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Should Obama approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline?
The massive infrastructure project would create thousands of jobs — but potentially ravage the environment, too
 
Protesters form a 12,000-person human chain around the White House on Sunday, and call for President Obama to say no to the proposed 1,700-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Protesters form a 12,000-person human chain around the White House on Sunday, and call for President Obama to say no to the proposed 1,700-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Jeff Malet/Maletphoto.com

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline awaiting approval from President Obama would create an estimated 20,000 jobs, $5 billion in annual tax revenue, and 700,000 barrels of oil a day. But it's not all good news. Environmental concerns about the proposed 1,700-mile-long pipeline, which would transport crude from the Alberta oil sands in Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, continue to mount. On Sunday, environmentalists formed a 12,000-person human chain around the White House in protest, while Nebraskans have called for a rerouting of the pipeline away from an environmentally delicate area of the state. Should Obama approve Keystone XL?

Yes. This should be a no-brainer: If Obama and the Democrats "really cared about jobs, this pipeline would be underway," says Rich Lowry at National Review. This is a "big, honking" infrastructure project that would create thousands of jobs in the struggling construction industry. "This shouldn't be a close call." And make no mistake — Canada will "exploit its natural resources," with or without us. If we balk at Keystone XL, Canada will build a pipeline of its own to the Pacific, and "send its oil to China" instead. We should approve this project immediately.
"Obama's Keystone XL kops"

Hold on. This would devastate the environment: Keystone XL wouldn't be carrying "oil from old-fashioned, stick-a-tube-in oil fields," says Brandon Keim at Wired. "Alberta's vast oil deposits are dirty and hard to reach, mixed into sand or locked deep underground." That means getting to them will be a "hugely energy-intensive process" that will leave "apocalyptic landscapes" in its wake. Old forests and bogs will be stripped and drained and turned to "barren slopes and toxic ponds." It could take hundreds of years for the environment to recover. That's why American environmentalists want no part in the transport of this Canadian oil.
"The apocalyptic landscapes of Alberta's oil sands"

We should just focus on clean energy: "There's no question the Keystone XL pipeline would be wrong," says Michael Brune at the San Francisco Chronicle. This project risks the health of the American people by potentially contaminating the air and water supply. Plus, it's wrong "to pretend we don't have what it takes to move our country Beyond Oil and build a clean-energy economy based on renewable energy and efficiency." Let's focus on "clean, safe, and secure energy," instead of furthering our dependence on oil.
"Keystone XL is the wrong future for America"

 

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