Today, President Obama announced his decision to block the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. When Obama originally delayed his decision on the issue it was a little worrisome. It seemed like there was an actual possibility of this thing being built. I honestly considered giving back my entrance ticket to the Democratic Party if Obama allowed this Pipeline to be built. To me this is a defining issue of liberalism and what it means to be a Democrat. To allow the construction of this Pipeline, which would severely damage our planet, would be a harsh blow to Democratic ideals. So although President Obama has made some decisions that were not as progressive as I and other liberals would have liked he made the correct decision this time.
Now, I know conservatives are outraged by this decision because they are in the pocketbooks of big oil – I mean they want to create jobs (yeah, that sounds better). Conservatives like to tout that the pipeline would create 20,000 jobs, which is a number put out by the company building the Pipeline. Independent research says that number is actually around 6,000. Although 6,000 jobs is better than nothing it does not outweigh the environmental costs.
First, there is the possibility of the Pipeline being built incorrectly leading to an oil spill. That is actually a serious concern considering in 2010 TransCanada, the company who would build the Keystone Pipeline, had 12 oil spills on other pipelines it had built. One spill poured 21,000 gallons of oil into North Dakota. Second, the oil the Keystone Pipeline would carry is dirtier than normal oil. Meaning when it is burned it creates 23 percent more emissions than normal oil. Third, leading climate scientist, James Hansen said if the Keystone Pipeline was built it is “game over” for the climate movement. The environmental costs of the Pipeline were just too much and it was great to see the President recognize that and reject the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. It truly restored my confidence in Obama and faith in the Democratic Party.