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A Pipe dream Obama vetoes controversial Keystone XL Bil

March 2, 2015

After much anticipation, President Obama has vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline Bill-to the surprise of very few. The bill itself has been the focal point for both conservationists and oil magnates, a de facto battleground manifested by the growing tensions between the two parties. Spurred by the growing “green” movement, citizens have been quick to find tension in the proposed development of the pipeline. So what exactly is this controversial pipeline?

The Keystone XL Project is phase 4 of the already existing Keystone Pipeline.

The existing pipeline transports Canadian oil sands from Hardisty, Alberta to Port Arthur and Houston, Texas. Phase 4 would ultimately create an additional alternate route at a shorter distance with a larger diameter pipe, all while keeping the existing one operating.

And although it’s difficult to argue the full social, economic, and environmental repercussions of constructing the pipeline, both sides have been quick to present the positives of their platform while simultaneously condemning the negatives of the opposing side’s. For starters, advocates of the pipeline argue that its construction will not only stimulate job growth, but also boost local economies.

A study done by TransCanada, the company in charge of construction, estimated that the construction would open up 42,000 direct and indirect jobs. In addition, they argue, construction of the pipeline would be America’s foot in the door in weaning off from Middle-Eastern oil, reiterating the importance of increased energy independence, which they argue, is a good thing. Perhaps too good to be true, however. Environmentalists are dubious _ citing the fact that while the production of the pipeline would undeniably provide job opportunities, a majority of the jobs would be short-term, existing only during the initial construction process. Moreover, they claim, the numbers provided by TransCanada are largely exaggerated, a point that should be taken with some veracity considering that the large construction corporation has all to gain from the passing of the bill. A large chunk of the argument lies, however, in the environmental impact of the pipeline.

The Keystone pipeline would be transporting oil sands, which itself presents a problem. Oil sands by nature require further refinement, and consequently create further pollution and carbon emissions. However, due to the fact that the pipeline is transcontinental, it requires a presidential approval.

Although Obama’s decision to veto the 62-36 senate-passed bill stops the action as of now, conservationists around understand this is only the beginning in the issue of sustainable energy, an issue that will undoubtedly be further tested in the years to come.


st0302-02-1 Kiwon Yun
Northwood High school 11th Grade

One Comment

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