An XL Problem: The Keystone Pipeline

Sometime ago, the day of the vote in congress, I tweeted that the Keystone XL pipeline was both dangerous and stupid. I also said that there would be more explanation to follow.

Well, here it is.

There are a number of arguments for and against the pipeline, here I’m going to explore one of them.

First, the pipeline will carry oil from Canadian tar sands. We know – because of spills in recent years – that this oil is vastly more difficult to clean up. It’s heavier, and tends to sink rather than float when it comes into contact with water. Also, we have no special or new procedures for cleaning up this type of oil.

That’s one.

Secondly, we know there has never been – to date – a pipeline constructed that was impervious to leaks. They all fail, and when they fail, a lot of oil comes spilling out.

Now, when most people think of the word ‘spill’ they think of spills in the kitchen; coffee stains on the counter, milk on the linoleum, that kind of thing. When thinking at that scale, which most of us do by default, an oil spill seems like no big deal. Except, when there is an oil spill it isn’t a few ounces on the counter or some drops on the rug. It’s several thousand gallons, often in the tens of thousands of gallons.

In the scientific parlance, that’s a metric fuck-ton of gunk, pouring out onto/ into the ground.

So, that’s two.

Thirdly, the pipeline’s proposed route takes it across one of, if not the largest underground aquifer in the central/ western United States. Millions of people get their water from that aquifer. Thousands of farms get irrigation water from that same source. What happens when that source is contaminated by this particular brand of hard to contain, hard to clean oil?

That’s three.

Add them together what we have is very difficult to clean up oil, the largest source of water in that part of the country, and technology where it’s not a question of if it will fail, but when it will fail.

The only conclusion I can draw from this information is that, if the pipeline goes through, one day it will fail and contaminate the main source of water for a third to one half of the United States. That’s people and farms. Citizens and the food supply.

And for what? So some huge multi-national conglomerate can make a little to a lot more profit? So we might get a few jobs thrown our way in the process?

Which do you think is more valuable, money or the ability to sustain life?

What matters more, lining some company’s pockets or putting clean food and water on America’s dinner tables?

I know what I choose.

I choose people over profit. Survival over some faceless shareholder’s dividend statement.

If you like surviving, if you like eating food we don’t have to ship in from other countries, you should do everything you can to fight against this dangerous and stupid project.

So, what’s your choice?  

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About tessarnold2

I'm a writer, a student, and someone generally crazy enough to think other people will be interested in his deranged thoughts.
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