Unfortunately, the Keystone XL Pipeline is no longer on delay. In fact, this Friday President Donald Trump gave the okay for construction to begin. The president called it a “great day for American jobs.” It’s more than clear that President Trump has sided with energy advocates rather than environmentalists when it comes to the debate over the pipeline’s construction.
It’s been almost a decade since TransCanada applied to build the pipeline that estimated $8 million dollars. The pipeline would run from Canada through the United States. The State Department believes that the pipeline project will aid in the advance of national interests for the United States. This presidential decision is a complete one-eighty of the conclusion reached by the Obama Administration just over a year and a half ago.
Yet it would appear that the fight over the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is only a small battle, one that is part of the war on global warming. Trump’s decision on Friday shows which side of the line his administration stands on between environmental concerns and support of economic development.
Trump also has hopes that now TransCanada can continue building of the pipeline with “efficiency and with speed.” The previous concerns as to the route in which the pipeline will be directed is something that the president and the federal government continue to formulate the final details to.
The pipeline would stretch over 1,700 miles (2,735 kilometers) to carry oil from tar sands located in Alberta, Canada, all the way to refineries near the Texas Gulf Coast. This would cause the pipeline to have to pass through South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, moving 800,000 barrels of oil a day.
The pipeline would also be cause for the disruption of many Native American lands. Native Americas and environmentalists agreed on the fact that the building of the pipeline would push the United States even further back away from better options to aid on climate and energy policies.
This idea was not supported by the Obama Administration. After years of research, President Obama rejected the construction of the pipeline in 2015. His belief was that building the pipeline would hurt the credibility the United States has earned in international climate change negotiations. The issue was brought up later that year in the global deal with Paris, which insisted that countries cut down on their greenhouse gas emissions.
President Obama agreed that the pipeline would only continue to add to the use of carbon-heavy tar sand oil that would, in turn, contribute to the threat of global warming.
Yet despite the Obama’s effort, the decision was reversed this Friday by the Trump Administration who appears to be itching to begin construction on the pipeline.
In their reasoning, the State Department said that the Paris agreement was one reason for their decisions. The belief is that although many countries are in support of tackling climate change, the Keystone pipeline’s construction has no contribution to global warming. Keystone would, however, aid in supporting the U.S. by allowing it access to Canada’s “dependable supply of crude oil.”
While this is the State Departments wish, President Obama argued that the oil wouldn’t stay in the United States. Once the oil has been processed in American refineries it would then be exported out of the country. Yet TransCanada retorted saying that the Keystone pipeline was “not an export pipeline.”
If environmentalists had their way, the oil would never leave the ground, and the United States would take one large step into the future of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Yet those who are in support of Keystone say that idea isn’t entirely realistic. The oil would inevitably be transferred by train or truck which is equally as unsafe as the pipeline itself. The pipeline, they believe, is the safest route of transport for the crude oil. The numerous jobs the construction would create is also a favorable benefit.
While Trump predicted the number of jobs could reach 42,000, TransCanada said that more than 13,000 could be counted on. Many of those jobs would be considered “indirect.” They would be jobs that constructions sites and other industries benefit from. However, many people predict that there will only be a few thousand jobs that only last for the length of time it will take to build the pipeline. Once the line is built, there will only be the need for few workers to maintain the upkeep of the pipeline.
Many workers, and soon to be workers, are “ready and itching to get to work” on the pipeline, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said in a statement.
Yet it was only a few weeks ago that Trump stated the pipeline would be built with American steel. This, like a few of his other promises, proved to be false. TransCanada had already acquired steel to build the pipeline, and it would cost extra money and manpower to move perfectly good steel that is just lying there waiting to be used.
Even the White House stated that it would be rather hard to impose a request of such proportions on a construction project that is already underway.
While small sections of the Keystone XL pipeline have already been built, the pipe is still facing issues in some states who are making things as difficult as they can. For example, in Nebraska the pipeline still requires approval which TransCanada can’t seem to get.
Standing proudly beside Girling in the Oval Office this Friday, President Trump stated, “It’s going to be an incredible pipeline.”