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

ODT: The Keystone XL Pipeline

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/23/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,608 times Debate No: 25248
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (4)




This is for the ODT semi-finals. I would like to congratulate Contra for making it this far.

Full Resolution: The Keystone XL Pipeline should be built in the US.


Keystone XL Pipeline: "...the 1,897-km (1,179-mile) Keystone XL Pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska."[1]

Should: "Must; ought"[2]

Built: "...past tense of build: To construct (especially something complex) by assembling and joining parts or materials."[3]


1. The first round is for acceptance.
2. A forfeit or concession is not allowed.
3. No semantics, trolling, or lawyering.
4. Debate resolution, definitions, rules,and structure cannot be changed without asking in the comments before you post your round 1 argument. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed in the middle of the debate.

Voters, in the case of the breaking of any of these rules by either debater, all seven points in voting should be given to the other person.

Debate Structure:

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Presenting all arguments (no rebuttals by con)
Round 3: Refutation of opponent's arguments (no new arguments)
Round 4: Defending your original arguments and conclusion (no new arguments)




I accept the rules. Let's save America's future and kill the XL Pipeline.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank Contra for accepting this debate and wish him the best of luck.

I. Economics

In many ways, the Keystone XL Pipeline will help not only the Midwest's economy, but also the entire nation's.

I.i. Jobs

The Keystone XL Pipeline would create tens of thousands of permanent jobs.

"It's estimated that the Keystone XL project, which is funded entirely through private investment, would help create at least 20,000 new American jobs in manufacturing and construction. Analysis suggests it could create tens of thousands more, and could help address high gas prices as well. President Obama says he didn't have enough time to come to approve it - that he had no choice to reject the project. But as the Wall Street Journal editorial board put it, 'Keystone XL has been planned for years...'"(Boehner)

"For America's skilled craft construction professionals, any discussion of the Keystone XL project begins and ends with one word: JOBS," Mark Ayers, past head of the group, wrote in the Huffington Post last November. He noted that 'the Keystone pipeline represents the prospect for 20,000 immediate jobs...'"(Frank)

20,000 jobs is a large number of jobs. This will help the Midwest's concerning labor situation.

I.ii. GDP Contribution

The pipeline construction itself will contribute billions to the economy.

"Keystone should be approved. This is a good project. It will give us energy and give us jobs. You want stimulus? This is a $7 billion deal to be done with private-sector funding."(Chicago Tribune)

"The Keystone XL pipeline will cost USD 7 billion to construct and will carry nearly 800,000 barrels of oil a day into the U.S. from Canada."(Diebel)

$7 billion is a significant amount of money, especially to a drained Midwest economy.

I.iii. Decreasing Gas Prices

By the laws of supply and demand and that America would become less dependent on inflated foreign oil, the Keystone XL Pipeline would help lower gas prices. This will boost the economy.

"They fear lots of Canadian crude could be shut in the ground with nowhere to go if this pipeline isn't built quickly. In addition, they say the few pipelines that do connect Canada's oil production region to the US currently flow where refining capacity is limited. This means less gasoline for your tank...The result would mean more supply for US consumers, and therefore, lower gasoline prices."(Sanati)

"A report published by The Economist stated that tar sands today account for nearly one and a half million barrels of oil produced every day, and by 2025 that number will rise to three and half million. Even though 70 percent of the world’s oil is controlled and produced by OPEC countries, half of the remaining global oil supply comes from tar sands. In other words, these “bituminous crudes” are here to stay."(Diebel)

While the total contribution to lower gas prices might be rather small, any decrease will help the economy. And in the long run, extracting the tar sands will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. This will most certainly drive down gas prices since OPEC oil is being sold for a heavily inflated price.

I.iv. Reviving the Devestated Midwest Economy

The Midwest was greatest affected area by the Recession. The Keystone XL Pipeline will help revive this depressed region through job creation and investment.

First, since the Keystone XL Pipeline will help create 20,000 jobs, spend an immediate $7 billion, and help lower gas prices, it is only obvious that all of this will help the Midwest's economy. It is still probably one of the most depressed regions in the country, and this pipeline will help its economy.

"Costing $7 billion, the pipeline would create 20,000 well-paying construction jobs immediately. Midwest construction workers, one of the demographics hit hardest by the economic downturn, desperately need this project. While blue-collar workers would receive many of the direct benefits from Keystone's construction, thousands of businesses from nearly every state would have reaped indirect business were Obama to simply allow the Keystone project to be built. 2,400 American companies in 49 states are involved in the production of Canadian oil sands."(Breitbart)

The Keystone XL Pipeline will help the Midwest's economy.

