Keystone XL: An extra large problem

There is currently a lot of debate surrounding the anticipated Keystone XL pipeline, planned to stretch from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast, a length of nearly 2,000 miles. In DC, investigations are underway to respond to discrepancies in “improper pressures on policy makers and possible conflicts of interest,” according to this New York Times post. On top of the recent Occupy protests, activists took to the streets in DC to make congress aware of the environmental impacts involved in the Keystone XL pipeline. Tar sands excavation for crude oil is a destructive process that emits an excessive amount of GHGs into the atmosphere. It takes two tons of tar sands to produce one barrel of crude oil. The techniques used to excavate tar sands are detrimental to the landscape and the ecosystems located there.

The government is struggling between the interests of the environment and the interests of the people, as seems to be the case quite often. The 2,000 mile pipeline would create thousands of jobs in the United States, in rural areas of the Midwest that desperately need them. But are those benefits worth the negative environmental impacts? You can read some of the debate between these two interests here.

While no definite timeline or conclusion has been set on the pipeline, we expect to hear a statement regarding plans for the Keystone XL in the coming days. Politics has a strong grip on the environmental movement, and this is yet another example of that control.

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