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Keystone Oil spill ignites new environmental conversations

by Brianna Bush - Executive Editor
Tue, Nov 12th 2019 06:00 pm
The Keystone pipeline spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the North Dakota wetlands at the end of October, adding to a growing list of oil spills in U.S. history.
The Keystone pipeline spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the North Dakota wetlands at the end of October, adding to a growing list of oil spills in U.S. history.

Across the world, oil spills are causing irreversible damage to the environments in which pipelines, drills and riggs have been constructed. These damages are not only harming the flora and the fawna, but the entire ecosystems that are inhabited by humans and animals alike.

On Tuesday, Oct. 29, the Keystone Oil pipeline spilled 383,000 gallons of oil into the North Dakota wetlands. Unfortunately this is not the first spill the oil company has seen — according to eos.org, this is the fourth spill in the last nine years from this pipeline.

The Keystone pipeline has been protested for many years because of past spills and the environment the pipeline disturbs. According to The New York Times, during former President Barack Obama’s administration, the permit to expand what is now the Keystone XL was denied in 2015. Unfortunately, as soon as President Donald Trump took office, the path was cleared and Keystone was given the “green light.”

Now, after the construction of the extension, problems have risen regarding environmental concerns. Sierra Club Dirty Fuels Associate Director Catherine Collentine responded to the many oil spills that have occurred from the Keystone pipeline.

“We don’t yet know the extent of the damage from this latest tar sands spill, but what we do know is that this is not the first time this pipeline has spilled toxic tar sands, and it won’t be the last,” Collentine said. “We’ve always said it’s not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when, and once again TC Energy has made our case for us.”

It seems as though every year there is an oil spill on either the land or in large bodies of water. Since the mid 1900s, we have seen oil tankers, ocean rigs and other crude oil carriers spill large amounts of oil in all parts of the world.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reported at least 44 large-scale spills — each spilling more than 100,000 barrels of oil — just in the bodies of water surrounding the U.S. NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration created a graphic that depicts the major oil spills that have had a large effect on the environment. Most of the time, the environmental effects of large-scale oil spills are irreversible and greatly affect wildlife and their habitats.

“The animal life that lives in the water or near the shore are the ones most affected by the spill,” according to conserve-energy-future.com. “In most cases, the oil simply chokes the animals to death. Others that live face a number of other problems. The oil works its way into the fur and plumage of the animals. As a result, both birds and mammals find it harder to float in the water or regulate their body temperatures.”

Because of how large oil spills in the water tend to be, the clean-up efforts are even harder to complete — in some cases, the oil spills are too big for teams to conquer and the environment suffers because of that.

Another issue that has re-risen as result of the recent spills are debates about the use, or rather putting an end to the use of fossil fuels and other oils/gases. Scientists and environmentalists have been trying to come up with alternatives to the traditional energy sources that we have used for the last 100 years.

Many of the new eco-safe alternative options are things like electric cars, solar power, wind power, water power, etc. Scientists have been looking for renewable energy sources for years and have been met with much success.

So if we have the alternatives, what is stopping us from using the eco-friendly options? 

The answer to that is simple — big name corporations have money in places like the oil industry, and putting an end to that would lose people a lot of money. 

It all comes down to choice, it’s either the environment or large-scale, money making corporations. We have to choose between money and the environment if we want to sustain to remain.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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