We did it! After thirteen years of speaking out against the Keystone Pipeline, it has officially been canceled. If it was fully constructed, the pipeline would have transported 830,000 barrels of oil from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska every single day. This would have directly gone against everything that scientists and governments working towards mitigating climate change have worked for.
The Keystone Pipeline has a complicated history. It was initially proposed in 2008. It was approved by the Obama administration, then canceled after widespread backlash. However, the Trump administration later re-approved it. On his first day in office, current President Joe Biden permanently revoked the permit for the Keystone Pipeline as part of his clean energy promise. TC Energy, the company behind the pipeline, announced in a statement on June 9th, that after extensive consultation with the Government of Alberta, they decided to entirely cancel the project.
Although this is excellent news, the Keystone Pipeline isn’t the only pipeline that was being planned. And President Biden isn’t as eager to pull the plug on the other ones. The Dakota Access Pipeline and the Line 3 Pipeline are massive pipeline projects that are just as damaging to the environment and our communities. Environmentalists are worried about the risk of an oil spill and the disruption to the ecosystems during construction. Tribal attorney Tara Houska has warned the current administration that “you can’t cancel Keystone and then build an almost identical tar sands pipeline” about the Line 3 pipeline.
The two pipelines together are estimated to transport 1,330,000 barrels of oil every single day. On top of this, Attorney Houska explained that the construction involved with adding to the Line 3 pipeline is equivalent to 50 new coal-powered plants. At this time, President Biden has not made any definitive stance for or against either pipeline project. Unfortunately, we are running out of time. Biden’s lack of action goes directly against his promises to mitigate the climate crisis and move America towards clean energy.
Proponents of these pipelines argue that they create jobs and are the safest way to transport oil. However, on top of the thousands of jobs that can be created as we move towards clean energy with renewable energy plants, retrofitting homes and buildings, and much more, the transportation sector is continuing to move quickly towards renewable energy. Furthermore, these pipelines explode and leak frequently. This leads to contaminated water systems, poisoning and suffocating wildlife, and toxic waste that takes years to fully clean up. The current administration must speak up and take action against these pipelines. If we are indeed to move towards clean energy, this transition must happen as quickly as possible in order to ensure the people and our planet’s safety.
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Photo: Quinten de Graaf via Unsplash