I.v. A Conclusion: Long-Term Economic Contribution

Even though a lot of these effects won't be felt for a while (specifically it won't help this current recession), the long-term contribution to the economy is staggering.

"According to the Department of Energy, this one project will "essentially eliminate" oil imports from the Middle East. It will create more than 100,000 jobs and strengthen our relationship with a close ally and trading partner. A project like this should be a no-brainer, and there's simply no good reason it has been stuck in the State Department's red tape for nearly three years."(ZFacts)

"An independent study estimates that during the life of the project, the Keystone XL project is expected to stimulate:
  • More than $20 billion in new spending for the U.S. economy;
  • More than 118,000 person-years of employment;
  • An increase of $6.5 billion in the personal income of Americans;
  • Increased gross output (product) of $9.6 billion; and
  • More than $585 million in state and local taxes in the states along the pipeline route.
'This project will also play an important role in linking a secure and growing supply of Canadian crude oil with the largest refining markets in the United States, significantly improving North American energy security,'added Girling."(Pipeline News)

So obviously, the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline will have huge economic benefits in 15-20 years, well beyond the "temporary" jobs date.

II. Conclusion

"The Keystone XL pipeline will help to address our long-term energy needs and also create significant job growth at a time when the nation needs it most. The project's construction phase alone will require 13,000 direct construction and manufacturing hires; indirect new jobs could total 118,000."(ENR)



Boehner, John. "Boehner Column: President Obama’s Pipeline Decision: Bad for Jobs, Bad for our Economy, Bad for Energy Security." John Boehner Website. N.p, 20 Jan. 2012. Web. <;.

Frank, Stephen. "Obama Lies To Union That Supports Keystone XL Pipeline." Stephen Frank's California Political News and Views. N.p, 2 May 2012. Web. <;.

Chicago Tribune. "Pipeline politics: Misguided Obama blocks Keystone pipeline: Obama's decision will cost the U.S. jobs." Chicago Tribune Website. N.p, 19 Jan. 2012. Web.<;.

Diebel, Zac. "KeyStone Pipeline Capers present an Envrionmentalist's Nightmare for North America." The Cutting Edge News. N.p, 23 Sep, 2011. Web. < >.

Sanati, Cyrus. "Will the Keystone Pipeline Decision Affect Prices at the Pump?" MintLife. N.p, 23 Jan. 2012. Web. <;.

Breitbart. "Search: Keystone Pipeline." Breitbart. N.p, N.d. Web. < >.

ZFacts. "Keystone Pipeline: Jobs? Energy Independence?" ZFacts. N.p, N.d. Web. < >.

Pipeline News. "Labor Agreement For Keystone XL Pipeline To Create 13,000 American Jobs." Pipeline News. N.p, N.d. Web. < >.

Christie, Ralph, Jr. "Why We Need the Keystone XL Pipeline Project." Enginnering-News-Record. N.p, 9 Apr. 2012. Web. <;.


C1: Harmful Production

Job Destuction

The pipeline would create no more about 4,650 temporary direct jobs. After the artificial bubble of two years to construct the pipeline, those jobs would be gone. And these numbers are from TransCanada. [1] The State Dept. determined that the Keystone XL pipeline would create no more than 6,000 modest new direct jobs. And with the new prices of oil, any such benefits of the temporary jobs would be drowned out.

The amount of permanent jobs would be about 50. [9] This includes jobs for maintenance, and upkeep, mostly for spills over 800,000 gallons, as any spills under this amount are not registered and are therefore free to ravage the surrounding lands. [4]

The steel for the pipeline will be pretty much entirely produced in China and India. And, these are the same manufacturing companies that made the first brittle pipeline! [4]

Midwest Oil Prices

The pipeline will redirect tar sands oil from the Midwest, so it can be sold at higher prices in the Gulf and export markets. [1] Prices of oil would rise $3 a barrel [2], and gas prices in the Midwest to increase by 20 cents a gallon [1], and the cost hikes of oil in the Midwest will sweep through the economy, causing an estimated $2-4 billion in additional costs in the Midwest. Thus, the amount of new costs in the economy will drown out the temporary effect of temporary jobs.

