The Keystone Pipeline Proposal


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By Nicole Aitken

There are ten things you need to know about the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline proposal:

1. The pipeline is needed now to supply refineries that in turn provide the gasoline and diesel fuel required in the United States. About 40 percent of the U.S. refining infrastructure is located along the Gulf Coast. Historically, many of these refineries have been supplied by Venezuela or Mexico. Venezuelan oil is currently being redirected to China and dwindling supplies of Mexican oil are being retained for use in Mexico. The simple choice is to replace the oil from within North America—or from the Middle East. Keystone will provide a reliable, safe and long-term link to Canadian and U.S. supplies. Firm contracts for delivery of North American oil via the Keystone System are designed to replace contracts from other geographic suppliers that are expiring.

2. While we work to develop alternatives to fossil fuels, oil and natural gas remain the foundation of American energy policy. One misconception is that the United States will no longer need oil in a very short period of time, perhaps within five or 10 years. According to the estimates of our own government and third-party industry experts in the U.S., petroleum and natural gas will be required to supply more than half of all the energy consumed in America until at least 2035. Cutting off reliable supplies of crude oil before we have made the transition to alternative energy sources is neither responsible nor feasible. In short, we need the energy.

3. Twenty-five percent of Keystone XL capacity is expected to be used to deliver U.S. oil from Montana and the Dakotas to meet U.S. needs. Oil from the Bakken formation, the fastest-growing production region in the U.S., is constrained by pipeline bottlenecks. Keystone XL will create a new path to deliver this important source of domestic oil to markets. Keystone XL will provide market outlets for U.S. producers, protecting their jobs and ensuring their growth, while keeping U.S. consumers supplied with energy from nearby sources.

4. TransCanada is widely recognized as an organization with an effective commitment to sustainability. The company has been selected several years running to the “Global 100” and the “Dow Jones Sustainability Index.” These honors reflect TransCanada’s track record of responsibility and its commitment to the environment, communities and other stakeholders.

5. Pipelines are the safest means of delivering crude oil and bulk energy products. Like the airline or mining industries (among others), when our energy industry experiences a significant incident, such as a leak or spill, it generates due attention. However, leaks or spills, especially along the right of way, are rare. Due to our industry’s commitment to safety, spills along the right of way decreased from two incidents per thousand miles in 1999–2001 to 0.8 incidents per thousand miles in 2005–2007, a decline of 60 percent. The energy industry and its workers throughout the U.S. have a vested interest in protecting pipelines from spills and leaks in our communities.

6. Virtually every gallon of gasoline used in Nebraska travelled through a pipeline as crude oil and again as a refined product. More than 200,000 miles of pipeline owned and operated by a large number of companies and U.S. workers carry crude oil and other energy liquids throughout North America, in many different environments, including aquifers and other important natural resource areas. These pipelines have been supplying our energy needs for decades—and will continue to meet our needs for decades to come.

7. The routes of Keystone pipelines each minimize impacts by minimizing the length of pipe constructed. For pipelines, impacts on landowners and the environment and even the risk of a spill or leak is proportional to length. The first Keystone project makes use of 530 miles of existing pipeline across Canada, effectively shortening the project by moving the starting point from southeastern Alberta to Manitoba, very close to the U.S. border. Because no existing pipeline capacity is available for Keystone XL, it follows a more direct north-south route—the shortest possible distance between the points of supply and points of demand.

8. Pipelines and petroleum safely coexist with the Ogallala Aquifer today. There are currently almost 21,000 miles of pipelines crossing Nebraska, including almost 3,000 miles of crude oil or liquid pipelines. Many miles of these pipelines operate safely through the Ogallala Aquifer. In addition, oil wells have been drilled and are in production within areas overlying the Ogallala Aquifer, including in western Nebraska. While the risk of an oil release from this pipeline in an area where it could reach the aquifer is low, what this existing infrastructure and natural geology points out is that even if it does occur, the impact is localized and manageable.

9. While construction and remediation will be more challenging, pipelines regularly cross sand environments. TransCanada has more than 50 years’ experience in construction and operation of pipelines in many different environments, including sand hills. TransCanada will employ best practices to minimize impacts and successfully revegetate and restore lands and environments wherever it builds. TransCanada recognizes the unique challenges in this area and continues to consult with local experts such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Nebraska Department of Roads.

10. While improving national security by safely delivering a stable and secure source of energy, the Keystone XL Pipeline Project will employ hundreds of Nebraska construction workers, increase local economic activity and increase local tax revenues.



