Keystone: The X-Larger The Better?

It’s the debate that will affect generations to come.

Aside from events in the Middle East that have dominated the newspapers, there has been another event recently in the headlines. The Keystone XL Pipeline has been a controversial topic that stirred up and created a fiery debate. On one side of the argument, stands angry environmentalists, striving to conserve the environment. On the other side, stands money-hungry capitalists and trust-seeking politicians. With such determined people on both sides, the Keystone XL crisis is something that can not be easily negotiated.

Students were arrested after protesting against the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline in front of the White House. (Kristina Banks, Huffington Post)
Georgetown students marched to the White House from their school to hold this protest, but were arrested soon after. (Kristina Banks, Huffington Post)

The Keystone XL Pipeline is a proposed oil pipeline that would run from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. There is already a pipeline named the Keystone Pipeline, but the XL is a more direct pipeline.

A drawing of the proposed XL Pipeline. (The Canadian Press)
A drawing of the proposed XL Pipeline. (The Canadian Press)

To begin with, capitalists have strived to pass the bill to build the Keystone XL Pipeline because of the economic benefits they can gain. Receiving over 550,000 barrels of oil each day from the existing Keystone Pipeline, as well as having an even greater amount of oil imported from Canada to the States, would lower the price of oil for consumers. Not only would building the XL pipeline lower the cost of oil, but it would also create over 42,000 jobs for a two-year period during the building process—35,000 of which would be kept permanently. Especially at a time when unemployment rates are high, the idea of creating the pipeline seems to be a good idea.

President Obama seen visiting a pipe yard in Cushing, Oklahoma. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

Moreover, politicians wish for the bill to pass in order to create better relations with Canada. Sharing over 1,530 miles of border with Canada, it seems only reasonable to maintain good relationships with them. Canada is also a very close ally to the United States, which seems yet another reason to pass the bill.

Although economic benefits may look attractive, we cannot let those benefits be the sole reason we decide to construct the Keystone XL. (Shutterstock)

However, there are many faults and detrimental factors of building the Keystone XL Pipeline. Risks of spillage, destruction of houses, and damage to the environment cause many people to shout in outrage. It is only reasonable to see such anger and protest against the pipeline since it has yet only been rushed and not thoroughly planned out.

In the end, President Obama did veto the bill, but there is speculation that he may pass future bills if all safety measures are taken into consideration. With such extreme benefits and harms, the Keystone XL will for sure be a topic that will not be easily resolved.

– Andy Yang (’16)

Header: (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Captions: Faith Choi (’16)

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