Washington D.C. President Barack Obama on November 10, 2011 rejected the construction proposal for the Keystone XL Pipeline by sending it back for further review. He cited possible climate changes and where the pipeline would be built for the reasons he sent it back.
The next time the pipeline would be up for review will be in 2013 after the Presidential election. If the pipeline were to pass, the new completion date of the construction could be sometime in 2015.
With the pipeline rejected TransCanada will have to find other way to get the Tar Sands oil to refineries. One of the ways is to send the oil to China.
If TransCanada sends the oil to China, jobs are the biggest loss for the United States. This could have given the economy the boost it needs. This pipeline could have been built while the U.S. is trying to go green; with the $7 billion oil pipeline on hold the U.S. is no closer to solving our oil problem.
The 1,661 mile long Keystone XL pipeline would travel down the center of the United States and end in Texas. The construction of the pipeline could become a concern.
The pipe that will be used in the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would come from a pipe manufacturing company out of India. This is the same company that supplied the pipe for the Keystone One pipeline which has been plagued with spills. When it comes to spills, the pipeline was forecasted with one spill for every seven years, but in fact the pipeline has seen 12 spills in less than one year. A record like that could mean big disaster in the United States.
As most of the Keystone One pipeline spills were only a few gallons, there were a few measured in barrels. The worst was 500 barrels (21,000 gallons) of oil spilled on to the ground in Brampton, North Dakota on May 16, 2011.
If a spill were to happen it could ruin land in six states and several rivers like the Red River and Yellowstone that towns rely on. The people who live near the pipeline would be caught between the trouble of cleaning it up or leaving. The Keystone XL would cross a major aquifer and with that there are dangers, but there are already pipelines that cross the aquifer; what is one more?
The reason why the pipeline has so much opposition is that the oil from Tar Sands is heavy crude. Heavy crude is harder to refine than the other oil. One step in the process of refinement is the use of water (another natural resource). Just to get one barrel of oil it takes three barrels of water oil, according to Friends of the Earth. This is one of the reasons why protesters took to the streets in Washington DC.
The 1,253 people who were arrested in Washington DC of this year feel that the risk is so great that jail is worth stopping the pipeline from getting built. Advocates against the Keystone XL Pipeline vow that if the proposal comes up again they will protest against it. They believe the project is not worth the risk that the pipeline proposes.
The amount of oil that would be pumped to refineries is not the debate; it’s the impact on the environment. The United States needs to become less reliant on Middle East oil. One way for that to happen would be to build the pipeline and start drilling. Sometimes taking a few steps back could create a hug step forward.
- U.S. majority supports controversial Keystone XL pipeline project: poll (vancouversun.com)
- Nebraska gives pipeline firm map of areas to avoid (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- The Fight Over Keystone XL Now Has A 60-Day Deadline (thinkprogress.org)