The Keystone XL Pipeline system is used for transporting oil from the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta Canada to the United States. There are four different phases of this pipeline. Phases one and two are already complete. The first phase of the pipeline starts at the Keystone Hardisty Terminal in Canada and stops at Wood River and Patoka, Illinois, and then phase two starts in Steele City, Nebraska and stretches down to Cushing, Oklahoma. The completed pipeline is over 2000 miles long. Then you have phase three that would carry the oil to Nederland, Texas and Houston, Texas. Phase four is would start in Alberta, Canada and run through Montana and South Dakota and join with the existing pipeline in Steele City, Nebraska (Keystone XL Pipeline Project). The oil will be transported to oil refineries located in Illinois, Oklahoma and The Gulf Coast of Texas. There are two current pipelines coming from Alberta, Canada to the United States.
Keystone phase one was completely built in 2010 and put in about 1900 mile pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada to America’s Midwest and is connecting about 35 hundred barrels of oil per day to Illinois. Keystone phase two was built in 2011 added 300 miles to Oklahoma increasing to 590,000 barrels of oil per day. TransCanada is already looking into the future with Keystone phase three hoping to be built off the Gulf Coast increasing to 1.1 million barrels of oil per day. Like all other pipelines, the project must secure permits, land rights and other commercial contracts in the United States and Canada to proceed. The oil brought into the United States from the Athabasca oil sands is bitumen and needs to be thoroughly cleaned, which means burning it at a high temperature, and this will lead to air pollution and higher greenhouse emissions. Environmental organizations have been lobbying against the pipeline due to the potential negative impact it can have on air, water and wildlife. President Obama postponed any decision until 2013 (Confronting Keystone Again).
The fourth phase of the pipeline has many different proposed paths as one path has the pipeline going through the Ogallala aquifer (Environmental Impact Of The Keystone XL Project). An oil spill in that area could contaminate the entire water reservoir. It is said that Canadian and American people cannot agree on the same thing, but the Keystone XL Pipeline Project has made that argument incorrect. As of today some Americans and Canadians have fully committed to the construction of the Pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska. Although both sides of the boarder agree to the fullest on the pipeline; the president of the United States of America does not agree. TransCanada who is the lead producer of the pipeline has applied for a Presidential Permit, which is required as the pipeline will cross the Canada/U.S. border, in the past which in 2010 was passed as the same in 2011, but now in 2012 it has been declined. TransCanada has re-applied on May 4th 2012 and is anticipating approval within the first quarter of 2013 (Keystone XL Pipeline Project).
Those who are in support of this pipeline have many reasons they have come up with to show why everyone else should also support this pipeline. Today, about half of the oil used in The United States is imported for foreign countries and will increase as we use up domestic resources. Reducing our dependency foreign oil would help stimulate the economy, reduce ever increasing oil prices and our obligation in the Middle East would be lessened. Although lessen America’s dependence on foreign oil is impossible unless everyone uses less and seeks other forms of renewable resources. The project will create 20,000 high wage jobs and 118,000 spin off jobs from the construction. I do agree that we need more jobs and construction is one way to create more jobs, but there are other things that could be built that will not only create construction jobs, but also jobs inside the structure once it is built.
Independent studies find during the life span of the pipeline it will contribute $5.2 billion in property taxes to communities along the route. Pipelines are the safest methods for the transportation of petroleum products compared to other methods. According to The International Tanker Owners Pollution the number of spills during the 2000‘s have decreased dramatically to 3.7%. TransCanada would be responsible to protect human health and the environment (Keystone XL Pipeline Project). Oil spills are more common than TransCanada wants to show. That oil spill has cost BP lots and lots of money and then the effect to the ecosystem is awful (Environmental Impact Of The Keystone XL Project). In Michigan in 2010 about one million gallons of oil was spilled into the Kalamazoo River by Enbridge, and will cost around 800 million dollars to clean up. The company also knew prior to the Kalamazoo River disaster that the section of pipeline was damaged. Enbridge was also connected to an oil spill in Wisconsin of 1000 barrels (Hall, Jim).
The pipelines will have to inspected and maintained to ensure there is no oil spill in the Midwest. I can just imagine the amount of damage done if an oil spill hit in Nebraska or Kansas just before harvest time. TransCanada has already run this pipeline through the Dakotas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, and Oklahoma. TransCanada monitors and controls our pipeline systems from a computerized control center that is staffed 24 hours a day. If an oil spill were to occur, TransCanada is able to shut down the pipeline and isolate the affected pipe section from service within minutes (Keystone XL Pipeline Project). Oil spills make one of the biggest messes and can kill an entire ecosystem (EPA Objects To Keystone Pipeline Expansion). We saw what happened in the water with the oil spill in the gulf coast, and now we are talking about it on land. What will happen if the oil lines break and destroy crops and citizens dreams? It is time to stop the Keystone Pipeline XL Project before oil covers the heartland.