The Keystone XL Pipeline debate is hitting a climax

KIMT News 3 – It’s been an issue making national headlines for the past 5 years and was a hot topic last presidential election.

And in 2014, the Keystone XL Pipeline is still being discussed.

The developer, TransCanada, has been trying to get a US permit for the project but environmental reviews are delaying a final decision.

Phases 1, 2, and 3 are already in working order, the controversy comes in when discussing phase 4 or the Keystone XL Pipeline which would run from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska.

To build it, Transcanada has to acquire all the land along the route.

According to Environmental Instructor Craig Zoellner, they could avoid a lot of issues by putting the new pipeline along routes that are already in use. “If they could use existing right of ways that would just reduce the exposure of the environment.”

The lower the mileage of pipe in the ground, the lower the cost, which is why TransCanada wants the shortcut.

According to Dan Gunderson with the American Petroleum Institute, constructing this new pipeline would be a big move for the US as we consume over 18 million barrels of crude oil a day. “We’re going from where we were importing 50 percent of our crude oil from the Middle East and African countries, Venezuela, and being virtually 100 percent energy sufficient for North American crude oil in 10 years. So we no longer have to factor in what goes on in the Middle East when we go to fill up our cars.”

But even with those benefits, environmentalists are concerned with the continued use of crude oil and the potential for a leak into water supplies.

Despite all of the controversy, the go-ahead for the project was coming into sight. Nebraska’s governor signed off on the proposed route but then Judge Stephanie Stacy put a stop to it.

She says it’s unconstitutional to allow TransCanada to seize land from Nebraska landowners. TransCanada is appealing that decision.

On Monday, President Barack Obama mentioned in a meeting that he will make a decision on the pipeline in the next couple of months.

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