Snyder: Keystone XL pipeline provides benefits to Midwest economy


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

ISU students and community members protested the Keystone XL pipeline on the corner of Welch Avenue and Lincoln Way on Feb. 3, 2014. Around 30 people, including 11 students, stood in 27 degree weather for about an hour in protest of the pipeline expansion.

Stephen Snyder

The Keystone XL pipeline, proposed by the corporation TransCanada, has been a hotly debated issue in the U.S. government for more than five years. The issue is especially controversial in the Midwest, since the proposed route runs directly through it. The pipeline would enter the United States in Montana, run through South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma before ending in Texas near the Houston area.

Controversy surrounds the plans for the pipeline as claims that relations between various oil companies, their lobbyists and members of the executive branch have led to unfair benefits being granted to TransCanada. Americans must decide between potential environmental damage and guaranteed job creation. Given the nation’s current unemployment-related economic state, we cannot afford to say no.

The proposed pipeline has drawn continued criticism from farmers and their lobbyists in Washington who claim that a pipeline such as the Keystone XL would hinder their crop production and put the quality of farmland in jeopardy.

Despite claims that the pipeline would do more harm than good for Americans, especially for farmers, the U.S. Department of State found that no excessive damage would be caused by the proposed construction, use and maintenance of the pipeline. The report also found that the pipeline would be well within the acceptable standards concerning ecological impact and reclamation.

Perhaps more interestingly, the State Department report also projected the creation of more than 42,000 jobs for United States citizens as a result of the pipeline’s acceptance. Those jobs would then generate a projected $2 billion in revenue.

The pipeline, by design, will for the most part run through sparsely populated areas where the main occupation is in the field of agriculture. This pipeline would create an employment boom in the involved states, creating jobs along the proposed route and bringing economic benefits to surrounding towns and cities.

The benefits to be gained by the approval and eventual construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are far too great to be ignored, even if based solely upon economic gains. The risks associated with the transportation of petroleum have never stopped this country from moving it before, so why stop now? The simple answer: it should not. I believe the pipeline should and will be approved — it is simply a matter of time.