Good Essay On Why The Keystone Pipeline Should Be Approved And Is Good For The US

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Transportation, Oil, Pipeline, Sand, Keystone, Vehicles, Transport, Infrastructure

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/29

TransCanada, a Canadian company, hopes to start constructing the northern part of a pipeline that will transport tar sand oil from Alberta in Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast region (“Friends”). Due to the fact that the pipeline needs to cross an international boarder, the company will first require presidential permission from the incumbent government. The proposal of establishment of this pipeline has gained both criticism and support with opponents citing that it will pose a major threat to the environment (“Friends”). Proponents on the other hand argue that it create energy security, will be of economic benefit, and will not be an environmental hazard as long as it is built and maintained appropriately (McElroy). This discussion will shed light on the perspective of the pipeline’s opponents and then show why the importance of the pipeline may override their opinion.
The major reason for opposition of the pipeline is that tar sand oil would sharply increase carbon dioxide emissions exacerbating the problem of climate change. Production of tar sand oil alone is estimated to cause three to four times the greenhouse gas emission of conventional oil production (“Friends”). This is due to the fact that extraction and refining of tar sand oil is more energy intensive. The Texas Gulf region will be the site for refinery and it is therefore expected that great amounts of green house gases will be emitted there. The pipeline is expected to bring into the US about 830,000 barrels of unrefined tar sand oil everyday and it is estimated that the climate damage it will cause exceeds what an additional 5.6 million cars on US roads would cause (“Friends”). President Obama has stated that his government will only approve construction of the pipeline only if it is in favor of the country’s interest which is that the project does not increase the level of carbon pollution in the country. This shows how much carbon pollution matters to the approval of this project (McElroy).
In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, opponents also argue that the Keystone pipeline will also pose a threat of water contamination. Opponents point out that pipe damages pose the risk of spillage which may contaminate clean water. They assert that tar sand oil is heavier that water hence will sink making remediation difficult (“Friends”).
As aforementioned, the Keystone XL pipeline can carry 830,000 barrels of tar sand oil every day. However, not all will be from Alberta; the pipeline will also transport a portion of oil from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale formation. The region only trails Texas in oil production domestically. Rail transport has in the recent past been used to transport up to 75% of the regions oil (McElroy). Keystone XL would therefore address the problem of having to increase the infrastructure required for distribution of Bakken’s rapidly increasing oil production. Compared to pipelines (which may cause spills), rail poses more problems; for instance, derailment involving an Atlantic Railroad train transporting crude oil from Bakken and a Montreal, Maine train killed fifty people in Lac-Megantic in Quebec (McElroy). If the pipeline is not approved, trucks and trains will be still be used to transport crude oil from Bakken and tar sand oil from Alberta (McElroy). These modes of transport are more carbon intensive and will only increase the problem of green house gas emission. The pipeline carrying tar sand oil to Texas refineries which are relatively clean will be more environmentally preferable to use of rail to carry it to Chinese refineries which are considered to be relatively dirty (Webber).
Additionally, the Keystone XL project will help to improve the nation’s energy security. Alberta’s deposits are estimated to contain a recoverable 170 oil barrels which is projected to be capable of supporting the country’s energy demands for a minimum of 30 years (McElroy). 99% of this resource will be from tar sand (McElroy). All this energy will be of benefit to the country considering that oil demand will continue to rise before a sustainable and competitive carbon free fuel is found to drive our motor vehicles, trains, jets, and industries. Increasing oil abundance in the country would also result in lower fuel prices promoting economic development (Jiang 20). By importing this Canadian resource, the US would reduce its dependence on unreliable oil sources like Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela (McElroy).
Even though it is not the main objective of the program, thousands of jobs will be created. This may be directly or indirectly like through construction and in supply chain. According to Trans Canada, the Keystone XL pipeline will create approximately 9,000 construction jobs and 42,000 jobs in the supply chain which will be important (,).
The threat of oil spills should not be of major concern since Trans Canada has pledged to install many valves to avert and control incidences of leakage (McElroy). Furthermore, it will take decades before the pipeline can begin to weaken and pose the risk of leakage (Webber). With money being set aside for later inspection and repair, the risk can be easily mitigated (Webber).
If the US does not approve construction of the pipeline, it is probable that operators will simply find a new market, such as Europe or Asia (McElroy). Therefore with regard to climate impact, it may not make a significant difference if the US fails to exploit tar sand oil since it will still find use in another part of the world. Moreover, with efforts pledged by the Canadian company and the US government, emissions will be controlled (Jiang).
In conclusion, the Keystone XL pipeline will increase the country’s energy security, reduce reliance on carbon-intensive transport means, and improve the economy for instance through reduced oil prices and job creation. The pipeline construction will also address the environmental concerns for instance through reduction of greenhouse gas emissions during tar sand oil extraction and processing. Weighing the benefits and the risks of the project shows that the project should be approved since there are already established safety plans and its benefits cannot be overstated.

References,. 'Should The United States Authorize The Keystone XL Pipeline To Import Tar Sand Oil From Canada? - Alternative Energy - Procon.Org'. N.p., 2013. Web. 24 Mar. 2015.
Friends of the Earth,. 'Keystone XL Pipeline'. N.p., 2014. Web. 24 Mar. 2015.
Jiang, Yimin. 'WHERE CANADA GOES AFTER “KEYSTONE XL”PIPELINE' N.p., 2012. Web. 24 Mar. 2015.
McElroy, Michael. 'Harvard’S Michael Mcelroy Has A Scenario For Approving The Keystone XL Pipeline | Harvard Magazine Nov-Dec 2013'. N.p., 2013. Web. 24 Mar. 2015.
Webber, Michael. 'The Right Way To Think About The Keystone XL Pipeline « Know'. N.p., 2014. Web. 24 Mar. 2015.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 29) Good Essay On Why The Keystone Pipeline Should Be Approved And Is Good For The US. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from
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"Good Essay On Why The Keystone Pipeline Should Be Approved And Is Good For The US," Free Essay Examples -, 29-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-May-2022].
Good Essay On Why The Keystone Pipeline Should Be Approved And Is Good For The US. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 29, 2020. Accessed May 17, 2022.

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