The controversial TransCanada Keystone XL oil pipeline now is going down the straight and narrow path – a green decision that has some environmentalists screaming praises, and a move that has pipeline opponents no longer feeling as if pipeline is nothing but a pipe dream.
TransCanada, which is based in the Canadian province of Alberta, recently turned in several proposed routes to environmental officials in Nebraska, which will allow it to bypass the sensitive environmental region – particularly, Nebraska’s Sandhills region – that has had oil pipeline opponents in an uproar during the past few months. The new route would allow the pipeline to veer east around the groundwater-rich Sandhills before looping back to the original route.
The pipeline is slated to stretch for 1,700 miles from Canada to Texas. The concern still is that the pipeline travels over the High Plains Aquifer – which provides water to eight states – and the Ogallala, and already 15,000 miles of pipeline actually run over the Ogallala today. These types of concerns led to U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to prevent the oil pipeline project from moving forward earlier in 2012.
The oil pipeline is valued at $7 billion, and Republicans say that its erection is critical for the creation tens of thousands of jobs and for allowing America to be less dependent on foreign oil. Democrats, on the other hand, have cited reasons to not move forward with the project such as the potential of an oil spill and the large amounts of energy required to extract the “dirty oil” from Canada.
Still, Obama did agree to establish a 485-mile segment of the pipeline quickly from Oklahoma to Texas to deal with increasing oil production that has made current pipelines’ inadequate to meet the demand. The fate of the remainder of the pipeline still rests in murky waters.
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