Is XL Always Better?
By: Nikolas de Wit
Summary: The name Keystone comes from a particular wedge-shaped piece of stone used in the process of building an arch. The Keystone is located at the apex of the arch and is essential for proper weight distribution along the overall structure. The name Keystone has been front and center for climate activists for well over a decade. Dating back to when the Keystone Pipeline was first proposed in 2005. The Pipeline has been the topic of immense debate and scrutiny, due to its mission of transporting large amounts of crude oil, located in Alberta’s oil sands, across the United States. The more recent proposal refers to a pipeline addition named “Keystone XL”, the “XL” standing for “Export Limited”. This proposal focuses on the construction of a new, more direct, pipeline starting in Hardisty, Alberta and leading to Steele City, Nebraska. This addition has received the greatest controversy because of its path over Nebraska’s Sandhills. A National Natural Landmark covering nearly 20,000 square miles of prairie land, and a portion for the Ogallala Aquifer which spans eight states and is a major source of water for agricultural irrigation and drinking water for nearly 1.9 million people. The Keystone Pipeline XL has the ability to provide the United States with large quantities of crude oil needed to supply the countries ever growing consumption of fossil fuels. While also posing a large ecological concern due to a possible spill and its effects on the surrounding ecosystem, people, and communities. All the while, promoting carbon emissions through the use of fossil fuels in America.
Why we should care? I believe that we should care immensely about the proposed installation of this pipeline. The pipeline not only transports massive amounts of crude oil, but it also promotes the consumption of fossil fuels across the United States.
The article published by National Geographic effectively communicates and outlines the Keystone Pipeline XL propostion. National Geographic is an extremely reputable source, renowned for exploring and documenting enviormental topics that occur all over the world. As well as funding hundreds of research and conservation projects globally each year. Not only was the overall objective discussed in the article, the positive and negative impacts of the Keystone Pipeline were explored as well. Verifying that this article is a great source of information for which to formulate an opinion. I would recommend this article to anyone interested in doing their part for the environment, and educating themselves on the Keystone Pipeline situation.
Science in Action.
Dr. Ken Caldeira is a Senior Scientist at the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science.
Dr. Ken Calderia is a Senior Scientist at the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science. The Global Ecology department was the first new Carnegie Department created in more than 80 years. The Departments goal is to study and observe the ecological processes and mechanisms at the spatial scale, as well as at the large scale of the entire planet. The department strives to seek out notable scientists motivated to understand how the planet operates, and how it will respond to future changes. With a mission to educate and raise awareness on environmental topics all across the world.
My topic, The Dakota Access Pipeline, has the same risks as the Keystone Pipeline. Many were actually worried that it would soon become as big as Keystone, meaning that we would become very dependent on it for our oil resource. I find it interesting how so many of these projects are allowed to cross aquifers and natural landmarks, as if the risk weighted to the environment was much less a problem then our growing economy. If one small problem were to happen it could impact many. It is such a hard topic to cover altogether because it is an efficient way to transfer oil, but it also has many risks.
This was a great post! You wrote a well organized and thought out blog post! I learned a great deal from this. I have known about the Keystone Pipeline since 2015/2016 when the protests were occurring. Although I have never really taken the time to thoroughly research the topic and truly learn about it. I do that know that I oppose any new expansion of fossil fuel production, consumption, or transportation. After reading you post I was able to learn much more about the pipeline and its true intention. I di not know that the pipeline would run through 20,000 square miles of prairie land or that it would rest on Ogallala Aquifer. To be honest, before this class I had no idea what an aquifer was or just how important they are to our survival and food production system. Projects like the Keystone Pipeline and the Line 5 project here in Michigan scare me. What if there is a malfunction in the safety systems? So much precious land and natural resource reserves would be lost to a careless, avoidable human mistake. If we truly want to see a healthier environment, we must act to slow the need and demand for fossil fuels. I am sure there are plenty alternatives to this pipeline, however I am sure that corporate greed and the short-term economic effects outweigh the long-term environmental effects. Again, you wrote a very well thought out and researched blog post and I want to thank you for teaching me about the Keystone pipeline!
This is a really interesting topic that I've read a lot of in the news. I'm curious is this still a proposal or is there some action being taken? It is amazing how the impact on the environment in these cases is taken with little regard. I feel like with the addition of another pipeline the path towards renewable energy will become longer. I am wondering to see how the next presidential administration will stand with renewable energy and how they will act.
Nikolas de Wit
Hello Michael, The Keystone XL Pipeline is a project which is currently active and under construction. Under President Barack Obamas administration, permits which would allow progress were revoked (November 2016). As a result halting the construction. Under Donald Trump's presidency, the project had been reapproved but not without tremendous scrutiny (January 2017). The project has met many obstacles, and has been halted and started numerous times. Just last week president elect Joe Biden promised "To kill the Keystone XL Pipeline" (November 2020). As for the true fate of this project, only time will tell.
I was really interested reading this post because I was unaware of this pipeline's destructive potential. I did not realize how much land this pipeline would be using and if something were to go wrong, how of the enviroment would suffer as it takes up 20,000 miles of land.
I loved this topic! From what I see in this situation XL is not better. I learned in my geology class that we are rapidly losing the amount of fossil fuels that the planet has left for us. This pipeline is only helping exceed that process. Also, I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of damage it would create. There are so many mishaps that has happened with past oil companies. I don’t think we can afford to have another one especially in times like we are in today.
I liked that you mentioned this pipeline would encourage oil consumption. Of course there is a huge ecological concern, but a bigger picture issue is that we need to phase out the use of fossil fuels. I also thought it was interesting about how large the Ogallala Aquifer is so massive. It is such a big risk to build a pipeline over such a crucial water source.
Nice news. Very much informative. Thanks for sharing
Heba M. Chokr
This blog post was very informative about this new Keystone Pipeline XL. The pipeline has been a huge topic of debate for years and this post was a great reminder of that. Even though it may seem like the pipeline would be beneficial in providing more availability of fossil fuels, it has the potential to be devastating to our environment.
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