The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
11 Points

Keystone Pipeline and Oil Use

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/7/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,336 times Debate No: 36466
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (2)




1. Debate Topic | This debate shall be on whether or not we should allow building for the Keystone Pipeline and oil use in the United States. This debate will not cover the following: the type of oil and oil dependency.

2. Debate session | CON is to start of the debate. Establish your positions, and why you. For the second and third rounds, we shall state our OPINIONS on the matter, provided with evidence. For the fourth and fifth rounds we shall provide facts on the matter. CON: Use first round rebuttal to reply agreeing with these rules.

3. Debate rules | No foul language, derogatory terms, or racism. If you use Wikipedia, please also provide the link to the article from which Wikipedia used as a reference. No links leading to forums or blogs, including Tumblr. No using links social media sites as evidence. DO NOT STRAY OFF TOPIC!


I accept

Seeing as how he is PRO for this topic, I will assume he is for the pipeline. I being Con will argue against it.

Since he did not finish the terms of the first round, I am assuming I am merely just declaring my position. He has taken on the role of PRO and instigated this debate, so the BOP is on him to show that the keystone pipeline is a good idea. My job is to undermine him and show why it can be a horrible idea as well. I will establish my own case as well, along with challenging his arguments.

I await his opening response.
Debate Round No. 1


First, I would like to thank CON for taking up this debate and look forward to his rebuttal. I would also like to say that this is my first Debate.Org debate and I would like to thank CON for being my first contender ever.

Let's begin with, what I believe to be, the number one argument... Safety. Some might point out that by having such a large pipeline is dangerous; 'It could be attacked,' or 'It could spill,' These claims, however, are unfounded. According to a report by the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce "The report found no evidence that diluted bitumen, the type crude oil that would flow through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, is more likely to contribute to pipeline failures or corrosion." [1] Thus making the pipeline no less safer than any other pipeline in the United States.

Then there's the argument that "The pipeline would be an eyesore..." However, If you where to look at a map of the United States with all the pipelines already built [2], and then you where to look at it with the KeyStone Pipeline being built; there is barely a difference! [3]

The pipeline will also create some jobs... Not as many as proponents state, but some [4]. These jobs may only be short term, but short term jobs could help a lot for low income families.

Finally, the pollution factor. Many environmentalist claim that by allowing the pipeline, you will be aiding pollution. This may or may not be true. However, it is not up to the government to curtail pollution. If people really want a cleaner, less polluted earth, they will willingly not purchase items used with oil.



Okay so lets begin this debate with my opening remarks. I would first like to welcome PRO to DDO and wish him a happy stay, and hope he finds this site as enjoyable as I do. I will use this round to establish my case, and use further rounds to refute my adversaries arguments.

I will tackle some key points as to why the pipeline itself can be viewed as a bad idea. Remember my adversary must show that this pipeline is worth the effort that it will cost us, and show benefits of this pipeline. If he is not able to meet his BOP, his resolution will not be met. It is my job to undermine him and show why this pipeline can be considered as a bad idea, and the negative impact it will have. Lets begin this with some of my key contentions. Since he focused on three main contentions, I will try to keep this debate just around those points.

Contention 1

The Keystone pipeline itself is a threat to the environment.

My adversary claims that this is untrue. I will address some of this in this contention and directly address his remarks in a further round. So why is this pipeline a detriment to the environment?

Let us first look purely at the composition of the oil that will run through the Keystone pipeline. According to the Congressional Research Service, most of the oils transported through the Keystone XL have greater quantities of potassium hydroxide, increasing their capacity to erode the surrounding area. The total acidity of this oil is higher than average US oils. The oil also contains more sulfur, often by 1% of total content. The burning of these fuels then has greater impact on pollution emissions than oil produced directly in the United States.

We can also not forget the possibility of a spill due to a fracture in the pipeline. Such a tragedy is not uncommon with such pipelines. In 2011, hundreds of gallons of oil spilled into the Yellowstone River due to severe oversight . Furthermore, such a fracture is more likely with the Keystone pipeline due to the higher acidity of the oil itself. The acid can easily corrode the inside of the pipe, weakening the overall structure. This is compounded by fluctuations in pressure in the pipeline. Diluted pipelines generally require the oil to be stored at 1,440 ( this number is debatable and can change slightly but this is the average) psi, but reports on the pipeline estimates have seen figures around 2130 psi. In any case, fluctuating pressure can lead to pipe instability. Not to mention, the average size of these spills is somewhere in the ballpark of around 900 barrels of oil, which can equate to around 38,000 gallons of oil. My adversary my ask how much is this. Mathematically this is around twice the size of a giant pool.

Contention 2


Some people think this pipeline will produce an enormous amount of jobs. This is just all around wrong. It will hardly produce any jobs, and the short term jobs that are available will have little not no effect on the economy at all. How many permanent jobs will this create? 35 jobs are estimated to be created permanently. You did just hear that right, and I will post sources to show it. 35 jobs are an estimate that the government arrived at when asked how many permanent jobs would be created. Granted it is also estimated that around 20,000 jobs will be created temporarily on an 8 month basis, for maybe a two year cycle. These jobs are only available until the construction of the pipeline is built itself. After it is over, we will only be left with around 35-100 jobs as far as overseeing the pipeline. This is not worth the risk and cost of building it.

Contention 3

Gas emissions and public safety.

According to studies it is estimated that around 40,000-50,000 deaths yearly happen due to air pollution. If the keystone pipeline is built, it has to be shown that this number could increase by around another 20 percent. That is needless deaths, and adding more pollution than we already have. Pollution can not be avoided with this pipeline.

NRDC.ORG says this in a study that they compelted

"In just one key way, over its 50-year life, the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would add up to 1.2 billion metric tons more carbon pollution than if it carried conventional crude. That is more than every car in the United States releases into the air in an entire year."

An even greater threat comes from basic biology, and a key component that we all know as H2O. Pure water is safe for human consumption and it is necessary for humans to live, but water used in processing the oil from Keystone can undoubtedly kill. In order to pump the oil out of the ground, oil companies use about three gallons of water to pump out a single gallon of oil. So much water is used, it must be stored in man-made pools which are also known as "trailing ponds". This water is exceedingly polluted with toxins from the oil. Essentially this water eventually trails into local water supplies. Since the Keystone pipeline travels straight through the US, this will affect the water of several states.

In closing

For the sake of our health, safety, and the future our nation this pipeline should not be approved. It will do nothing but hard the environment, and produce nothing but a limited amount of jobs that will not be worth the cost of creating this pipeline.
Debate Round No. 2


Libertarian1999 forfeited this round.


Extend argument due to FF
Debate Round No. 3


I have to forfite due to a family emergancy and limited internet access. I'm very sorry.


Thank you for your concession, and I wish you the best of luck with your emergency. Hope everything works and turns out okay.
Debate Round No. 4


Libertarian1999 forfeited this round.


Extend all arguments due to concession and FF
Debate Round No. 5
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2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit
Vote Placed by DudeWithoutTheE 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF