I’m positive that few ‘normal’ Americans truly understand all arguments for and against the Keystone Pipeline; and they certainly do not know all of the facts. Because of these two reasons, few voters have a strong opinion either way. The only groups pushing for its construction are Republican legislators and the Petroleum Industry. But will the Keystone Pipeline survive increased controversy?
The GOP is 100 percent behind the pipeline. Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey and probable 2016 presidential hopeful, visited Canada recently. While making a speech criticizing President Obama for not moving forward with the project, and speaking in support of the Keystone Pipeline, he inadvertently acknowledged one of environmentalist’s major oppositions. He referred to the emission of greenhouse gases.
Although Republicans in Washington support the pipeline, those who voted them into office frequently do not. In fact, they oppose other proposed pipeline projects as well.
New Jersey residents, who tend to vote for Republicans, met on November 10th. The discussion was about the Pilgrim Pipeline. It would begin in Albany, New York, and travel 178 miles to Linden, New Jersey. Once it enters New Jersey, it will pass through 30 towns. These primarily GOP residents do not want a potential environmental disaster existing in their communities.
The Keystone Pipeline would pass through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska on its way to the Texas Gulf Coast. Residents in those states have yet to decide if they want to allow more than 700,000 barrels of this dirty tar sands crude to pass through their communities daily. The Governor of Nebraska has yet to state his approval; the debate in the Cornhusker State continues between the Governor, and the Public Service Commission.
Opposition from several groups has been voiced vehemently. One, the Rosebud Sioux of South Dakota, declare that if the pipeline is constructed, they will consider it an ‘act of war.’
In January, when Republicans establish control of both Houses of Congress, legislation may be passed approving the pipeline. President Obama has promised to veto the bill.
The discussion may be moot. The original construction price was estimated at 5.4 billion dollars. Today, the estimate has reached 8 billion, and is expected to rise. Factoring in other costs, the project could become an unrealistic venture. The Canadian wells which produce the tar sands crude are the most expensive in the world; continuing to drill for the crude may prove unprofitable.
Now that the price of a barrel of oil continues to fall, the pipeline may be too costly to construct. Wells in the United States produced 11 million barrels of petroleum product in the first quarter of 2014. By 2019, the total is expected to rise to 13.1 per quarter. Our nation does not require foreign oil any longer, in fact the United States is now the largest producer in the world.
Controversy regarding the project may not halt its construction; but costs most likely will. The Keystone Pipeline has become unnecessary and will surpass expected cost overruns.
Canadian oil companies have devised other plans to transport their tar sands crude. Proposals have been submitted to construct pipelines from Alberta both east and west. This has already caused protests throughout the country. And the protestors are not only environmental groups; individuals who become aware of the gathering of organized groups have been showing up to voice their personal opposition.
Now that you know more about pipelines, you probably have an opinion. As you make your decision, consider this; would you welcome a pipeline one mile from your own home?
By James Turnage