On Sunday, February 17, 2013, thousands of environmental groups, organizations, and angry individuals rallied together in Washington D.C. to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline, which has become a huge debate.
Already delayed in congress, the United States has yet to reach a decision that could potentially sever ties with neighborly alliances in Canada or on the flipside, with environmental organizations that backed the Obama administration in previous elections.
The Keystone XL Pipeline has been met with skepticism on the environmental end, which believes that going forward with the project would bring about disastrous outcomes. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune asserted, “President Obama holds in his hand a pen and the power to deliver on his promise of hope for our children. Today, we are asking him to use that pen to to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and ensure that this dirty, dangerous, export pipeline will never be built” (Huffington Post). Environmentalists claim that the $7 billion pipeline would cause even more harm than regular forms of producing oil, due to the oil being derived from tar sands that essentially releases more carbon dioxide (NY Times). Thus, this carrying of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico would bring about more energy use and the burden of larger greenhouse gas emissions than conventional crude oil emits (NPR).
Yet proponents of the pipeline believe this could help lessen the United States’ dependency on unstable foreign oil, namely OPEC. By relying on other sources such as Canada and Venezuela for import, the United States could build relationships with countries trying to build their energy demand base. According to the NY Times, “The Keystone pipeline would increase Canadian oil imports by more than 700,000 barrels a day, the equivalent of roughly two-thirds of Venezuelan imports.”
In his State of the Union address, President Obama proclaimed, “We will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” As the President alluded to this call for action, many are wondering what exact policies he would enact and if this Keystone pipeline decision is what he had in mind.
For more information on this issue, check out these articles in the news:
*Picture taken from the NYTimes