Today the State department came out with their recommendations on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. Unfortunately the State department did not clearly recommend a specific action. Rather, the state department came to the conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline has a large environmental impact, but it may be the only way to efficiently and cheaply transport Canadian synthetic crude oil.
The report stated that the crude oil that would be transported into the United States would have approximately 17% more green house gases than traditional crude that is exported into the United States. The study also stated that the construction would generate enough carbon dioxide to equal 626,000 passenger vehicles operating for one year. However, throughout the lifetime of the resource play it is expected that any other transportation method would result in more pollution. These solutions could be transporting the tar sands with trucks, train, or tankers.
Environmental supporters state that the Keystone Pipeline could expose vast amounts of fertile and precious land to degradation and pollution. The state department reports that the Pipeline would possible expose large amounts of prime farmland, degrade streams, encroach on 13 protected species, and the pipeline is also susceptible to leaks and spills.
The report also noted that the construction could bring about approximately 42,000 jobs as well as much needed income into states that are struggling financially. The benefits of creating the pipeline and exporting tar sands from Canada would lessen our reliance on oil from other countries who we do not consider as our allies.
The Keystone Pipeline is a very controversial topic. Both the supporters of the pipeline and those who oppose the pipeline present very good arguments and it will be up to President Obama to approve the Pipeline. Regardless it is important that each side is heard and given their chance to voice their opinion.