Monday, March 9, 2015

Will the Keystone XL Pipeline Veto Effect Soil Contamination?

http://heavy.com/news/2014/11/keystone-xl-pipeline-facts-map-news-senate-house/
When discussing the potential effects of authorizing construction of the pipeline that would cross the border from Canada into the U.S. and end in Nebraska, an article from the Huffington Post reported that President Obama said, “Obviously there are always risks in piping a lot of oil through Nebraska farmland and other parts of the country.He stated that the veto was issued because it involved international relations, a power typically reserved for the office of the President, and also said that the executive branch would look into the proposal in order to decide whether or not additional construction of the transcontinental pipeline is in the best interest of the country. 

If you haven’t heard much about the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal, click here for a list of pros and cons of the bill.

Environmentalist groups were concerned the potential damages associated with construction of the pipeline. One major concern was that the plan for the pipeline would cross a crucial aquifer that supplies a large amount of the fresh water for Midwestern states that is used for not only drinking water, but field irrigation as well. An oil spill could put that aquifer at risk. Another oil spill concern is the potential for contaminating the soil associated with food production in the farmlands surrounding the pipeline. 

Outside of oil spills, should one occur, approving the construction could make it easier to extract oil from tar sands which is what some call a "dirty" supply of energy. This would ultimately result in more crude oil use and therefore increase CO2 levels. This could increase levels of acid rain, which in turn might affect soil fertility.

There has been much political debate over this issue. The veto gives the executive branch the ability to consider the effects of the construction themselves in terms of economic benefits as well as environmental impacts. 

Added by: Erin Kashuba

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