Keystone Crisis

Leily Zhu, News Editor

It has been slightly over a week since President Donald Trump has assumed position as the President of the United States and in those days in office, he has taken many actions to “Make America Great Again.”
These actions all tend to follow the trend of undoing the actions of his predecessor, former president Barack Obama. Among many major changes that directly oppose the actions of Obama, including the immigration ban and healthcare reform, Trump has made an executive order to revive the Keystone pipeline, the very pipeline Obama rejected in 2015.
The Keystone pipeline is a proposed project that would extend from Alberta, Canada to south of Steele City, NE. It is expected to transport over 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day, mainly from the sands of Canada to the U.S.
In Trump’s campaign to “Make America Great Again,” this pipeline stands as a way to strengthen trade between Canada and the U.S. and move the country away from dependency on the Middle East for oil. For the building of this pipeline, he only wants American steel to be used, as a way to increase jobs for the American people.
According to The Washington Post, Republicans have claimed that tens of thousands of jobs will be created, however this is inaccurate. Only a few thousand jobs during the building process, and 50 permanent occupations will be created through the construction of the pipeline.
Not to say that a few thousand new jobs are insignificant, but do these benefits outweigh the drawbacks?
The actual pipeline itself, not including possible spills, creates no significantly large detrimental effects to the environment, meaning no worse effects than activities that already contribute to the global carbon production.
However, the oil extraction presents environmental concerns. As stated by The Washington Post, the oil or “tar sands” that the Keystone pipeline will be extracting from, reside mainly in the sands of Alberta, Canada. The process of this particular fossil fuel extraction is considered “dirty,” using a large amount of energy, in a non-efficient manner to receive fuel for more energy.
According to The Seattle Times, the production of this oil for the Keystone pipeline requires the destruction of forests and it will release an average of 17 percent more greenhouse gases than the production of conventional crude oil.
These greenhouse gases will only contribute to speeding up the global warming of our earth. Scientific American reported record floods in Nashville, TN and Pakistan, and dangerous heat waves in Russia all due to climate change. Obama originally denied the operation of the Keystone pipeline was to “go green” and reduce the oil dependency of our country, encouraging a cleaner environment for the future. The revival of this pipeline will only increase our dependency on oil, from North America rather than the Middle East.
By reopening this pipeline, it could help “Make America Great Again,” but to what extent?
The increase of jobs via the Keystone pipeline is a commendable benefit, however its effects are concerning. The oil extraction presents risks for our environment in the present, but the continuation of it will also harm the world in the future.