Founder of Coastal Playground
Keystone XL Pipeline

There is still a lot that is misunderstood about the Keystone XL pipeline project.

The Inertia

It’s no surprise that the oil companies are at it again. I mean, after all, we’re talking about a project that could make a select few billions of dollars — that’s right, billions with a “b.” But, the question is, at whose expense?

Well, if you ask me, it’s us. The average person who: works a nine to five; snowboards, skis, or surfs weekends; and enjoys a nature hike or two throughout the year… that’s who.

Now, even though our president has repeatedly said he will VETO any bill that comes across his desk regarding the Keystone XL, the pressure is building. Like a massive storm covering a canyon or giant swell hitting reef, this project has the potential to become a monster that nobody is willing or even able to tame. For those of you who are not aware, the proponents of the pipeline plan to construct this monstrosity through some of the most pristine lands in the nation, touting all the amazing benefits that will come along with it. But there are several groups out there that want nothing to do with it. In fact, they have researched the proponents’ claims only to find they are 100% false. Okay, so maybe not 100%, but pretty damn close.

Keystone XL Pipeline | Tar Sands Construction

The damage is irreversible; and the costs outweigh the benefits.

Myth 1: Less Pollution
Pipeline could spur expanded production of dirty tar sands. Keystone XL would increase U.S. emissions by the equivalent of up to four million cars annually. The nonpartisan congressional research service found in a survey of published literature that because tar sands oil is more carbon intensive than conventional crude oil, the Keystone XL pipeline would increase U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of “approximately 558,000 to 4,061,000 passenger vehicles” annually.

Myth 2: More Permanent Jobs
A report by the Cornell University Global Labor Institute stated that the pipeline “will create no more than 2,500 to 4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years, according to TransCanada’s own data supplied to the State Department.” It estimated that “the new permanent U.S. pipeline jobs in the U.S. number as few as 50.” The report also argued that the Perryman Group study ignored the negative consequences of the pipeline, which could lead to more jobs lost than would be created.

Myth 3: Lower Gas Prices
Energy experts agree that the Keystone XL pipeline would have little, if any, impact on gasoline prices. UC Berkeley’s Severin Borenstein told Media Matters that the pipeline would “bring additional oil to the world market, starting around 2020. The effect on oil prices then will be minuscule, the effect in the next couple years nonexistent.” Michael Levi, an energy expert at the Council of Foreign Relations, agreed that the impact of Keystone XL on gas prices “would be very small.” Even Ray Perryman, the economist hired by TransCanada to assess the economic benefits of the pipeline, said the effect would be “modest” and likely “swamped by the day-to-day factors that impact market prices.”

You see, even though some tout this project as the savior that will put America ahead of the race, the facts don’t lie. Truth is, we are being fed a bunch of bullshit paid for by the elite while they continue to ravage our planet in the name of profit.

  • Chuck Allison

    Residents of Canada have refused permission for the pipeline to cross canada to the pacific. What does that say?

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    • Our land is too precious, let’s try yours…

  • Not a Sheeple

    I’m sure Andrew Seddon is so environmentally conscious and only travels on foot or by bike to surf and has a zero fossil fuel foot print. Just another media hypocrite! Do what I say not what I douche.

    • My car runs on fusion, I only eat organic berries, and my clothes are all made from hemp grown in my own backyard…

  • corkscrew

    Im not in support of the pipeline, however this article is very weak. There are a lot maybe’s and could’s in the arguments presented. Several months ago these same experts never would have guessed that gas prices would slide to what they are now, so why believe thier furure predictions that this pipline will have no effect on the future stabilization of oil posture in the west.

    • Albee Doh

      The PPB dropped because the Saudis realized the US was serious about boosting domestic production, which would hurt the OPEC nations’ margins. The known supply is diminishing. This isn’t changing.

      Shale and tar sands require massive amounts of water for extraction and refinement. Water is second only to air for our survival and we are running out of potable sources.

      Well Servicing Magazine. Read it.

    • The only “Myth” in my article that has a potential to change would be the prices, this is really dependent on the world market. But, the jobs and emissions numbers are not predictions, these are stats based on a review of the project from TransCanada.

  • Chuck Allison

    Considering the state of the global ecomony and the world oil price, it’s unlikely the XL will even be built. There’s just not enough money in it anymore.

  • Mike Bradley

    Regardless if this pipeline gets built or not, Canada will most likely not suddenly stop developing tar sands or even decrease production and this is where the problem lies. The problem is not in its conveyance, but how it is produced and we can go on and on about that topic.

    But, here and now we are discussing to build or not to build a pipeline. If there is no pipeline more petroleum will just be shipped via rail cars, which holds a much higher potential for detrimental environmental impacts.

    In choosing between a pipeline and rail, I would choose the lesser evil and in my opinion that is the pipeline. Imagine a catastrophic train derailment in an urban area next to a river. The result would be, explosion, fire, toxic gas and smoke and an uncontrolled release of petroleum to surface water, groundwater and soil.

