This is the story of a brilliant plan that has considerable positive and negative impacts. We have to consider four different points of view: consumers, land owners-neighbors, oil industry, and environmental groups, each has different valid concerns and can realize different consequences.
The oil sands cover an area of 14.5 million hectares in Alberta, Cananda, with the remaining established reserves comprising 169.9 billion barrels of extremely heavy crude oil, referred to as bitumen. Approximately 16 percent of the 169.9 billion barrels is currently under active development. It is projected the reserves will last until 2045. The value of that amount of oil at $100 per barrel is $16.9 trillion. The benefit is clear to the oil industry.
The Keystone oil pipeline system is designed to carry up to 830,000 barrels of petroleum per day from the oil sands of boreal forests in western Canada to oil refineries and ports on the Gulf Coast. About half of the system is already built, including a pipeline that runs east from Alberta and south through North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.
Landowners are compensated for the pipeline crossing their land, but cannot say no in general.
There are existing pipelines for tar sands crude that has averaged a spill month including spills in seven different states. This oil is different and more corrosive than regular oil and has led to numerous problems as a result.
As consumers we are the least impacted since the majority of the oil will be exported overseas. It is Canadian oil transported to our coast for refining and shipment.
The president has rejected this pipeline plan for now.
What is your stance on this pipeline and why?
[Keystone XL Pipeline Map (Washington Post)]
Suncor Tar Sands Mining
Other Tar Sand Pipelines being added
Nebraska, Texas, Michigan
[Adapted from M. Pelto]