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Keystone XL Pipeline, Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Recently, the Supreme Court refused to continue construction on the Keystone XL Pipeline, rejecting Trump’s bid to jumpstart construction. Earlier, a federal judge sided with the area’s local tribes and ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline to shut down while a more extensive environmental impact review is done. Two utility companies announced the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline due to costs and delays. This is huge. Three major pipelines are being halted. This gives us more time to shut these pipelines down completely.

The Keystone XL pipeline is a planned oil pipeline that will stretch from Alberta to Nebraska. It would carry around 830,000 barrels of oil every day. It would be a more direct route than the current Keystone Pipeline, boosting the oil flow from Canada. The US wants this pipeline built because it would bring in more Canadien oil, thus lowering the imports of Middle Eastern oil. Building this pipeline has many environmental drawbacks including the risk of spillage. Any pipeline can leak, and the oil would destroy the environment of the spillage area. Building this pipeline would also increase the development of Alberta’s oil sands, which would boost oil production and move energy in the direction of fossil fuels instead of renewable energies like solar and wind. The tar sands are actually a type of rock formation that has oil inside. The process of extracting this oil is much more polluting than drilling. Extracting the oil from the tar sands will pollute 10-17% more than crude oil. If this pipeline was built, it would pretty much be game over for the climate.

The Dakota Access pipeline is an oil pipeline that is temporarily shut down for a more extensive environmental check. The pipeline is designed to carry 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota to Illinois. This pipeline is at risk of a leak, which would coat the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s native lands in oil and ruin the local habitats. This pipeline travels under the Missouri River, which is the primary drinking water source for the native tribes. A leak into the river could devastate the tribes’ way of life. While the builders of the pipeline have tried to protect against leaks, even the safest pipelines corrode and leak. The pipeline would also build up the United States’ oil infrastructure and would encourage more big oil companies to continue oil drilling in the US. This is the opposite direction of what we need to do to save our planet.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was cancelled as delays and costs mounted until two utility companies pulled out of the deal. The pipeline would have carried natural gas across the pristine forests in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina, including the George Washington National Forest and the Monongahela National Forest. It also would have crossed the Appalachian Trail. If a leak were to occur it would have destroyed the plants and wildlife in these untouched areas. Even without a leak, this new development would destroy habitats and endanger the animals in this area. Again, this pipeline would have moved things in the wrong direction. Natural Gas drilling and fracking would have increased hurting the climate even more.

We have gotten a lucky break with these pipelines being delayed. We must keep fighting to stop these pipelines as they could mean the end. We must use this extra time to ramp up our efforts and convince our governments and industries to move away from fossil fuels and towards green energy. Please, tell your friends, write to your representatives, vote for green energy, and keep fighting.

This is a picture of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Photo Credit: Earthjustice

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