental community still were not satisfied and claimed the numbers were wrong. The State department did yet another survey and came up with similar results. Now that the carbon footprint debate has been proven wrong there still has not been a decision made on permitting it being built. There are other arguments made against the pipeline though.
One of these arguments being made is that the oil that is being extracted and transported is extremely corrosive and could corrode the piping and cause leaks and spills that could be detrimental to the environment. The oil being extracted is known as tar sands oil or bitumen which is considered a more dirty type of oil and has to be made into synthetic crude oil in order for it to be considered safe enough to transport. This type of substance is corrosive but only at temperatures over 450 degrees and the oil transported through the pipes will be well below 150 degrees so it will be below the temperature point at which it would be considered corrosive. Plus TransCanada, the company that owns the pipeline, has committed to taking the necessary precautions and following the guidelines that have been presented to them. They will use state of the art procedures and manufacturing techniques and computer programs to ensure that all safety preparations are in place and to ensure they are in compliance with the regulations that have been put in place. The fact that TransCanada has been willing and able to meet these pre requisites that have been placed before them shows me that they are committed to safety and protecting the environment as much as they can. To me that should put the environmentalist naysayers to rest and they should be more willing to accept factual proof and consider the companies willingness to abide by these regulations as a show of good will towards the environment.
The corrosiveness of the oil is being brought up mainly because the pipelines proposed path was going to take it over what is known as the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska which is a large fresh groundwater area where the state and farmers get a majority of their fresh water. Environmentalists believe that a spill would seep into the ground and ruin the water source even though Bitumen, or the sand oil, has less gravity than water so it would float on the top and can be cleaned. Also ground water has natural characteristics that prevent the spread of petroleum type from spreading (Creighton 2012). TransCanada even submitted proposed paperwork to have the pipeline go along another area as to completely bypass the Ogallala Aquifer and still no permit to be built was issued. That’s unfortunate seeing as there is no reason not to issue one.
Transporting oil thru the pipeline to me seems like the most logical way of moving it from point A to point B. It keeps it off our roads traveling by truck and off of train cars. I would much rather it travel via pipeline away from human contact then have it barreling down a highway on a semi-truck or going through neighborhoods on rail car where the risks for human causalities exist. Not to mention the catastrophe if a train derailed full of oil. The amount of damage in a populated area could be reprehensible. Human life is worth more than animal life and we have to treat it as such. Cleaning and containing a spill in an unpopulated area will be far easier than having to do so in a neighborhood. With the pipeline being delayed it is causing more semi-trucks on the road and more trains running oil on tracks which cause more pollution than if it were just transported through the pipeline. In North Dakota alone it has increased truck traffic by 300-500 additional semi-trucks on the road and train transport has gone up more than 46% (Easton 2013). That’s a lot of exhaust being put into the air not to mention all of the gas and energy being used to power those vehicles. How can environmentalist argue that the pipeline will increase the carbon footprint when the pipeline by itself does produce emissions? By them fighting to delay the pipeline they are actually causing more problems for the environment because the oil is just getting transported by other means that are far more deadly to the environment that the pipeline. In a sense they are just contradicting themselves in their effort to help the planet.
Getting past the environmental issues we see that the Keystone XL pipeline will bring in jobs. Not temporary part time jobs that have been plaguing the country but actual permanent jobs that will be here to stay. Above all else I believe this country needs to invest in job growth. The economy has not been in good shape for years and this project has the potential to bring in what is estimated at 42,000 permanent jobs, directly and indirectly to the pipeline, and contribute approximately 3.4 billion to U.S. GDP if implemented (PR, N 2013). That’s a lot of job growth and economic firepower. Something like that can jump start the economy, especially in that area of the country. I’m willing to bet that the unemployed people in that industry would love to be able to get back to work and supporting their families. We have an opportunity to get jobs in this country but the President feels the need to fold under political pressure and delay the permit for the pipeline to be finished. He can dole out millions to green companies that provide no jobs and most have failed leaving tax payers with the bill costing us millions. Even if it were proven to have a bigger negative impact on the environment we should still move ahead on building it because we have a growing population and there is no alternative to oil right now that will support us. We need the oil now and in the foreseeable future and if building this is going to bring in jobs to help support the people of this country then it really is something we need to move forward on. It seems as if there is another reason on why the government won’t go ahead with the permit to build. I don’t see how in a country desperate for jobs and economic growth the government would want to step in and sideline that project. Maybe those in the government have an agenda against this project being built.
I believe government should not be in the middle of letting projects like this that are trying to be built and provide jobs to be halted. A lot of time it seems those in the government are more concerned about appeasing lobbyers than actual American citizens. The president has the sole power to issue trans-border permit that allows projects like this pipeline to be built over our borders. Why does the president have that authority? Shouldn’t that be left up to panel or another agency that actually deals with those types of issues? The president has too many people lobbying in favor of one thing over the other and this is proven when he decided not to issue the permit due to environmentalists concerns that have been debunked and he still hasn’t issued a statement on it. There is even proof that some of the opponents to the pipeline being built have connections to other companies vying to build their own pipeline. Two democratic senators from Virginia and California who are opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline being built because of environmental issues and they actually have money invested in another company that wants to build a similar pipeline (Investors Business 2014). This to me shows that the policies surrounding projects like this need to be reworked to allow a more fair assessment, unlike how it is now that allows those in government who have the power to lobby in congress for something because they have money invested in it. It’s just more corruption that’s robing the people of more access to energy that’s closer to home and will help the economy and help bring in jobs.
In closing the Keystone XL pipeline should be permitted to be built. It’s been proven that it will not leave a significant increase in the carbon footprint and it will bring in jobs that this country needs. I understand the need for cleaner energy but at a time when gas prices are ever increasing and breaking our banks we need to provide ourselves with some kind of relief until we can find that clean energy. Even without this pipeline being built the oil will still be extracted but instead of coming into our country benefitting us it will make its way to other markets leaving us with less energy sources and still relying on overseas energy with no end in sight. We need to force the government to keep their hands out of projects like this that can help the country by limited their power to delay individuals and companies permits to build projects like this will benefit the whole country. In the end this project will not impact the environment like the environmentalist had hope it would and it will bring in a mass amount of jobs and help the struggling economy. If there is a better option it hasn’t been brought to the table or we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

References
Walsh, B. (2014). Report Raises No Major Climate Objections to Keystone Pipeline, But the Choice Is Obama's. Time.Com, 1
PR, N. (2013, March 5). McGarvey Praises State Department's Draft Environmental Impact Statement As Positive Step Toward Keystone XL Approval. PR Newswire US.
Investor's Business, D. (2014, February 21). A Keystone Conflict Of Interest. Investors Business Daily. p. A14
Easton, N. (2013). KEYSTONE XL AND THE DARK SIDE OF GREEN. Fortune, 168(7), 92.
(NE-2), C. (2012). KEYSTONE XL: THE PIPELINE TO ENERGY SECURITY. Creighton Law Review, 4661

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