Keystone Showdown Likely for New Year

Bakken pipeline threatened
Bakken pipeline threatened

President Obama’s strong remarks at Friday’s press conference set the stage for what is likely to be a New Year’s showdown over the future of the Keystone pipeline. As the new Republican-led Congress is poised to make this issue its top priority when it reconvenes in January, Obama expressed his concern that the benefits to the U.S. have been exaggerated.

Congress narrowly rejected a bill in November that would approve continued construction that would wind through the Bakken formation of Montana and North Dakota. The votes fell predictably along party lines, but with recent elections bringing Republicans into the majority, a new bill is likely to pass quickly in the new year.  It isn't clear whether the President will veto new legislation, but it will not be smooth sailing.

Commenting on the pipeline, President Obama said that, “It’s very good for Canadian oil companies and it’s good for the Canadian oil industry, but it’s not going to be a huge benefit to U.S. consumers.

At issue is whether the benefits of the new section of the Keystone pipeline outweighs the potential dangers espoused by democrats and environmental groups. These opposing voices claim that the pipeline will potentially bring great risk to the climate, air quality, the ecosystem, public health, the water supply and landowner rights.

Certainly this issue is complicated, and with the continued debate and outcry over the current methods of transportation for Bakken crude, alternatives must be explored and genuinely considered. Living in the modern world means risk, and at some point it becomes a matter of which risk we are more willing to take. We cannot continue to enjoy, even demand, the lifestyle that this crude affords us without also being willing to make the hard choices that its production demands.

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