The Keystone Pipeline

There has been much debate recently about the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. If you don’t know, the Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposed plan to extend the already existing Keystone oil pipeline that goes from Canada to Oklahoma. This extension would take the current pipeline and extend it all the way through to the Gulf Coast of Texas.  The Keystone XL Pipeline plan would also create another branch of oil pipeline that would start in Alberta and end in Kansas. This pipeline would also pass through the oil rich fields in Montana and North Dakota. It has not been approved yet by the Obama administration, but it is believed to soon be passed. There are many positives and negatives associated with the Keystone Pipeline expansion.

There are many benefits to the Keystone XL Pipeline. It would create many short term construction jobs and would help to lower the cost of oil in the United States. Many jobs would also be created to help maintain and repair the pipeline. It would also lower the United States dependance on foreign oil. Economically, this plan is feasible and it makes sense. It will help to boost the economy by lowering gas prices and decreasing unemployment. Environmentally, we would be getting less oil from overseas, so less fossil fuels would be emitted into the atmosphere during their production.

However, there are many negative towards expanding the Keystone Pipeline. Approving the expansion would solidify the United States dependance on fossil fuels that will one day run out. The plan is putting money into something unsustainable when the money could be put into researching sustainable energies. This hurts the United States both environmentally and economically. Supporting the plan does help the economy in the short term. It creates the jobs to create and maintain the pipeline. However, in the long term, all of the economic growth will be wasted because the Keystone Pipeline will no longer be feasible. The construction jobs to create the pipeline are gone the second construction is completed. Once the oil becomes too expensive to drill, the pipeline will no longer be needed, and those jobs will be lost. Economically, in the long term, it does not make sense. Supporting the Pipeline also hurts the environment. By supporting the pipeline, the government is encouraging the use of fossil fuels. This will increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, worsening the effects of global warming. The drilling of oil is very damaging to the environment because many greenhouse gases are released into the environment. Point source pollution is a major problem at oil drilling sites and along the pipeline. There are also many other issues with oil drilling, however I would go on forever listing them.

The Keystone Pipeline XL decision is more than just an environmental and economical decision. It has ramifications that will last for years longer than any politician’s term and will determine what direction the United States will head in the coming years. Approving the plan means the United States is committing itself to the use and abuse of nonrenewable fossil fuels. Declining the plan shows the world that the United States is willing to invest and look for greener technologies and energies. There are many short term benefits to approving the plan, but it hurts the United States in the long term. Decisions like these have plagued the United States in recent years. Politicians are more likely to do what gets them reelected (meaning creates much more benefit in the short term) than look to what effects these things will have in the long run. In order for us to advance as a country, we have to stop looking at the short term benefits of certain things. We, as citizens, influence politicians to do what is best in the short term because we like to see results. If we don’t see results, we get rid of the politicians who failed to give us results. If we as a country, start to look at the long term results of political actions, politicians can stop looking at what is best in the short term and focus on the long term. They would be less worried about getting the short term results in order to get themselves reelected. Many people argue that it is the politicians at fault. To an extent, it is. However, a lot of the fault lies in us as citizens, and we need to look in a mirror before anything can change.

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3 Responses to The Keystone Pipeline

  1. Jenny Eberhardt says:

    I think that it is very interesting that you chose to talk about the Keystone Pipeline this week! This is something that I have heard about for years. My uncle actually passively protested the pipeline in D.C. a few years ago and was arrested… I agree with you though, we should absolutely be looking at the bigger picture here as a country. Short term can obviously only get us so far, so it is crucial for our country to begin make more serious long term commitments as well. Personally, I like that it would create more jobs because that is something that our country can always strive to create more of and that it would decrease our foreign dependence. In my opinion though, I believe that the cons out way the pros in the scenario. I hate that we would have more of a fossil fuel dependency as well as worsening conditions for our atmosphere. Great work this week!

  2. enk5056 says:

    I agree with both of you. The pipeline would be good to lower the price of gas (which is insanely high and very annoying for broke people like me ), and create some much needed jobs. But if it doesn’t last is it worth it? We are supposed to build things that are for longterm use, so even though we wouldn’t reap the immediate benefits from the pipeline it might be more beneficial to put our money into research for sustainable resources.

  3. esi5009 says:

    I certainly agree with you that as a country we need to start focusing on long-term problems more seriously than short-term. However, as you said, most of our politicians solely make decisions based on self-benefit. Since Obama is unable to run for office again, hopefully he will start to focus on the development of renewable energy rather than fossil fuels, but it does not seem as though this will occur. Oil and natural gas will clearly remain our most prominent energy sources for the next few decades. Unfortunately, by expanding our use of fossil fuels until they eventually run out, we are merely putting our country and the environment in even more of a dilemma that will be more difficult to get out of in the future.

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