The Dakota Access Pipeline has become maybe one of the most sensationalized issues in the US, and internationally as other countries watch how we choose to handle it. There are lots of opinions, but what are the facts?
Here are 6 facts that everyone should know--whether you are for or against building oil pipelines.
- People will point out that you still need to transport oil and that trucks are no safer than pipelines. This is true. But the US already has the most extensive pipeline infrastructure of any country at 2.5 million miles. The second highest is Russia at 260,000 miles. A new pipe might be safer than a truck, but what if we don't need this pipe at all?
- Familiarize yourself with the term, "stranded assets." The existing pipes will become stranded assets when renewable energy options become more competitive. There is, therefore, no long-term incentive for big companies to maintain the new lines, despite claims. Their short-term incentive in building a pipe is pumping as much oil as possible before the industry becomes irrelevant. $$$
- 220 pipeline leaks were reported in 2016. 4 out of 5 leaks are reported by locals, not found by the companies responsible for maintaining them.
- $647 billion was invested in drilling oil last year alone, and we need $1 trillion to be invested in clean energy solutions between now and 2030. That's $1 trillion over 13 years, and we've spent over 2/3 that amount on drilling alone in just one year, not counting all the other investments in the oil industry. And as it's been shown, their assets' worth won't last and are not sustainable, so that's either $1 trillion for renewable resources over the next 13 years, or $1 trillion to keep investing in something with a hard deadline--no pun intended--with no future returns.
- The proposed Keystone XL Pipeline will go under the Missouri River. The Missouri River goes through 7 states and has a drainage area of 1/2 million miles. A pipeline leak would be disastrous.
- Arguments that the Keystone XL Pipeline will create new jobs are weak and ill-founded. Contrary to the claims that the project will create 42,000 to 100,000 jobs, the project will likely only create 2000-4000 temporary jobs and 35 full-time, permanent positions.