The increase in oil costs will send about $2 billion out of the American economy to Canada and to oil exporting countries instead. [2]

So, over time the job creation will be negative. So, in addition to a dirty environment and job losses, the USA would basically be shooting itself in the foot so Koch Industries can enjoy a flurry of new profits to gorge, while doing what with these profits? Drill more of the stuff that is killing us — drilling more tar oil.

Slowing Clean Energy Growth

The Green energy sector believes that the KXL pipeline would impede progress towards a real, clean energy solution to our energy problems. [10]

KXL pipeline is a double edged sword in this regard. In addition to shredding our environment to bits through dirty energy production and location, it is less efficient.

Clean energy jobs are higher paid (13% higher pay) [1] and the have higher returns. Clean energy jobs have four times the job growth of dirty energy jobs with the same amount of investment, since clean energy has lower costs over time. [11]

By reducing overall global demand for clean energy over tar sands oil, it is harming this growing sector of the economy.

C2: Dirty Environment

Destroy Environment

George Lakoff says it best;

"The Canadian tar sands oil pits lie under an enormous boreal forest, which sequesters a huge amount of carbon dioxide, and is the only habitat for some of the largest populations of woodland caribou left in the world; in addition, 30 percent of North America's songbirds and 40% of its waterfowl rely on the wetlands and waterways of the boreal forest. Getting the tar sands requires clear-cutting thousands of acres of the boreal forests, diverting rivers, and strip-mining. Destroying that forest will certainly make those species of songbirds go extinct, and significantly increase global warming. The tar sands are sticky and dirty."

"There are additional negative systemic effects. Heat is not enough to get tar to flow. To get tar out of the ground, you have to pump in a huge amount of water and toxic chemicals. The water used to go underneath the sticky oil and pushing it up is so polluted by the toxic chemicals that it is rendered unfit to drink. The oil companies do not pay for the water; they simply drain the aquifer it comes from while letting much of the poisoned water stay in the ground." [4]

The Keystone XL pipeline would cross the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides 30% of America's ground water, and over 1.5 million people rely on. [5]

So, you get a destruction of forests and several species as well as increasing global warming, and polluting vast sums of water which all results into a dirty environment.

And, since the TransCanada would not register spills under 800,000 gallons, [4] many areas that had spills (the first section spilled 12 times in the first year), would be allowed to splurge and flood our wildlands with hot toxic water.

Unstable Pipe

The pipe is three feet in diameter. The steel the pipe is made from is 0.465 inches thick, less than half an inch. Over 1,700 miles of the pipeline, the steel is exposed to 1,600 pounds of force per square inch. [4]

The steel for the pipe is made in China and India. Think about this: Just one flaw in the steel along the whole 1,700 miles, or one mistake by a worker doing the pipefitting, and you will get what? A huge explosion, that releases vast amounts of hot poisoned water plus tar, which will then sink into the local water table and and aquifer and cannot be cleaned up. The surrounding land will become uninhabitable.

The first Keystone pipeline spilled 12 times the twelve months. [3] This is a demonstration of failure. And the prognosis would look bleak.

The benefits from Keystone XL? The destruction of songbirds, the destruction of boreal forests and waterways, the "free" water used in aquifers, and the increase in global warming. And who pays for these costs? The people living along the pipeline. Therefore, Keystone XL is severely damaging to the environment.

C3: Higher Oil Prices

Keystone XL redirects current tar sand oil from the Midwest to the Gulf, where it would be exported worldwide. [1] Thus, is has no benefit to America here.

By redirecting oil from the Midwest, the supply is decreased. With a lower supply, and demand constant, prices increase.

As I've said, the $3 billion in new oil costs for the Midwest will be long term, not like the 4,650 jobs that are temporary and last for two years. And the cost of environmental turmoil is also long term. Compare it to a drug. You get a high, only once, and the high isn't good. Then, the pain is long term. There is only one form of rehabilitation, get off the drug. Which would be the Keystone XL pipeline.

***Continued on Link Below***

(DDO is having a glitch that prevents you from posting 8,000 characters. The link plus this round = 8,000 characters or less.

Debate Round No. 2


I would like to thank Contra for presenting his arguments. I apologize for taking some of the formality out of my debate, but it costs characters and time I don't have.

I. Harmful Production

I.i. Job Destruction

"Other estimates advanced by supporters of the pipeline have been even more optimistic, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claiming it could create 250,000 permanent U.S. jobs."[1] This comes for the US Chamber of Commerce.

