The controversial endeavor, which the Obama Administration had rejected, of the Keystone XL Pipeline is now under even heavier discussion, receiving support from the Trump Administration. The pipeline is a planned 1,179 mile long pipeline, from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. In Nebraska, it would be affixed with another line and transport over 800 thousand barrels a day. While there is sharp criticism, the facts seem to demonstrate several benefits of such a project. There is, of course, a downside to the pipeline, but will the economic and industrial gain outweigh its drawbacks?
If the proposed pipeline is instated, there will be an increase in construction jobs and energy independence for the United States. Currently, there are approximately 550,000 barrels of oil sent to the United States by Canada on a daily basis. However, with the ability to send upwards of 800,000 or more barrels regularly, the United States could shift a large amount of their reliance on oil from the Middle East to Canada. In regards to the job industry, the pipeline is estimated to create between 28,000 jobs (according to the Trump Administration) 40,000+ jobs (estimated by the Obama Administration), a way to create demand for America’s working class. Furthermore, the operation and maintenance of these pipelines will create permanent jobs across America, as the pipeline will stretch through several states. Moreover, American-produced steel will be used to construct the pipeline, placing a demand for the heavy industry at home.
The financial criticism is based on oil prices and the degree to which the American Populace will be truly benefited. Some economists believe higher prices could be seen in some areas of the United States, however the energy independence of the United States will reduce the global price of oil. Another critique of the pipeline is that it will be largely exported overseas. What is ignored though is that partaking in the oil market will bring in revenue for America. Some studies have said that there will only be a handful of permanent jobs created because not too many people are needed to maintain the pipeline. However, they ignore the openings that will also be created at oil refineries, export docks, and much more as the oil industry in America will rise.
It is well known that transportation and extraction of gas and oil contain a fair share of dangers and risks to humans and the habitat. The majority of the criticism for the pipeline comes from environmentalists. When it comes to the XL Pipeline, there are two prominent complaints: (1) Tar Sand Oil releases more Carbon Dioxide than other sources of oil (2) Spills in the pipeline could pollute the local environment, drinking water, and agriculture.
The protesters commonly overlook the practicality of the situation. First of all, regardless of whether the United States is or is not in favor of the pipeline, Canada will still develop their oil fields and choose other nations to export to. Additionally, the pipeline will be built, however the XL line is simply a more direct access-way to the coast. America has the choice between creating new jobs, raising the demand of steel, and having energy dependency or not, but either way, the environmental impact will be the same. Secondly, our current method of transport, rail and trucks, are roughly 3 times more dangerous than transportation by pipelines, and officials are working with Army Engineers to ensure that the pipes are as safely located as possible.
We believe the pipeline is a positive thing for the economy. While the environmental concerns are heavily debated, the pipeline is in some instances safer than other methods of transporting oil and makes the best of the reality: Canada will develop the sand fields regardless of Keystone XL.