The Keystone XL Pipeline

The Keystone XL pipeline is a proposed pipeline construction project that would funnel crude tar sand oil from Alberta Canada to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. As this is a construction project that is both international and revolves around environmental issues, many interested groups are involved. Environmental activists argue against the project, saying that the construction is contradictory to progressive environmental standards. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and corporation TransCanada would see the pipeline put in tomorrow and say that construction will create jobs for and attract investment to the US. Ultimately, the decision is up to President Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry.

To get an idea of where this pipeline is, this article from the Washington Post offers a clear image, as well as a summary of the environmental opposition to the pipeline.

“[Environmentalists] repeatedly have demanded that the State Department and President Obama deny TransCanada permission to build the pipeline, in part as a way to slow the extraction of crude from oil sands in Canada. Nebraska activists have expressed concern about oil spills from the pipeline, especially ones that could seep into the vast aquifer that supplies water for the state and others in that region.They suffered a setback last month when the State Department’s final environmental assessment concluded that the pipeline would probably not alter emissions of global greenhouse gases.”

Obviously the State Department Environmental Assessment was a disappointment for environmental activists, as it does not support their side of the issue. In a recent development, a judge in Nebraska has declared the Keystone XL pipeline construction unconstitutional, which could further delay a final ruling on this topic.

Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline could provide unprecedented jobs for American, but at what cost? How this issue plays out will truly be a balance of environmental standards and potential economic stimulus.

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