The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would produce enormous risk for the United States, and would yield no identifiable reward. A basic analysis of this risky venture makes it clear that the pipeline is not in our national interest. The lengthy list of risks—to water, public health, and climate among others—is not worth a pipeline that facilitates exports to China and Venezuela, does nothing to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and creates only 35 permanent jobs.
The so-called rewards that pipeline supporters continuously promote are in fact nothing but pipe dreams. The Keystone pipeline would have a limited impact on energy security, would do little to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and would create very few permanent jobs.
Without any tangible benefit of energy independence or sustainable jobs, why shoulder the enormous risks to water, public health, and climate? The Keystone pipeline is not in our national interest, and not worth the risk.
“There is no reward of energy independence with this pipeline. Only risks to our land and water. The jobs will soon disappear, the energy independence will be on a ship to some unknown destination, but the scar on America’s landscape will be with us forever.”
All Risk No Reward Coalition to Stop Keystone XL Chair
Pipeline supporters talk about how the U.S. will benefit from the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. But independent analysts have found that those “rewards” don’t translate from PR stunt to reality. The Keystone pipeline would have a limited impact on energy security, would do little to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, and would create very few permanent jobs.
These meager benefits do not come close to justifying the enormous risks.
Climate: In the EIS, the State Department reported that tar sands produce 17 percent more greenhouse gases emissions than average crude oil, and NASA climate scientist James Hansen has said that Keystone would be “game over” for climate.
Risk of spills to water and public health: The recent tar sands spill in Mayflower, AR was a reminder of just how risky tar sands pipelines are. There have been reports of lingering illness among residents–and elected officials are now petitioning to move the tar sands pipeline away from a critical water source.
Water: Dr. John Stansbury, a Professor of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering at the University of Nebraska, released a report that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would result in 91 major spills over the 50 year life of the pipeline. Given the unique chemical makeup of tar sand oil that causes the drillbit to sink in water, these spills are particularly difficult to clean-up and have long-lasting environmental impacts, as witnessed by the tar sands spill in the Kalamazoo River.
Health: The proposed pipeline route passes through the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest sources of freshwater in the country that provides drinking water and irrigation to millions of Americans. A spill in this important body of water would contaminate drinking water and lead to serious health concerns and complications.
The Fine print: Like a bad deal that gets worse the more you dig in, the fine print here is more than an afterthought. Whether it’s transference of liability to the landowners, localized economic and environmental impacts, loss of native rights, or a host of other issues Americans will be on the hook for—without any of the rewards—the fine print is a deal killer.
Land and landowner rights: Thousands of landowners will be forced to give their land to TransCanada, a foreign corporation, for the pipeline. Many landowners will have their land claimed against their will via eminent domain. Not only does this raise concerns for property rights, but it also poses risks to critical agricultural land.
Native rights: The pipeline route passes through a number of sacred tribal grounds, including the Ponca’s Trail of Tears. Native tribes are concerned about health and cultural impacts of the pipeline, concerns that have not been adequately addressed by the State Department.
Lack of rewards:
Doesn’t increase energy security, but rewards foreign competitors, such as China and Venezuela: The pipeline will not reduce our dependence on foreign oil because Keystone XL products will likely be exported overseas, including to China and Venezuela. The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is designed as a pipeline through the United States, not to the United States. Because of these exports, the pipeline will not reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
35 permanent jobs: In the Environmental Impact Study, the State Department found that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would create only 35 permanent jobs along the 1,700 mile pipeline.