17 February 2015
Keystone XL Pipeline: Drawbacks and Benefits The current Keystone pipeline, running from Alberta, Canada to Texas and Illinois, was approved by former President George W. Bush in 2008. The existing Keystone pipeline has been operating since 2010 and according to Noah Greenwald of the Huffington Post, it has leaked at least 14 times including one spill of 24,000 gallons. The proposed pipeline will cross Yellowstone River as well as Platte River, which are two important rivers in Montana and Nebraska. On the other hand, the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the United States. Constructing the pipeline could create thousands of jobs, mainly in construction and those jobs are also temporary. Environmentalists will argue that the Keystone XL Pipeline is not safe; it is bad for climate, health environment, and lastly, the economy. America has taken huge steps toward building a clean energy future, anti-pipeline people, democrats, and environmentalists are saying the Keystone XL Pipeline is actually a step backwards from America’s progress to investing safe and renewable sources of energy. Pipeline supporters can argue many things in favor of the proposed pipeline route. The XL pipeline is a much safer route than other options; currently oil has been coming into the United States by railroad, unfortunately that is more prone to dangerous events. The United States has been looking for ways to reduce their independence on foreign oil and creating the Keystone XL pipeline will help America take a step forward to being dependent. TransCanada, a North American energy company, says the new pipeline route will create 9,000 jobs for both men and women. Reducing foreign oil/energy dependency has been on Obama’s agenda during his two terms. Republicans, as well as Democrats, say the U.S. has taken a positive route on achieving this goal. In 2011, Obama suggested a goal for the nation to reduce oil imports by one third in 9 years and then later, in 2012, changed that goal to one half. Net petroleum imports fell by one third since 2008 to the lowest it has ever been in 20 years; imports continue to fall as of 2013. The Keystone XL Pipeline will help us produce at home oil and/or gas, which will keep us on track with the President’s national goal. If America became less dependent on foreign imports it will create more American jobs, add to our national income and lessen our trade deficit. The United States will also see faster growth and issue higher standards of living. Continuing with the plan, America’s tremendous gas and oil production will lower our nation’s trade deficit (Furman, Gene).
According to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics, pipelines are 451 times safer than rail on a per-mile basis. For three quarters of a century, pipelines have been used to transport American natural gas or oil. John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Co., says crude oil in tankers weighs 96 tons and its contents are volatile under certain conditions. Train rails are thin, as are train car wheels, and other factors such as age of the rails, construction, wear and tear, and weather are all huge risks of train derailment. The tracks are always exposed to a breakdown. Trucks also have similar risks, including traffic and highway conditions. Human factors are another huge risk with the trucks that haul the crude oil. Pipelines are not completely safe but it is safer than trains and trucks. The U.S. State Department reports, if the Keystone XL Pipeline is not built then it may result in an average of six rail-related deaths per year. Pipeline supporters are against transporting by train because of the high risk factors that are included; in the summer of 2013, an oil train derailment killed 47 people in Lac Megantic, Quebec. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) showed there was 16, 946 injuries and 2,228 fatalities reported for all…