An Argumentative Essay Regarding the building of the Keystone pipeline

Topics: Petroleum, Fossil fuel, Renewable energy Pages: 6 (2019 words) Published: January 14, 2014


With an increasing global population and ever industrializing society's, environmental concern is rarely given priority over economic incentive. But what people fail to realize is that our environmental failures, and relative apathy about it set up a plethora of problems for future generations to deal with. One of the most important decisions president Obama will face in the next year will be whether or not to approve the building of the Keystone XL pipeline, a massively sized, and massively controversial oil pipeline that would stretch all the way from Alberta Canada, to American oil refineries along the Gulf Of Mexico. Despite the economic incentive present, the building of the Keystone XL pipeline should not happen because of the environmental risks posed, and the fact that it bolsters our dependence on fossil fuels.

Oil pipelines are prone to environmentally devastating spills, and have never proved to be an effective long term solution for the transport of crude oil. A pipeline the size of the Keystone XL would simply be a disaster waiting to happen. The proposed pipeline would stretch over 2,000 miles, and go directly above the Ogalalla Aquifer in the central United States. The Ogalalla aquifer is one of the largest, and most important in the entire United States, “About 27 percent of the irrigated land in the United States overlies this aquifer system, which yields about 30 percent of all ground water used for irrigation in the United States. The aquifer system supplies drinking water to 82 percent of the 2.3 million people (1990 census) who live within the boundaries of the High Plains study area.” (Dennehy) The sheer size of the aquifer makes it so that the Keystone XL would have to go over it in order to reach it's destination, so what damage a spill would have is only magnified by the agricultural importance of the aquifer. There have been 24 oil pipeline spills in the US alone over the last decade, spilling over 680 thousand tonnes of oil. (List of Oil Spills). And even despite a recent spill in Arkansas, proponents of the pipeline still have failed to properly look into it's potential impact. “...the study is missing some critical elements, including an in-depth review of pipeline safety issues, added pollution in refinery communities and a special assessment of the impact on wildlife....Keystone XL is rife with issues that exacerbate climate change and environmental injustices.” (Mogerman). Rather than be concerned with the issues presented by the pipeline, or the past precedent of failure many pipelines have had in the US, Keystone supporters seem to only be focused on the profit it's building would turn. And many wealthy supporters have turned to lobbying News programs into downplaying it's risks. “TV Outlets Mentioned Jobs Benefits Twice As Often As Spill Risks. Television outlets overlooked the threat of Keystone XL to the sensitive ecosystems along the pipeline route, mentioning the risk of a spill in just 20 percent of coverage since Election Day, November 6, 2012. Meanwhile, 43 percent of television coverage promoted the jobs benefits of the pipeline.” (Fitsimmons) The media is the most effective way to get a message to the public, and wealthy oil corporations have proved they're willing to spend money to get a persuasive message across to the public, “Keystone pipeline supporters outspend it's opponents 35 to 1... Some of this money going to news stations to encourage a positive view be portrayed.” (Israel) If the Keystone pipeline is built, a potential spill poses immense environmental risk to humans and wildlife alike, but supporters fail to acknowledge these risks and continue to push for it's production.

America should be moving toward widespread usage of renewable energy, for the sake of its economy and environment; the building of the Keystone XL pipeline would only further our national dependence on non-sustainable sources of energy. America, like many countries worldwide has been...
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