Keystone XL Pipeline: The Local Perspective

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Over the last few months, the Keystone XL pipeline has become a national controversy. While environmental groups led by activist Bill McKibben's protest the pipeline's expansion from Cushing, Oklahoma to Alberta, Canada, Congressional Republicans are pushing for the Obama Administration's approval. 

Last week, the State Department released an environmental review of the pipeline, finding that it would have little impact on greenhouse gas emissions. House Speaker John Boehner told a news conference yesterday, "We build pipelines everywhere in America every day. Do you realize there are 200,000 miles of pipelines in the United States? There's nothing complex about the Keystone pipeline—it's time to build it.” 

Part of the Keystone pipeline is already up and running, from CushingOklahoma to Port ArthurTexas. The section of the pipeline that requires approval from the Obama Administration would run from AlbertaCanada, through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska, on down to Cushing.

With the national debate in the headlines, The Takeaway wanted to hear from the local communities in the pipeline's path. Three reporters examine the impact of the proposed pipeline: Mose Buchele, a state impact reporter for KUT in AustinTexasKatie Schubert, news director for KIOS Omaha, and Joe Wertz, a state impact reporter in NormanOklahoma.


Mose Buchele, Katie Schubert and Joe Wertz

Produced by:

Jillian Weinberger


T.J. Raphael

Comments [6]

Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

I wonder how many national controversial debates are ongoing which most Americans don't even know about?
This report was the first time I heard about the Keystone pipeline, and I try listening to news a couple of hours a day.

Feb. 05 2014 01:12 PM

Perhaps the worst reporting on this issue I have heard to date. No depth in any of the investigation, no mention of TransCanada's horrific record in Canada with over 1000 spills in these same DilBit pipelines and, worst of all, giving Boehner a soap box without any mention that the State Department report he notes has come under intense fire from all sides, as it was completed, not by an independent scientific study, but by a subcontractor to the TarSands industry in Canada with a long history of consulting for TarSands producers.

Every independent analysis of that report has found it DEEPLY flawed if not downright deceptive.

You can't make decisions without all the facts and omitting important facts like these, the fact that this pipe goes over the Oglala Aquifer, water supply for a major part of the nation, failure to mention the catastrophe in Kalamazoo and the fact that ears later they are still trying to clean up the disaster, the EPA's response, TransCanada's refusal to comply with US Law, regulators, etc on that spill.. it's downright shoddy reporting.

Feb. 05 2014 12:52 PM
Virginia Hammon from Portland

I noticed several times that the interviewer framed the subject as either-or. For example "What is more important, energy independence or sustainable energy?" This is a disservice to the debate and leaves us with the worst of two bad choices and some thinking they've 'won.' The question needs to be: HOW can we have energy independence AND assure that the environment is safe AND have jobs? The underlying assumption in the either/or debate is that America is really too stupid and lazy to achieve the optimum, we must settle for one of two bad options.

Feb. 05 2014 12:38 PM
mary ann ford from St. Louis

Focus has been on the safety of the pipeline itself. That is definately a concern.
But even more, we need to stop taking oil out of the ground because, whether or not the pipeline leaks, we have to stop polluting the earth. Using petroleum products is causing damage. When will we decide we have caused enough damage and need to stop? Never, because a small group of people who care only to make money have control of our government, and also because the stock market will freak out if a decision is made to curb use of oil.

Feb. 05 2014 12:19 PM

The oft repeated trope about KXL being a job creator has been completely debunked. The pipeline would create a relatively small number of jobs, only a tiny fraction of which would be long term, high quality work for the communities along its flanks. The economic impacts of climate change represent a much, much bigger threat.

Feb. 05 2014 12:19 PM
Jim belcher from Orlando FL

Here's the choice: short term profits or long term sustainability?
That's it. Every ton of fossil fuels we put into our atmosphere drastically impacts our children's future world.
Can we deal with our addiction to oil?

Feb. 05 2014 12:14 PM

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