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Keystone Oil Sands Pipeline in Question

After mass demonstrations and state criticisms over the proposed route, the $13 billion project may be in jeopardy
 Pipeline for the proposed Keystone XL project

The 1,7000 mile Keystone pipeline project has come under heavy criticism recently, receiving backlash from environmental groups and state governments alike.

On Sunday, thousands gathered at the White House to protest construction of the pipeline, which is planned to snake from Canada's Boreal forest to the Gulf of Mexico. Environmentalists worry about the release of carbon emissions from the proposed oil sands project, in addition to the damage to ecosystems by construction of the pipeline.

TransCanada, the company behind the project, maintains that the pipeline will be safe and environmental impact minimal. "Pipelines are the safest, most reliable, economical and environmentally favorable way to transport oil and petroleum products." Proponents of the plan also cite job creation and tax revenue among the project's benefits - up to 20,000 construction jobs and $5 billion in tax revenue, to be precise. The pipelines will also supply an additional 700,000 barrels of crude oil a day to the Texas region.


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Nebraska, and recently South Dakota, are voicing concerns over the proposed route, saying the numerous river communities will be negatively impacted by the construciton effort. Aquifers and other water resources are also a concern, but TransCanada is reluctant to reroute the line - a move that could cost years and millions of dollars for the company.

Many oppositional groups are focusing instead on the increased greenhouse emissions from oil sand production, which can generate anywhere from 5 to 30 percent more carbon than conventional methods. Some claim this is a step backwards from America's course to energy independence, in that an investment of this size should be made towards renewable, green energy solutions. Nebraska and other state legislatures will vote on the project in the coming weeks, while protestors hope their efforts will persuade President Obama to take action. For now, the fate of the Keystone XL project grows more unstable.

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