Controversy of the Keystone Pipeline

Victoria Polinski, Lenses Writer

The Keystone Oil Pipeline system is designed to carry over 800,000 barrels of petroleum per day from oil sands of boreal forests in western Canada to oil refineries and ports along the Gulf Coast of the United States. It was built because this project will increase the heavy crude oil price in the Western stated if the United States and just to transport oil in general. About half of the system is already built. This pipeline runs east from Alberts and south through North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Now, the State Department is reviewing a proposed 1,179-mile-long addition to the pipeline called the “Keystone XL”. This would be a shortcut that would start in Hardisty and Alberta and go diagonally to bisect Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. This addition would connect to the existing pipelines to the Gulf Coast from Steel City, Nebraska. This seems like a great idea with helping the United States with energy supply, but are these pipelines really that great to have?

The Keystone pipelines have many upsides to it. One example is that this pipeline would be a job creator. This could create up to 42,000 jobs, giving that many people a way to support themselves and their families. Another example would be that the Keystone Pipeline can be a major economic contributor. This pipeline is estimated to contribute more than $3 billion annually to the United States economy, and about $2.4 billion US dollars for Canada’s economy. This money would be split up between government, shareholders and company reinvestments. For Canada, this would allow the producers to reserve up to $2 more per barrels from the tar sands oil. This is a large amount of money that would be produced by the pipelines and would help support each country very much. Finally, these pipelines bring about safer transportation than other methods of transportation of oil. The failure rate of trains can be as much as ten percent higher than a pipeline and trailer transports can be over twenty percent higher. The Keystone Pipelines transport oil better than other methods, making it a much safer atmosphere. 

Although there are many upsides to this pipeline, there are also many downsides. Based on the job creator example, this pipeline would support about 42,000 jobs over its two-year construction period,however most of these jobs would be temporary. It is estimated that the pipelines would only provide 35 permanent jobs out of the 42,000. Another example is that this pipeline will still add emissions into the atmosphere. People say that this will cut down on adding harmful gases into the air, but it still adds a lot of them into the air. About 830,000 barrels are transferred through these pipelines per day, and about 181 million tons of carbon dioxide are put into the atmosphere each year. This is a large amount of carbon dioxide going into the air that people breathe in everyday, and can even be harmful. Millions of pounds of carbon are still a bad issue. This also increases global warming, which is a big problem already. Adding to global warming instead of subtracting it had the potential to reduce GDP in the United States up to 2% each year that this pipeline is active. Finally, these pipelines cause oil leakage. These pipelines carry oil-sand petroleum, causing more environmental damage than other standard pipelines leaking. Leakage can cause many problems in the economy such as oil getting into water. 

 Not many people like this Keystone Pipelines or the new attachments. One example that is really impacting this project is the Native Americans. Native American communities are suing the Trump administration for the Keystone Pipelines. They are saying that it failed to adhere to historical treaty bounds and found a way around the environmental impact analysis. They are asking a federal judge in Montana to revoke the permit of these pipelines and block any further construction and use of them. They were very furious about the pipelines, but their protests weren’t effective. The State Department allowed the pipelines to continue to be built in the summertime.