    I cannot speak with certainty, but I would expect that pipeline engineers are required to install a sophisticated leak detection system that would automatically stop the flow if a leak is detected. A release from a pipeline would likely be controlled and only affect soil and groundwater. No, it would not be good, but weighing this to the environmental impact of transporting oil in rail cars I would pick the pipeline, easy.

    In a perfect world……, forget it, this ain’t no perfect world. Our economy is not powered by unicorns riding on rainbows. Until it becomes economically feasible to get rid of fossil fuels all together we are stuck with this crap.

    • Albee Doh

      How much water is required to extract and refine these resources?

      I get the feeling you haven’t researched this.

      Incendiary and combustible tech is incredibly primitive. The fact that we continue to manufacture excuses to “stay the course” speaks poorly of our priorities. We also need these resources for far more than fuel and energy. Slowing production and transitioning to sustainables is an imperative on every level.

      Further depleting our already rapidly diminishing aquifers will do what to our agricultural sector? To food production in general?

      The arrogance of the FF industry in its blind assertion that the economy cannot survive without it is both absurd and patently false.


      The human race has only been dependent on these resources for 2-3 centuries. Somehow we managed to do just fine for several millennia without this dependance. We won’t do “just fine” for much longer if we keep deluding ourselves into believing that we can’t make do without it.

      We are going to run out of this stuff much sooner than later. We have already passed peak supply (2005, according to the industry itself). What is scary about this is that the spike in the curve of demand has risen very sharply in a very brief period relative to the time in which it became available for mass consumption. As the demand continues to spike the known supply is diminishing at a sharply exponential rate. Realistically, at current rates, it will be out of commercial viability in 50 years (perhaps marginally longer). In the coming decades (NOT centuries) governments and their militaries, weapons contractors, and major corporations will place a moratorium on commercial and public use of these resources as they trump all comers in the need for them.

      As citizens, we have become very spoiled (and subsequently very stupid) by everything that these resources have provided for us in a record period of time. But our “take everything for granted” attitude has also spurred a false belief that these resources will be around forever, despite the fact that we literally burn most of them out of existence.

      The lessons of the loss of the Great Cedar Forrest, Rapa Nui, and the US’s own Dust Bowl era appear to have been completely lost on us.

      We are indeed repeating history as farce. Shame there will be more tears than laughter when the wells run dry.

      Despite our claims to the contrary, humans appear to love internecine war and genocide. After all, we do more to ensure their inevitable arrival than to work, even minimally, to avert them.

      Like the songs says, “no one can convince me we aren’t gluttons for our doom.” For we are indeed gluttons.

      And you were saying what about environmental catastrophe again?

    • Albee Doh

      BTW, it is economically feasible. We’re just a willfully ignorant and lazy animal.

      Here’s some more info for you (don’t know about you but I’m not generally inclined to argue with rocket scientists):

      • Mike Bradley

        I appreciate the time you spent on this, but my point was that the extraction is the problem, not it’s conveyance. If the US decides not to build a pipeline these Canadian firms will find another and possibly more hazardous way of getting their product onto the global market.

        I hope you spend more time actually trying to make a difference outside of posting comments. Sounds like your voice needs to be heard.

        Unfortunately, no battles have ever or ever will be won on social media.

        • Albee Doh

          My “voice” is heard by people like Sam Harris, NdGT, Lawrence Krauss, and others much more qualified than myself to be the public figures in this realm.

          People on social media need to elevate their game and literacy in the fields of science, community, and political and economic discourse. Comments sections are one very good way to affect this discourse.

          The best thing anyone can really do is actively nudge the economy in a direction that supports sustainable systems and buys (npi) us more time to improve our technologies. Talking about this in any realm is a drop in the bucket and each one of us is indeed a drop.

          I have limited resources but do what I can by making as many socially responsible purchases as possible, signing and circulating various petitions and letters, supporting responsible local businesses (local multiplier effect), getting in on the occasional community action/event, staying healthy, and sharing information in any way that I can.

          One person screaming will never be louder than a million people whispering.

        • Mike, I have effectively used social media to build a company & a movement of beach cleanup volunteers. “Your potential is only limited by your imagination.”

          • Mike Bradley

            Absolutely! And I applaud your efforts because that is exactly how to be productive here. You are trying to bring people together.

            The least productive usage of social media is to attack opinions to create one’s illusion of superiority.

            And thank you for bringing up the subject of the Keystone XL pipeline again. It has long been out of the main stream news cycle even though we still have not reached a final resolution.

  • Bishadi

    Let’s add some HB style concepts. You ride the wave to see if true.
    Canadian corps using US congress to impose eminent domain upon US landowners and state. True / false
    Put the refinery closer to the fields, market the resource to the region of origin; North America. good / bad
    Then vote

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