On Feb. 24, President Barack Obama vetoed a bill that would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline.
The Keystone XL pipeline was to be built by the TransCanada Corporation and was originally planned to run from Alberta’s tar-sand fields through Montana and South Dakota, and connect to the to the existing Keystone Pipeline System in Steele City, Neb.
The pipeline is vehemently opposed by many environmentalists and activists who claim its presence would significantly contribute to environmental degradation and climate change.
Considering the details of the pipeline construction and what it would entail, opposition is the only reasonable response.
Alberta is a province in Canada that is home to a multitude of diverse wildlife, and in recent decades, mining companies have destroyed much of the land and polluted its waters while extracting tar sands that contain heavy crude oil trapped in a mixture of sand and clay.
The extraction and refining process is a filthy one that is incredibly energy intensive and hardly economically feasible, and the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would cause immense and irrevocable damage to water, wildlife, human life and the climate.
The President’s decision to veto the bill is not the end of the Keystone debate, but it is a step in the right direction.
Claims that the pipeline construction would positively impact the economy are weak – the number of jobs created would mostly be comprised of temporary positions, and the number of permanent jobs in the wake of its completion are insignificant.
A study from the Global Labor Institute at Cornell University concluded that the pipeline would ultimately add only 500 to 1,400 temporary construction jobs – TransCanada Corporation has even admitted that permanent jobs created by building the pipeline would only be in the hundreds. This is a far cry from unsubstantiated claims that 20,000 jobs would suddenly spring up and boost the economy.
It is a fact that the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would contribute to a significant increase in carbon pollution and other forms of pollution that would utterly destroy the land and the health of the people and animals that inhabit it.
The Keystone XL pipeline is a backwards idea, proposed to line the pockets of the elite — it does not benefit a majority of people or the land, and it is an idea that must be rejected before more harm is done.