Problems in the Pipeline


Tyler White

Attack of the Cherokee

Daniel Carr, Writer

One vote in the senate halted a monumental environmental decision that would have further harmed our planet. The Keystone XL is the plan for an oil pipeline that runs from the oil-rich tar sands of Alberta, Canada down to refineries in the US  to process this tar into oil. It cut the US in half, which posed a threat to thousands of ecosystems the pipeline could have demolished. Many concerns, not only environmental, have been presented to the company TransCanada, whom solely owns the pipeline.

The environment is one of the major issues with the pipeline, though. Here is a list of its detrimental effects. The construction of the pipeline would devastate the Boreal forests in Alberta, Canada, which hold thousands of unique species specific to that environment– to get to the tar sands, the ground has to be ripped up to get the oil-rich tar sands.

And that is just to get to the oil. Next, it has to be refined. The tar sands have been declared the ‘world’s dirtiest oil,’ as it gives off more CO2 pollution and toxic sulfur dioxide than your average crude oil. Not only that, it takes three barrels of water to separate the sand from the oil. Water is a resource we direly need and can’t afford to use liberally, especially here in a California.

The project itself harms the US significantly more than it helps. We have noticed such a great plummet in gas prices that we expect it to go on forever. However, the prices will rise and they will not be as generous as before. The pipeline continues down a path of non-renewable energy that our government has long favored. If we stop now we can fund renewable energy projects, such as solar or hydroelectric, and they can become more efficient and cheap. This change to renewable energy would signal the beginning of a much greener future.

Tribes have been standing up to the company and government as the proposal neglects the permission of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in North Dakota. This would be a continuation of America’s long-standing tradition of forcing Native Americans off of land that is theirs. The Tribe declared the bill as an ‘act of war.’ Not only is the pipeline removing them from their homes, but it could poison their water supplies held in the aquifers as dangerous chemicals leak from the pipelines.

Lastly, these problems are caused by greed. People like to save money wherever they can, which risks the delicate ecosystems the pipeline slices through. According to, 
”Sections of pipe have dents, faulty welds, and pin-holes in some sections enough to see daylight through.”  People do not seem to care, which throws the environment into jeopardy– not only are the animals exposed, but also the people too.

As mentioned earlier it has been rejected, but only by one vote. With a new Republican majority in both houses, the threat likely will soon resurface. Just remember that if we the people voice our opinions loudly our senators and representatives will listen. It is our votes, after all, keeping them in office. The pipeline is a step backwards from the progression to clean, renewable energy we need to take. Green energy is the direction we should be heading.