The Keystone XL Pipe Dream

green fieldSo what’s all the humdrum about the Keystone XL pipeline, you say? Why is there such a huge fuss about a pipeline?

Well for starters, there is this company called TransCanada. They are one of the leading natural gas transmission companies in North America.

Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world, trailing behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. However, most of their crude oil is stored in tar sands.

TransCanada wants to build this pipeline, Keystone XL, from Alberta so as to transport their tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast, namely Texas. The pipe will run through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and end in Texas. It is estimated to be able to send about 800,000 barrels of oil a day.

So what’s the big deal, again?

Tar sands are dirty fuel. It is 15-19% more greenhouse intensive than conventional fuel.

TransCanada has another Keystone pipeline that has SPILLED 14 TIMES during the first year of operation, even though leaks are supposedly “rare” in the industry. Not only is this a dirty fuel source, tar sands are even harder to clean when spilled because of their natural tendency to stick to surfaces. Guess where all of this oil has (with the first Keystone) and will potentially spill…in America of course. Into our ecosystems, destroying our freshwater sources, hurting our farmers and agricultural systems.

How are we benefiting? Let me count what we’ve got so far. Dirty, crude form of energy that has a tendency to spring massive leaks that dump hundreds of thousands of raw tar sands into our freshwater systems and ruin people’s lives and destroy natural habitats, not to mention the MASSIVE amounts of greenhouse emissions (by some estimates “the total carbon pollution impacts of Keystone XL then increase to over 9 million cars on the road when considering the total emissions to produce tar sands and the combustion of petroleum coke.”)

An additional note, on August 8th, the New York Times reported that, since June, there was an oil sand (tar sand, I’ve read both so I am assuming these are interchangeable) spill in Alberta that spilled 280,022 gallons of oil across 51 acres!!! And we want to bring this into America? Umm…Canada, get your act together!

Mind-blowing yet?

Wasn’t one of President Obama’s reelection platforms the preservation of our environment for future generations? In fact, he stated that protecting the environment was of national interest. The reason for his skepticism on deciding the matter is because he is unsure if it will exacerbate the environmental issues we already have.

But you ask, what about job creation? Won’t we get Americans working?

Think again! This project is estimated to only provide about 3,900 construction jobs (temporary, I should add) and fewer than 100 permanent jobs. Of those temporary jobs, only a small percentage will be filled by the local people.

Now the argument for less oil consumption from Arab countries and Venezuela because of Canadian sand oil is complicated, both on one side you have people saying that Canada will be putting this oil on the international market while others say that this could potentially be America’s way to ween off of the oil from the other countries. But I feel I’ve covered plenty of information above that it’s not necessary to get into the the economics of the Keystone XL decision.

To wrap up this discussion, I’d like to say it is for these very reasons that America needs to focus on clean energy. Solar, wind, geothermal, hydro energy sources are available! If we fund the science and the researchers and potential PhD students interested in these sorts of projects, imagine where we could be. We could create a cheap, RENEWABLE, CLEAN energy source and begin to pull away from all the nonsense. There might not have been an Operation Desert Storm, the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and, possibly, the Syria crisis. If we don’t need to protect our energy interests abroad, and the oil fields of the Persian Gulf were designated by the American government as being of “vital national interest,” because we have clean renewable energy at home, the world could possibly be a better and cleaner place to live for generations to come.

I’d like to end with this final joke.

“Keystone XL Pipeline will be the safest and most advanced pipeline operation in North America. It will not only bring essential infrastructure to North American oil producers, but it will also provide jobs, long-term energy independence and an economic boost to Americans,” according to Keystone XL’s site.

Ha. Ha.


Let me know where you stand! Leave a comment below!

Against KXL

For”-ish” (but not exactly) KXL

NYTimes pipeline chronology:


One response to “The Keystone XL Pipe Dream

  1. Pingback: Down South, sunshine can be a commodity | Keep Earth Alive·

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