Say Yes to Building the Keystone Oil Pipeline
November 1, 2011
The Keystone oil pipeline project has caused enormous controversy around the country, even leading to arrests during a protest in Washington D.C. The $7 billion pipeline would bring oil from the tar sands of northern Canada across the American Midwest to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico. Pipeline opponents set their arguments into three general contentions, yet not only are each of these contentions overblown or unrealistic, but also the benefits to be gained from the project's completion far outweigh the possible negative consequences, says USA Today.
The first charge against the pipeline is that the vast expense of the project and the potential damage done to natural ecosystems will be borne only so that oil companies may export petroleum across the Gulf of Mexico and perhaps the Atlantic. This would undercut many of the energy security benefits that lawmakers tout if it were true, but statements from both TransCanada (the builder of the pipeline) and Valero (one of the oil companies involved) explain that this accusation is unfounded.
The second argument put forth by critics is that by attempting to attain a pipeline that is a straight shot, builders will ignore fragile ecosystems that fall in the path of the pipeline. Yet all of these natural areas, if identified correctly, can be preserved and protected in the case of a spill. Additional precautions, such as encasing the pipeline in concrete, contain the damage caused by a spill and alleviate this fear.
Finally, detractors argue that the pipeline ought not be constructed on the principle that America should be moving away from its reliance on oil and instead could spur on developments in alternative energy. However, this line of reasoning is flawed on two counts.
- First, the killing of this project would not prevent the oil's use -- Canada has already said it would sell the oil to China.
- And second, while this argument advocates an ideal world, this is not the world we live in now.
- While alternative energy is excellent in reducing emissions, the United States is, in the meantime, reliant on the world's oil market.
- To this end, increasing imports from a reliable and trustworthy ally such as Canada increase America's energy security, making it the correct decision for lawmakers.
Source: "Say Yes to Building the Keystone Oil Pipeline," USA Today, October 26, 2011.
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