Campus News

New oil pipeline poses problems for environment

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Canadian energy company TransCanada is attempting to develop a synthetic crude oil pipeline that would bring oil from northeastern Alberta, Canada to several large oil refineries in the United States. The total project cost is set to be around $7 billion and once completed would channel 700,000 barrels of crude oil into the United States each day. The pipeline has been dubbed the Keystone Pipeline System and has the potential to hold great ramifications both economically and environmentally. Many believe the pipeline would greatly reduce the United States’ reliance on foreign oil and also create thousands of jobs. However, environmentalists are concerned about the damage the pipeline may do to the environment. Initially, the pipeline was set to travel through the Sandhills in Nebraska and over the important fresh water reserves in the Ogallala Aquifer. However since then, TransCanada has altered the pipelines route going around the Ogallala Aquifer. Jan. 18 President Barrack Obama denied TransCanada a pipeline permit without a permit the pipeline cannot enter the United States' border. Student Katy Boonstra had this to say regarding the Keystone Pipeline. “First of all, the Pipeline is delivering in ‘dirty fuel’ which undermines the US commitment to cleaner energy,” said Boonstra. “Secondly, and more importantly in my opinion, the proposed route of Keystone could be over the Sandhills in Nebraska, a wetland ecosystem, and more significantly, the Ogallala Aquifer, which is one of the largest reserves of fresh water in the world.” Boonstra also said if the fresh water area were polluted it could ruin clean drinking water reserves for millions of people. She also noted that some of the proposed pipeline routes would not cross over this precocious water source. Boonstra believes the economic gains of the pipline can only be worth it if the pipeline bypasses both the wetlands and the Sandhills. Otherwise, the risks to the environment far outweigh the economic gains. TransCanada executives said if the United States does not allow the pipeline to enter its borders the company will create a pipeline to send the oil to countries in Asia.
The Keystone Pipeline System holds great ramifications both for the U.S. economy and its environment. ( photo from
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