After the damage from the Pegasus pipeline spill in Arkansas last month, it is surprising to hear the government is already considering another pipeline construction proposal for an Keystone XL pipeline to be constructed through the mid-west.
The Keystone pipeline would require a budget of approximately $7 billion and would span 1,179 miles.
The Keystone pipeline pumps tar sands oil from near the Canadian border to the gulf of Mexico for processing. Tar sands crude are petroleum deposits that are loose sand or partially consolidated sandstone containing mixtures of sand, clay and water. The sand is saturated in thick, tar-like oil so thick that it will not move unless it is heated or diluted in some way. On top of being difficult to mine, tar sands oil is toxic to the point of being able to kill animals that are unlucky enough to land in it.
The Environmental Protection Agency has taken a firm stand against the pipeline and issued an assessment of how the pipeline will impact the environment, if approved. One of the biggest details they released was the release of green house gases. Compared to the processing of regular crude oil, tar sands oil releases 81 percent during processing and 17 percent more from well to tank.
With the burst that happened on March 29 in Mayflower, Ark. and then again on April 30 in Ripley County, Mo. of the same pipeline it is surprising that anyone is considering construction on this much larger and much more toxic project. The only positive that has come out of the announcement and proposal is the economic benefit and jobs for construction. The project is so large that it would generate 9,000 jobs, have a $20 billion economic impact and generate $5 billion in property taxes during its operational life according to keystone-xl.com.
If the government really wanted to win support for this project then the budget for this pipeline could go towards making sure that all other crude oil pipelines are up to code and will not burst anytime soon.
The Keystone project sounds like it would have a mountain of benefits for the United States on paper, but if it burst or was damaged in anyway then the environment and people around the spot are at risk.
Hopefully supporters of this pipeline who are seeing dollar signs will take a step back and see the bigger picture before the pipeline is approved.