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Biden's Call to Revoke the Permit was Imperative

Armand Yazdani

Posted on January 25, 2021 00:23

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In order to prevent climate damage and further endangerment of several species of animals, the Keystone XL Pipeline had to be revoked.

Joe Biden canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline on the first day of his presidency. The president-elect’s decision earlier drew the condemnation of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney who told Biden to “show respect for Canada.” Despite Kenney’s disapproval, environmentalists, politicians and Native Americans groups have long called for the pipeline’s shutdown. Biden had vowed to revoke the project’s permit on Jan. 20, the day he was  inaugurated. In response, Kenney’s government would consider legal action. However, Biden’s decision to cancel the permit was justifiable because the pipeline would cause considerable environmental damage and destroy Native American homes. 


The Keystone Pipeline will harm both the environment and nearby sea life. The pipeline’s route would have crossed the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers, both containing the endangered pallid sturgeon. A potential spill could ruin if not wholly destroy the sturgeons’ habitats. And the pipeline spilled 383,000 gallons of oil in Nov. 2019, one of the largest oil spills in the US that decade. This pipe would transport low quality oil from tar sands from Alberta, Canada to the US Gulf Coast. Additionally, other species than the sturgeon are harmed. An analysis from the Center for Biological Diversity found that up to 12 species could be harmed. Among them would be the critically endangered whooping cranes, interior least terns, American burying beetles, piping plovers and black-footed-ferrets. Oil spills in addition to ground destruction would decimate these animals, whilst power line collisions could kill many birds. Biden’s decision to cancel the pipeline means these deeply endangered species will be less at risk. 


Moreover, the pipeline would significantly harm the environment as well as those living nearby. Tar sands include bitumen, which is underground. In order to extract it, producers ought to use copious amounts of water to melt the bitumen and get it to the surface. The pipeline would have also diverted and polluted rivers as well as caused erosion. And harmful tailings left after extracting tar sands put both birds and indigenous peoples nearby at risk. Additionally, tar sands production in Canada is one of the region’s largest sources of secondary organic aerosols. An essential part of fine particle air pollution, these aerosols can increase the risk of lung and heart cancer and alter weather patterns in the area. 


Despite backlash from Canadian officials and other advocates of the pipeline, Biden’s revoking the permit was indispensable. The project could have led to pollution which could have harmed indenous people and animals, and oil spills coupled with habitat destruction could have further endangered already endangered animals. Protecting these species, tribes, and environment means preventing that pipeline. 

Armand Yazdani

Posted on January 25, 2021 00:23

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Construction on the long disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline halted as incoming U.S. President Joe Biden decided to revoke...

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