Written by: Elan Waite
The extension of a pipeline already in place has had many environmentalists up in arms. The proposal would allow pipelines to carry oil from Alberta Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Though those who are for the pipeline say it will generate thousands of jobs and significant economic gains, the opposition claims that the weight of this extension on the environment is nowhere near acceptable.
Many fear that the oil being transferred can spill out, leaking into the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska, which is a major water source for an estimated twenty million citizens. Another concern is the harsh processing required for tar sand oil, which is different from the conventional crude oil processing method. With powerful allies on the opposing side like billionaire investor Tom Seyer, it seems as if the issue is far from having a simple yes or no resolution.
The Canadian government is pushing to get this approved; however, they don’t necessarily need it. They have means of transporting the oil regardless of this extension. The need for jobs as well as the promise of a stronger economy has many ready to jump onboard.
In a nutshell it has boiled down to one essential question: Economy or Environment? It’s a little disheartening to see people who ignore the possible side effects, especially with global warming and greenhouse gases as open to public forum and debate as it is now. In an ideal world there could be a compromise and we could find a way to combine the need for jobs with the need to preserve and protect our planet.
However, that’s not what we are dealing with. An oil leak would be catastrophic. The one that occurred in Kalamazoo in 2010 is still being cleaned up and if one should occur with this line, it would be on a larger scale. Water and wildlife would be affected. Flashes of baby birds covered in thick oil being scrubbed down with Dawn come to mind. If we could keep the oil away from the aquifer it would probably soften the blow and get a little more support.
In an attempt to get some backing on the Keystone XL proposal, Canada has announced it will try and do more as far as the environment is concerned. We have to remember: oil and water just doesn’t mix.