Joe Biden signs order to revoke Keystone pipeline permit. Canada is disappointed with the new president’s decision. Biden’s cancellation of permit faces mixed reactions. Montana tribal members are relieved now as Keystone pipeline is blocked now.
What is Keystone pipeline?
Tar sands, they can be found all over the world but are heavily concentrated in Canada. It’s a mix of clay, sand and oil that can be extracted. The world’s most prominent climate scientist, James Hansen called it a carbon bomb. He warns exploiting tar sands will be game over for the climate.
How oil is extracted?
Mining oil from tar sands isn’t like sticking of straw in the ground and having oil guzzle up. To get the good stuff you have to cut down forests. And extract heavy crude from an area the size of England. Then to squeeze the oil out of the sand, you have to boil the ground. Which takes huge amounts of water and energy.
Impact on Climate, Environment and Life
Trom the tar sands to your car tank this oil produces 17% more greenhouse gas emissions than regular oil. It also leaves behind toxic pools of chemicals which are poisoning lakes and rivers. And they’ve been linked to rare forms of cancer in wildlife and people. But it doesn’t just affect Canadians because that oil will be moving all the way across the continent.
The Keystone XL pipeline would carry this oil from Alberta Canada all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. The oil industry touted as the safest and most advanced pipeline. But it’s gonna cross over the Ogallala Aquifer. The Ogallala aquifer is a groundwater source which underlies portions of eight Great Plains states from South Dakota to Texas. Water is pumped from the aquifer for agricultural irrigation across most of these states. There is concern that this water source is being depleted unsustainably.
So environmentalists worried about leaks and oil spills. On top of the environmental concerns Native American groups and ranchers are also against the pipeline because it will cross over their land even asking.
Keystone Pipeline – Benefits to Canada
Canada has the world’s third-largest oil reserves and the U.S. is its largest customer. So building pipelines equals energy independence from foreign sources and more jobs, but not really. Still the oil lobby is gung-ho but at least one company [Total] is having doubts because extraction is so expensive. Oil prices need to stay over a hundred bucks a barrel to even make it worth it. And even if the pipeline isn’t approved the rising global demand for oil means the tar sands is going to find a way out.
What did Barack Obama, Donald Trump & Joe Biden do?
Obama said he’d only approve Keystone if it does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. Finally he rejected the proposal after talking to his team. Here is his full statement.
Donald Trump said that Keystone Pipeline XL Will Lower Energy Costs. He approves it in 2017. Here is his full statement on why he approved it.