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Soil, Not Oil

Posted by: | November 8, 2011 | No Comment |

Although I’m required to blog about my theme, I feel that I’ve written enough about coffeehouses and spoken news throughout the semester to deserve a short break. This week, I’m writing about an issue of great importance, and one that will affect millions of Americans for generations to come.

The Keystone Pipeline is a pipeline system owned by Canadian oil company TransCanada which transports extremely crude oil known as tar sands from their extraction cites in Alberta, Canada to parts of the U.S such as Oklahoma and Illinois.

TransCanada is now planning to expand the Keystone System to the Gulf Coast, laying pipeline through America’s heartland and posing enormous dangers to wildlife and millions of people.

The pipeline expansion (nicknamed Keystone XL) is expected to go through several states and projected to cost over seven billion dollars. Advocates of the project believe the pipeline can reduce American dependency on foreign oil, but at what cost?

In the first year of Keystone I’s operation, there were 12 oil spills, despite TransCanada’s initial prediction that they would only have one spill every seven years. Tar sands are extremely toxic and corrosive, so in order to run them through a pipeline, they have to be highly pressurized, raising the stakes for when a pipeline hemorrhages. Not to mention the fact that if tar sands spill into a body of water (like, say, the Yellowstone River), they don’t float, which makes it extremely difficult to clean up.

Considering the pipeline’s transnational position, it must be approved by the U.S. State Department. It was announced last week that President Obama would make the final decision that will determine the approval of the project, though it has not been made clear when that decision will be made.

I encourage everyone to contact your representatives and urge them to act against the Keystone XL Pipeline. If not for your own interest, for that of your children. And if that’s not convincing enough, take a look at how adorable this North American river otter is!

under: Comm 455
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