Green Scene: Keystone XL pipeline dividing the nation

Keystone XL: the infamous pipeline which will divide — and has already divided — the nation.  Seriously, it’s running straight through the Midwest, from Hardisty, Alberta all the way to refineries along the Gulf Coast.

Now that the Nebraska Supreme Court has approved construction of the pipeline, with the House of Representatives recently passing a bill to approve the construction at a vote of 266-153, Capitol Hill is now merely waiting for the Republican-controlled Senate to pass yet another bill approving the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Projected to churn out nearly 830,000 barrels of crude oil on a daily basis, this 1,179-mile pipeline from the TransCanada Corporation looks like a given for the members of Congress. But environmentalists and other Earth-conscious individuals like myself are sounding the alarm when it comes to massive crude-oil containers like Keystone

Here’s why:

Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, claims that some 42,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly related to the construction project, will be created as a result of this oily endeavor. But Anthony Swift of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reportedly said only 1,950 construction jobs and 95 permanent jobs will be a result of the pipeline.

That’s a massive discrepancy in job numbers. What are the real numbers here? We have to ask ourselves: What will the American economy gain from such a colossal undertaking?

In an altruistic America, we wouldn’t even be debating this dilemma — we’d be driving solar-powered vehicles and commuting with our neighbors to the city.

Nonetheless, the America we live in demands, at this time, for non-renewables in our energy, along with jobs in a recent recession-burdened nation, all while we fret about our employment and subsequently put the environment on the backburner.

It’s not just the tree huggers out there who are concerned with global climate changes, either. President Barack Obama admits he has some climate concerns — it’s one of the reasons why he has vowed to veto any Keystone XL legislation passed through Congress.

I get it: oil is still a lucrative buy in this energy business. We don’t have the capacity to run a high-tech, developed country like ourselves with the limited solar and renewable energies available to us, at this present time.

But what concerns me, though, is that the American people are using the Keystone XL debate as an excuse to keep the crutch of non-renewables.

This pipeline is fueling the future of the oil and gas industry — an industry which, ultimately, must be drastically severed if we want to keep our planet looking and behaving like we’re used to.

Now that oil is down to less than $75 per barrel, some energy experts say it may not be economically feasible to continue the pipeline project.

It may be so — just don’t tell the Republicans in Congress.

This column also appears on The Post

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