The Effects of the Keystone XL Pipeline

What is the Keystone XL Pipeline? We’ve all heard about it in the news at some point, but does the average American honestly understand what exactly it is and what it’ll do? It’s actually a planned extension off of the existing Keystone Pipeline System that runs through Canada and the US. If built by Keystone owner TransCanada, the XL Pipeline would run from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada to Steele City Nebraska and join the already-built Keystone Pipeline. That means around 830,000 barrels of oil could be transported every day. There has been much opposition to the XL pipeline, but if built, this Pipeline will affect the American environment and economy with mutual positive and negative aspects.

I first became aware of this subject two years ago in my environmental science class. I had to write a research paper on the pipeline and that’s when I found out what the pipeline will do and the kind of effects it will have. Fast forward to now, I have become interested in writing about this once again because of my minor in journalism and the news of Donald Trump’s executive memorandums to revive the construction of the pipeline after Obama rejected it back in 2015.

According to my first article, by Peter Baker titled Trump Revives Keystone Pipeline Rejected by Obama, Obama rejected the pipeline because he believed “it would undercut American leadership in curbing the reliance on carbon energy.” During his presidency, Obama heavily focused on fighting climate change and wants America to lead the path to using alternative forms of energy. It was also reported by the same article that Trump, “made clear on the campaign trail that he saw Mr. Obama’s environmental policies as a threat to the economy and dismissed climate change as a hoax perpetrated by China.” Trump believes the Pipeline will help the economy by creating many jobs and expand energy resources. He does not believe in climate change and thinks the pipeline will only help America rather than hurt it.

I think this topic deserves further exploration because of the impact the XL Pipeline will have on the environment and the economy if it is allowed to be built. But, according to my next article by Clifford Krauss titled Keystone XL Pipeline: A new Opening, but What Lies Ahead?, “The pipeline still has a long way to go before it can be built….President Trump wants to renegotiate the pipeline deal on better terms for the United States — including the possibility of requiring American-made pipes — and TransCanada’s response remains uncertain. Any deal, however, will surely be challenged in the courts and by vigorous local civil disobedience.” The Keystone XL Pipeline has always been controversial and now that there is a possibility for it to actually be built once again, it is surely going to be challenged as hard as it was a few years ago. That surely means there will be more news on this topic in the coming months; meaning there will be a lot of research on why or why it shouldn’t be built if a deal is made.

From this topic, I am hoping to learn more about the environment and more about investigative writing. I am minoring in journalism and an issue as big as this seems like something worth doing research on. The XL Pipeline has the potential to change the environment, more so possibly for the worst and has economic effects that are still being debated. Both of these are of interest to the nation and deserve to be reported on.

This topic may be uncomfortable for more conservative parties who support the oil business industry, but to me, I am open to everything this topic has to offer. I believe this is important to every environmentalist and business person in America as they should be in the know of where the environment/economy will shift with the Pipeline’s construction. It is easy to be informed of some facts like the pipeline’s potential to leak into water sources or an increase in jobs, but not everyone knows which reservoir the oil could leak into and the lack of stability of the jobs created will have.

A doubt I have on this topic is the possibility that the pipeline does not end up being built. TransCanada has already reapplied for permit but it has to approved by the State Department first, which doesn’t guarantee the Pipeline’s construction. This is not a bad thing in itself but if rejected, my topic would become a hypothetical situation rather than something that could/will happen.

In sum, the Keystone Access Pipeline is a controversial topic considering that the public is divided over its construction because of its effects. One one hand, according to Keystone XL Pipeline…, “The project would yield thousands of construction jobs — accounting for the support of several powerful unions — and a demand for equipment, lodging and food.” This would be very good for the economy and bring an increase in employment. But on the other hand, going by the same source, “it could leak and damage local water supplies, and they [environmentalists] contend that the project would expand the extraction of oil sands, a heavy oil that has a relatively high carbon footprint because it requires extensive, energy-intensive processing and refining.” Clearly the Pipeline is going to affect America if constructed, and deserves to be looked into. The potential effects are too important to ignore and make for an interesting read that could change your opinion about this topic.

Works Cited:

Krauss, Clifford. “Keystone XL Pipeline: A New Opening, but What Lies Ahead?.” The New York Times, 26 Jan. 2017, Accessed 10 Feb. 2017.

Baker, Peter. “Trump Revives Keystone Pipeline Rejected by Obama.” The New York Times, 24 Jan. 2017,®ion=EndOfArticle&pgtype=articl. Accessed 8 Feb. 2017.

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