This is an excellent piece by a new guest writer on here, Juliette Zephyr, a young woman from Maryland who, believe it or not, is only 22 years old. I was very impressed with the writing in this piece.
People really need to read up on this Keystone Pipeline. It’s a very, very bad idea.
Keystone XL Pipeline: The Truth
By Juliette Zephyr
The proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project is slated to transport oil sands straight down the middle of the country, all the way from Canada to Nebraska, where it will then connect to an existing leg of the pipeline that was already constructed. In its path is the Ogallala Aquifer, home to a variety of native species such as the sage grouse, as well as being one of the most important sources of drinking water in the U.S.
The pipeline will also cut across North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin, where crude oils will be extracted using a well-known and very dirty drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The EPA knows that fracking is a risky business for the surrounding communities in which it is implemented. EPA scientists have confirmed that the water in many areas where this is occurring is indeed contaminated with drilling chemicals, heavy metals, and stray oils, with alarming pictures appearing all over the internet depicting people’s well water catching on fire.
With massive expansion of fracking all over the country, especially in compromised areas where citizens rely on groundwater near drill sites, we have a national problem only made worse by policymakers motivated by corporate interests, attempting to hawk it as a so-called “boost” to our economy, and claiming that it won’t have any long-term negative implications for us environmentally.
The fact of the matter is that the majority of the oil transported by Keystone are eventually destined for export to other countries in Europe and South America. Furthermore, it is expected that just fifty permanent jobs will be created, and there’s currently no substantiated evidence that the pipeline will lower oil prices for American citizens.
Instead, current research paints a bleaker picture. Recent investigations uncovered that the leak detection systems in place for the pipeline are faulty – nineteen out of twenty spills are undetected. What’s further alarming is that spills involving tar sands oil are much more damaging to the environment than traditional crude oil.
They don’t biodegrade easily at all, and sink in the water. It is extremely difficult to undo the damage once an sand oil spill has happened, it and costs a lot to clean up. People can and already have been developing asthma and lung issues from the bad air quality in areas immediately surrounding the Keystone Pipeline. Methane is considered one of the primary concerns of the greenhouse gas emissions produced in these areas.
Keystone is clearly not in the public’s best interest, but let’s take a more in-depth look at the exact environmental impact it would have:
It will significantly add to carbon pollution, locking in high-carbon infrastructure for half a century. It is estimated to reach $128 billion in climate costs. The FSEIS found it could contribute $1.43 billion in accumulated incremental tons of greenhouse gas emissions to our atmosphere over the next fifty years. Considering that tar sands oil is much more carbon-intensive than conventional oil, these incremental emissions are equivalent to adding 5.7 million cars to the road for fifty years.
The controversy of what this pipeline would entail highlights a larger problem: our dependency on fossil fuels. Instead of funding tests to pioneer cleaner energy sources, Big Oil chooses to put all their eggs in one basket, to the detriment of our ecosystems.