With numerous detrimental oil spills in the past, it’s no wonder President Obama promised to veto the recently passed—62 to 36—Keystone XL pipeline bill.
The ongoing battle of suppressing and promoting the bill seems to finally be coming to an end, and rightfully so.
Why would the United States allow a 1,179-mile pipeline, stretching from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico that would help increase the effects of climate change, and would benefit an estimated 35 permanent operating jobs after construction is finished?
Plus, what happens in the event that this pipeline, which is estimated to carry as much as 830,000 barrels of oil a day, bursts, spilling oil into the land and waterways that we depend on?
In January, an estimated 50,000 gallons of oil found its way out of the pipeline that was carrying it, and into the Yellowstone River in Montana, and this surely isn’t the first time. Oil spills cost millions of dollars in clean up and restoration, as well as the damage done to the land and to plant and animal habitats.
With the fate of the pipeline currently resting in the hands of the president, who said his final verdict is dependent on the environmental impact of the pipeline and job creation, the EPA sent out a letter to the State Department after the bill passed, detailing the potential effects of the pipeline.
Over the course of the pipeline’s lifetime, the EPA confirmed that the construction of the pipeline would increase greenhouse gas emissions.
“…27.4 MMTC0 2-e per year is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 5.7 million passenger vehicles or 7.8 coal fired power plants,” said Cynthia Giles, EPA assistant administrator, in the letter, which can be found on their website.
The pipeline has been a subject of debate for years, and now that it’s nearing a more final verdict, it’s relieving to know that the president seems so sure to veto the bill. But why would we continue walking down dependence lane, when we could be looking forward to solar, wind or other renewable energy, which are gaining in popularity because of their proven successful on the sustainable front?
Though, there are many factors that play into the bill, and surely I haven’t covered all of them here, but I find this to be a no-brainer. Building a pipeline of that magnitude doesn’t fair well for the environment, and in the case that it does rupture, do we really want to pay out millions in conservation work when the harm can be prevented?
This article originally appeared in the University Chronicle on February 9, 2015.