Keystone XL Pipeline Update

Spring 2012 –

While many Miami students were enjoying Spring Break, the United States Senate voted on the hot button issue of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The proposed pipeline would be 1,661 miles long and would carry tar sands oil from landlocked Alberta to the Gulf Coast. Environmentalists fear it would be too risky because oil spills could pollute natural areas, while oil proponents say the pipeline is necessary to increase domestic oil production.

The Keystone bill proposed by Kansas Senator Pat Roberts (R) that would have allowed the pipeline to be built came close, but did not pass in the Senate.  Only 56 senators voted for it, which was 4 short of the 60 needed to pass the bill.

If the proposed legislation had passed it would have made an amendment to a transportation bill that would have allowed construction on the pipeline to begin immediately.

Just two weeks ago, the pipeline had plans to move forward after TransCanada agreed to build the last leg of the pipeline, from Oklahoma to the Texas coastline.

However, this latest Congressional vote has not been the only barrier TransCanada has faced to its pipeline plans; the Oval Office has also blocked its ambitions.

In January, President Obama turned down TransCanada’s permit to begin work in the US because of concerns over the possible contamination of important ecological habitats like the Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska.  TransCanada is expected to re-apply for that permit with rerouted pipeline path around the aquifer.

Supporters, including George W. Bush, are calling the pipeline a “no brainer” for the U.S.  He argues that the pipeline would feed the economy and spur job growth.

“The clear goal ought to be how to get the private sector to grow,” said Bush during a conference on March 13. “If you say that, then an issue like the Keystone pipeline becomes an easy issue.”


By: Ariana Williams

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