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Keystone XL Pipeline

Updated on February 8, 2015

This article may or may not be biased depending on personal opinion. In no way am i trying to misquote or plagiarize any points in this article. This article was written to break down the basic concerns about the Keystone XL Pipeline.

"Dirty Oil"

This is the term that has been used by the media to identify the kind of oil that the Keystone XL Pipeline will carry, which is actually Bitumen. To keep this article unbiased i think this phrase is a bit negative. Proponents prefer to call it "Oil Sands." So what exactly are oil sands?

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) defines Oil Sands as "a mixture of sand, water, clay, and bitumen." (http://www.capp.ca/canadaIndustry/oilSands/Energy-Economy/Pages/what-are-oilsands.aspx)

Merriam Webster's second definition of Bitumen is "any of various mixtures of hydrocarbons (as tar) often together with their nonmetallic derivatives that occur naturally or are obtained as residues after heat-refining natural substances (as petroleum); specifically : such a mixture soluble in carbon disulfide" (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bitumen).

Bitumen is just another form of patroleum. So let's stop defining this specific fuel as dirty as all forms of fossil fuel are dirty.


Job Creation

There is no doubt that the construction of the pipeline will create new job opportunities throughout Montana, Nebraska, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas. People have been struggling to find work in this economy. So what really matters is how many permanent full time positions with a living wage will there be at the end?

According to the January 2014 State Department's report the pipeline will produce approximately 42,100 direct, indirect, and induced average annual jobs. Here is the link to the report: http://keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/documents/organization/221186.pdf

An argument between TransCanada CEO, and ABC's Martha Raddatz addresses the job creation confusion. "Girling cited TransCanada’s estimates for 9,000 total positions, and Raddatz countered with estimates from the U.S. State Department, which is tasked with a recommendation on the project to President Barack Obama because it crosses international borders."

This is what makes the job creation argument confusing to the public. Instead of consistently addressing total national economic impact; statistics have come from Canadian jobs, American jobs, individual state jobs, direct, and indirect jobs. Numbers are being thrown around all over the place.

Here is the link to the argument between Girling and Raddatz:

http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/nov/16/russ-girling/transcanada-ceo-says-42000-keystone-xl-pipeline-jo/

Environmental Impact

An irritating debate has environmentalist fuming over a new chapter of environmental pollution: Keystone XL Pipeline.

The keystone XL Pipeline website states that "pipelines are the safest and most efficient method of moving fossil fuels." This may be true, but there is in no way this pipeline is completely foolproof. Eventually there will come a time when a section of the pipeline will fail. Water, gas, and sewage lines leak so then why not the Keystone XL Pipeline. Oil tankers are an efficient way of transport too; but hey look what happen with the BP oil spill, that turned out fine.

The rest of this section is dedicated to the research coming strait from United States Bureau of Oceans and international Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Volume III 4.0

http://www.keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/documents/organization/221135.pdf

(These first two sections prove that this pipeline is not immune to failure)

"ES.4.2.1.1 Small and Medium Spills The potential impacts from small spills of oil would typically be confined to soil immediately surrounding the spill, and would have little effect on nearby natural resources. These types of spills would generally be detected by maintenance or operations personnel and addressed through repair of the leak and remediation of the impacted area by removal of impacted soil and cleaning of stained concrete or containment areas."

"ES.4.2.1.2 Large Spills With a large spill, the majority of the spill volume would migrate away from the release site. The potential impacts from a large spill would be similar to the impacts from the medium-sized spill, but on a much larger scale. More oil would seep into the soil over a larger area and could infiltrate deeper into the soil. Once the spill reaches the surface, the oil would flow following topographic gradient or lows (e.g., gullies, roadside drainage ditches, culverts, or storm sewers) and eventually to surface water features."


Gas Prices

Keystone would transport crude oil from the tar sands regions of the Canadian West, across parts of the U.S. Midwest and down to refineries on the Gulf Coast for potential export overseas


Another question about the Keyston XL Pipeline is the effect it will have on American gas prices.

"We have seen a massive spike in oil production over the past few years thanks to the increase in hydrofracturing (fracking) in shale formations in North Dakota, Texas and Oklahoma. But the effect on gas prices isn't one-to-one." - WashingtonPost.

"The industry argues that having a larger domestic supply has meant that we see fewer fluctuations when there's turmoil in the Middle East." - WashingtonPost.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/11/17/the-keystone-xl-pipeline-isnt-about-lowering-your-gas-prices/

"Keystone would transport crude oil from the tar sands regions of the Canadian West, across parts of the U.S. Midwest and down to refineries on the Gulf Coast for potential export overseas." - CBS

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-would-the-keystone-pipeline-affect-oil-and-gas-prices/

So this means the nation's gas prices have been dropping, and will continue to stay low even without the construction of the XL pipeline. Apparently the oil from the pipeline will have no significant effect on gas prices.

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    • zeke2100 profile image

      zeke2100 2 years ago

      I think this is an excellent Hub covering a topic that I was looking for more information on.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We have followed this news and it is hard to take sides. With the many explosions in moving oil by train, perhaps, this is safer. I do hope that we all try to limit our consumption and support greener forms of energy to resolve the issue.