Submitted by VAN GALUSHA (not verified) on
1:Oil is a commodity will be sold to highest bidder. That could be China via the U.S. pipeline we take the risk China gets the oil. 2:Not only is Tarsands oil dirty and costs more to refine it create's more greenhouse gases and is causing enviromental issues where it is mined. 3:Keystone was dead set against having an on-ramp for the U.S. until they realized that there was more opposition than anticipated. 4:However they were threatening people with Eminent Domain a year ago well before the Presidential permit was even going to be signed. Also making people sign confidentiality statements not to disclose terms of their settlement. The more you spend for Lawyers the more you get from Trans-Canada. While they pressure your neighbor to sign before they take them to court. Sen. Johannas had to write them a letter to stop threatening people. 5:Who knows at 1400 PSI,thinner walled steel and only 4' feet below the ground in how many different types of soils. Lab tests aren't real life. Ask BP about the gulf. what would happen if it leaked 1 gallon and they shut it off right now. How do you shut off 1400 PSI at one valve with out blowing something up behind it. Something has got to give. And if this leak is at the bottom of a large hill or ravine won't the pressure from gravity force the it to keep leaking? I am no engineer. I just do not know how a control station anywhere other than at the top of said hill can stop a leak so fast. 6:Pipelines in the U.S. are for the U.S. whether they are pumping crude or pumping gas. They start in the U.S. and end in the U.S. Here were are only used as a highway for foreign oil to possibly go to foreign countries. 7:Keystone had an easement for their first pipeline, why not put in two while they are doing it? Bad Planning? Or does Canada not have Eminent Domain Laws. So cross the border as soon as possible. The longer it stays in Canada the more taxes they receive. Or not. 8:I would like to see a map of a crude oil pipeline crossing the Ogallala Aquifer in the sand hills. The aquifer runs clear down to Texas. This statement is terribly misleading!!! So we do have that many miles of pipelines and crude oil does cross the aquifer. Don't make it sound like this is all happening in the Sandhills of Nebraska. 9: The Sandhills of Nebraska are a geological wonder. Don't compare these with any other place in the world, they are unique. 10:Temporary jobs, most of them union steel workers or welders not a lot of those in the Sandhills. Had to offer these jobs to unions to get the steel workers union off their back for using substandard steel imported. Tax revenues are personal property depreciates over 15 years after that they are home free at 900,000 BPD at say for math reasons $10.00 a barrel for transport. You do the math. 11: I know there wasn't 11 things to know but I have to wonder why they tried to pay off our Governor and Attorney General with campaign donations. Good for Nebraska? You decide.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
It looks like the Keystone XL article is incomplete. Does #10/jobs have more supporting detail?

Submitted by Nancy H. (not verified) on
The supporting detail for point #10 was a reference to their website:

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

it would be wonderful to see the facts discussed but like a lot of anti protesters you make false accusations and assumptions, at this point in time the USA gets it's oil and does business with the worst countries and regimes in the world why not stop the Saudi's or the Nigerians? how about CHAD and then HUGO CHAVEZ. no skin off Canada's nose if you don't buy our oil the asia market will take all we produce and that will just the USA further and further from security and supply. try thinking a little before engaging your anti retoric against a country that just spent ten years at war beside the USA as friends. On top of the above there are tens of thousands of pipelines crossing not only Nebraska but the rest of the USA, I am astouonded at the short sightedness that is taking place.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

It is so they can refine and export more refined gasoline, the USA currently exports almost half a million barrels of refined gasoline a day, started in 2008, and is increasing, this is no more for us securiety, it is about oil company profits. Also, the pipeline is crossing wetlands. Taking properties form homeowners. and will cost at least 7 billion dollars. They could build a refinery closer to supply the northers states if that was the issue, at a cost of 4-6 billion. That could also handle the oil fields being developed the amount suggested may produce up to 24 billion barrels of oil. This pipeline is only so they can export more refined gasoline and keep American gas at a high price. so not support greed,

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Currently running on TV is an ad by Exon Mobile showing a black man claiming that the processing of oil sands is no more of an environmental problem than deep well drilling. That is a lie. The process for oil sands is about five times more harmful than deep well drilling. The process also uses a large amount of fresh water, which becomes contaminated and no longer usable for any propose. Ponds or lakes called trailing ponds must be constructed to hold this contaminated water. If all this oil sands is so safe as we are being told, why lie about it?

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