In 2016, controversy on the Keystone XL Pipeline reached a deafening crescendo. We saw headlines about it everywhere, and learned the construction of this pipeline extension was basically just a battle between the environmentalists on the left, and the conservatives on the right.
The Keystone Pipeline itself runs from Alberta, Canada down the backbone of America all the way to refineries in Illinois and Texas. Nobody had much to say about that part of it–however a proposed fourth phase to this massive cobweb of pipeline, a new route from Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska, is the extension that gained a lot of media attention.
This is the Keystone XL Pipeline, and along with it are five things you might not have known about this proposed extension.
The heart of the issue was the Nebraska boiling sands
A key part of the pipeline plan was a route through the boiling sands of Nebraska. This stretch of land featured thin, sandy soil where groundwater could bubble up to the surface. Environmentalists were afraid of oil spills despite Transcanada’s confidence they could surmount the problem with a few engineering solutions.
President Obama made building the southern portion of the Keystone Pipeline a priority
After a showdown with Congress about the Keystone XL Pipeline in 2012, President Obama decided to allow the southern portion (Phase 3) to be built, and even made the project a special priority in his administration.
Transcanada proposed 14 different routes for the Keystone XL
In an effort to curb resistance to the Keystone extension, Transcanada proposed 14 different routes, with one that wouldn’t have touched the Sandhills Region at all, and six that would’ve significantly reduced pipeline across the Sandhills area.
Even Obama didn’t think it was all that important
After rejecting the Pipeline extension in November of 2016, President Obama stated “All of this obscured the fact that this pipeline would neither be the silver bullet to the U.S. economy proclaimed by some, or the death knell to climate proclaimed by others.”
9 Senate democrats supported the bill
Similar to President Obama’s beliefs, a handful of Senate democrats thought the role of the Keystone XL was over-inflated in the country’s fight against climate change. This included Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Carper of Delaware, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.