Controversy is synonymous with America; and that’s a good thing. Good governments weigh the pros and cons of important issues and find middle ground which best serves the people of a nation. For six years the previous condition has not existed in the United States. The three political parties, Democrats, the GOP, and the TEA Party no longer practice the art of deliberation. One issue they should all agree about is that it’s time to let the issue of the Keystone Pipeline follow the words of the movie ‘Frozen,’ ‘Let it Go.’
The Keystone XL Pipeline is unnecessary, would pose a devastating environmental danger, and would violate sacred grounds of the original inhabitants of our country.
Saturday, Native Americans and others protested the construction of the Keystone Pipeline in front of the White House. They came to Washington fearful that the Republican controlled Congress will rush to pass a bill approving the pipeline. They are uncertain that the President will keep his promise and veto the legislation, requiring a two-thirds vote in the Senate to overturn his veto.
Individual states must approve the pipeline. This week South Dakota will make a decision whether or not to allow the Keystone Pipeline to run through the state. Protests are planned in Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Pierre. The Native American Sioux Tribe labeled the passing of the Keystone Pipeline ‘an act of war.’
Passage of the bill approving the pipeline rests along party lines. Democrats oppose it, exposing the reality of possible environmental devastation and the lack of benefit for the American people. Tar sands crude is particularly heavy and more caustic than the sweet crude processed in our nation’s refineries. If a break occurs in the Keystone Pipeline, the damage to soil and water would be almost irreversible. The only financial advantage would be for the petroleum industry. This tar sands crude would be shipped to other nations and would have no effect on our nation’s oil reserves.
Republicans support the huge oil companies. The petroleum industry provides monetary support for GOP campaign efforts. Republicans make false claims about job creation and the ability of the Keystone Pipeline to lessen our nation’s reliance on foreign oil. The only jobs which will be created are temporary as the actual pipeline is constructed. The vast majority of the crude will not be refined in the United States; it is virtually unusable for the type of fuel used in our country.
If constructed, the Keystone Pipeline would transport 830,000 barrels of crude per day to the Texas coast. The two-year construction period would create 42,000 temporary jobs, but only 35 permanent positions. Any crude that is processed in the refineries will produce 17 percent more carbon dioxide than sweet crude. The effect on climate change would be measurable.
The Canadian oil industry would greatly benefit from the construction of the Keystone Pipeline, but the time for a successful endeavor is short. With the price of a barrel of oil dropping almost daily, the expense of extracting the tar sands crude is nearing costs which are prohibitive.
Congress should do what is right for the people they represent. The Keystone Pipeline is unnecessary and poses a serious threat to the environment. However, a Republican controlled Congress is likely to obey the wishes of the petroleum industry lobbyists and approve the contentious project.
By James Turnage