Argument: Keystone XL crosses and jeopardizes sensitive environment

Issue Report: Keystone XL US-Canada oil pipeline


Mark Bittman. “Profits before environment.” The New York Times. August 30th, 2011: “XL is right: the 36-inch-wide pipeline, which will stretch from the Alberta tar sands across the Great Plains to the Gulf Coast, will cost $7 billion and run for 1,711 miles — more than twice as long as the Alaska pipeline. It will cross nearly 2,000 rivers, the huge wetlands ecosystem called the Nebraska Sandhills and the Ogallala aquifer, the country’s biggest underground freshwater supply.”

Opposing arguments

  1. We have to balance environmental needs with business needs
  2. The oil came from the ground. It was in contact with moisture. If it spilled back on the ground or in the water it could be cleaned up. We are not creating something that is evil and never existed before, we are extracting it and moving it from one place to another. The dirt that it was in is no less sacred than the dirt that it crosses. We are just cleaning up the dirt that it came from! Think of extraction just as a large clean up and transportation project.
  3. We already have roads, cities, houses, gas stations, factories in Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. We can’t just wall of these states, and declare them national wildlife preserves.
  4. We already have gas trucks driving across the same rivers that the XL pipeline would cross. They pose just as much a threat as the XL pipeline would.
  5. Pipelines are safe. They are inspected, have standards, codes, inspectors, regulations, etc. They have been operating safely for many years and many miles. Pressure is monitored. Metal thickness is inspected.