Originally lauded as a jobs creator and a friendly source of energy, the Canadian pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska has become a source of controversy, with environmentalists crying foul. However, the facts of the matter say otherwise.
What Is the Keystone XL?
The Keystone XL pipeline would stretch from a proposed point of origin in Alberta’s oil sands in the north to the Gulf of Mexico in the south, according to Argonne National Laboratory, linking up with a pre-existing pipeline in Nebraska that follows a more direct route.
The original Keystone pipeline, approved by President George W. Bush in 2008, shares the same source and destination as the XL line. And according to the original proposal, the conduit would also be supplied by additional oil from Canada.
Expected to transport some 830,000 barrels of oil a day, the pipeline would total 1,179 miles in distance upon completion. The scale of the project has apparently given some environmentalists cause for alarm.
These critics believe that the Keystone pipeline will generate additional carbon emissions responsible for global warming and that this method of extraction will require more energy than other means of transport, like rail.
However, a recently issued report by the State Department states that, whether the operation is vetoed or not, it will not have a “significant” effect on greenhouse-gas emissions. The fact of the matter is, regardless of the decision, Albertan oil will appear on the market, either by rail or through the pipeline.
As the funding of the project will be shared by oil-shipping organizations like TransCanada, the U.S. government would not face a real financial burden by leading construction on the Keystone proposal. Moreover, construction on the pipeline promises to provide jobs to thousands of Americans, a real opportunity for our still-recovering economy.
The Keystone XL would also transport American oil, albeit on a smaller scale than the Canadian quota.
It’s worth noting that Canada is already engaged in exporting 550,000 barrels of oil a day to the U.S. market through the existing TransCanada Keystone Oil Pipeline, and oil exploration efforts are continuing across Alberta’s vast landlocked area.
Given these circumstances, it’s hardly a reach to argue that the increased oil production and transport that the proposed pipeline would end up producing huge dividends for the U.S. economy.
What’s more, the environmental issues cited by the pipeline’s critics can be easily offset by responsible business practices. And there are numerous, smart solutions that extraction companies can choose from to demonstrate their use of best practices in this time of controversy.
For example, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. is recognized as one of the leaders in assessing and treating unstable soil and ensuring compliance with regulatory guidelines. By combating the environmental risks of such an undertaking as the Keystone, those behind the project can effectively silence the loudest critics.
What Are Americans Saying?
Americans are overwhelmingly behind this venture, as the need to put food on the table is more pressing than the environmental concerns some are voicing with an undeniably essential fuel source for which no viable alternative currently exists.
Republicans in Congress are of a similar mindset, claiming that the Keystone pipeline will provide jobs, promote economic growth, and lower energy costs. Politically, this issue presents President Obama with one of the most difficult conundrums of his tenure, yet his administration would be unwise to succumb to unfounded criticisms and unwarranted hysteria.
What Are Neighbors For?
Creating this ancillary outlet will enhance a price war that would reduce the cost of oil worldwide, thus lowering our dependence on Venezuelan and Saudi Arabian oil and strengthening ties with our neighbors and allies. Such a project will in turn lower energy costs for American consumers — an outcome few can argue with.
What Will the Final Outcome Be?
Despite imminent congressional approval, according to the New York Times, President Obama has vowed to veto the Keystone bill. If he really does claim to act in the interest of all Americans, however, he would do well to reconsider his position, as he has the opportunity to establish a legacy of acting in the best interests of the American public and the nation’s economy.
The advantages of the Keystone pipeline are obvious and the drawbacks, to put it mildly, are dubious. America, in its drive to become energy independent, simply cannot afford such vacillations.
(Image credit: Shannon Ramos/flickr)