By Philippe Allaire
There have been many discussions about the Keystone pipeline and the benefits it can bring to the economy, and also about the negatives that it could bring in on the environment.
Many Americans are confused about the benefit of the Keystone pipeline as it has been a political hot topic, and both parties are felt to be lying about the actual benefits and harms of the project.
While the additional jobs would be most welcome—they would be temporary and last one or two years at best, which is reality, not stretching the truth. TransCanada admits permanent jobs would only number in the hundreds. On the flip side, the pipeline would be permanent, and the rise in price for this oil that we already consume would rise for decades to come.
How are higher oil prices going to help the economy? They won’t. The National Petroleum Refiners Association claimed that exports—which the TransCanada pipeline may bring—help move this country to recovery faster more exports of Canadian oil. With that in mind, the jobs that it does bring, are not permanent by any sense of the imagination.
So while it would provide jobs for plenty of people for a period of one to two years, where do we go after that? Does the addition of these jobs for that period of time outweigh the cons that it may bring to the environment? In my mind, I have a hard time believing that. Temporary job creation and a boost to the economy will never outweigh the negatives that this project will bring to the environment.
Despite the environmental concerns, there’s a powerful and familiar force working in TransCanada’s favor: America needs jobs. The company commissioned an oft-quoted economic analysis from The Perryman Group, which concluded that construction of the new pipeline would create roughly 119,000 jobs. The extra pipeline capacity would also lower domestic fuel prices, creating an additional 250,000 to 550,000 permanent jobs.
The dangers the Keystone Pipeline will bring to the climate and the environment
There are two big issues at play here. Global warming and Nebraska. First global warming: Because of the intense amount of energy required to refine oil from tar sands, it’s considered a particularly dirty source of fuel. According to some estimates, it produces 15% more greenhouse gases than your average barrel of oil once production is taken into account.
Al Gore may have severely stretched the truth when he claimed that “gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil.” But he captured the sentiment shared by environmentalists who would prefer that the tar sands never be developed. Then there are those Cornhuskers.
The Keystone XL pipeline would cross through six states, but it has run into a wall protest in Nebraska, where some legislators are attempting to block the project entirely. Oil pipelines caused billions of dollars in property damage due to leaks, fires and explosions during the past decade. A single spill in 2010 dumped as much as a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River. That track record has Nebraskans nervous, since the pipeline’s route runs through the massive Ogallala Aquifer, and many are concerned about the potential impact of an oil spill on the region’s drinking water. TransCanada has tried to ease local fears, but a professor at the University of Nebraska has cast doubt on the company’s safety predictions.
With all of these things in mind, it comes down to the benefit of more jobs being created versus the effects that it could have on the environment. Not only do we have to look at the dangers that it will bring permanently to the environment, we also have to look at the potential dangers that come along with this pipeline running right through the Midwest. With all of these things in mind, and much more to come to light before a final decision has to be rendered, I think that it’s fairly safe to say that the environmental risks outweigh the job creation.
I know that America needs jobs desperately, but is sacrificing the environment worth it to create more jobs? I’ll let you be the judge on that issue.
Philippe Allaire is a French Canadian with a passion for mother earth. Help reduce your carbon footprint, look for alternative energy sources, many which can be found at sites like www.greenieproducts.com.