Controversial Keystone XL pipeline explained

7 years ago
ALBERTA, CANADA / STEELE CITY, NEBRASKA — U.S. President Donald Trump has greenlighted a much-disputed oil pipeline, causing an uproar in both the U.S. and Canada.

The BBC reports that 550,000 barrels of oil are currently being sent from Canada to the U.S. daily via an existing Keystone pipeline. Keystone XL, the pipeline’s fourth phase, is set to connect Alberta to Nebraska — a more direct route that will boost the supply of transported barrels to 830,000.

The Obama administration blocked Keystone XL in 2015, citing environmental concerns, and a lack of evidence that the project would lower fuel prices and create long-term jobs.

Environmentalists likewise oppose the pipeline, citing fears of contamination, as the pipeline runs over the Ogallala Aquifer that supplies drinking water to over two million people, according to USA Today.

Crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta is also notoriously greenhouse-gas intensive, emitting 18% more of the toxic gases when processed into gasoline.

In approving the project, Trump reasoned that it will create thousands of jobs. These jobs though, are short-term. However, some reports say the pipeline will only generate 35 permanent positions.

The president likewise has promised that American steel would be used to construct the pipeline, but has since gone back on that pledge.

Even with presidential approval, energy company TransCanada faces a number of hurdles, one of which is a permit from the Nebraska Public Service Commission to begin construction.

But with Nebraska landowners and activist groups on both sides of the border mounting a resistance, it doesn’t seem like the company will get to building anything anytime soon.