"The Keystone XL Pipeline project is estimated to bring in $20 billion of private sector investment into the American economy, create 20,000 direct jobs, spur the creation of 118,000 spin-off jobs and pay out $5 billion in taxes to local counties over the project's lifetime."[2]

Your job claims don't add up. I will get to the environmental arguments later.

I.ii. Midwest Oil Prices

"The NRDC findings contradict a report last year from IHS CERA, which provides business advice and analysis to energy companies, that said the pipeline would help lower fuel prices."[3]

But, what about oil exports? "TransCanada, which is building the line, says the charge is false, and Valero Energy, which would be a user of the line, says it has no intention of using the Canadian oil for export."[4] "[Oil for the pipeline will be used in] U.S. markets-not exported overseas."[5]

Now admittedly, the KXL is not going to lower gas prices any more than a few cents, but my opponent is ignoring the laws of supply and demand. More supply with negligible increases in demand means lower prices. And yes, as I have proved, there will be more supply, most oil is not bound for export. And even if so, as this writer points out "it would be wise for the State Department to make them a condition for approval."[4] This would effectively eliminate fears of lower supply.

Now this would eliminate these "excess oil costs" that would drown out the economic effect. What is the real economic effect? Positive.

"A 2009 report from the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute similarly concludes that

As investment and production in oil sands ramps up in Canada, the pace of economic activity quickens and demand for US goods and services increase rapidly, resulting in an estimated 343 thousand new US jobs between 2011 and 2015. Demand for U.S. goods and services continues to climb throughout the period, adding an estimated $34 billion to US GDP in 2015, $40.4 billion in 2020, and $42.2 billion in 2025.97"[5] (NOTE: This is mostly the Keystone XL Pipeline. Some is other pipelines.)

Now since gas prices are decreasing a little and since at least a sizable amount of oil increasing supply, wouldn't this be a positive effect? And then we have the massive contribution to GDP and jobs.

And again, I will cover environmental effects later.

I.iii. Slowing Clean Energy Growth

Now, not to turn this into a green energy debate, but I will just have a short rebuttal.

The KXL will indeed impede green energy job growth. But, who cares?

"Suffolk County "has found jobs for only 33 percent of welfare recipients being trained under a federal grant to do 'green jobs,'" a similar effort in Seattle spent $20 million for 14 jobs."[6]

Obama's $38.5 billion loan guarantee program has amounted to about 3400 new jobs, says the Washington Post. That equates to about $5 million per job.[7]

So does it really matter whether or not the KXL is taking away green jobs? In fact, it seems like the KXL is doing America a favor by helping stop $5 million jobs.

II. Dirty Environment

II.i. Destroy Environment

First off, the Canadian tar sands oil pits are not too damaging to the environment. Even if this was not true, my opponent forgets one thing; China.

"Canada has signaled it would re-route the pipeline to the West Coast and sell oil to China, which has already invested heavily in the tar sands."[4][8]

So even if we blocked it here, it would be built elsewhere, and nothing would be stopped. But if we built it here, it would help our economy.

But even so, "According to Environment Canada's measurements, the oilsands has reduced its per barrel GHG output by 29% since 1990. Despite massive expansion of oilsands production in the last two decades, Canada's oil companies have managed to cut their per barrel carbon output by nearly a third."[9] So, tar sands are getting a lot cleaner.

Now what is it with all these "sticky" tar sands? "Oil from tar sands is very similar to oil already transported throughout the United States. The process of refining tar sands oil is verifiable, and exploration, production, and exportation of such oil has already begun. Indeed, Canada is already America's largest supplier of oil and natural gas, and this oil can be made into many useful items like asphalt, gasoline, and jet fuel."[11] So they aren't really that bad.

Now, as for global warming: "The additional emissions generated by replacing conventional oil with the crude that the pipeline could have carried would have been no more than a small fraction of 1 percent of total annual U.S. greenhouse gas pollution."[10] So, the KXL's contribution is almost negligible.

And as for the Ogallala Aquifer: "The first thing you should realize is that the aquifer slopes from west to east, so only the downslope part of the aquifer would potentially be affected by a spill. Secondly, the geologic nature of the aquifer, which at its shallowest is 300 feet below the surface, would tend to confine any spill to a very small area."[12] "Any leak in the pipeline would only affect "10's or 100's of feet around the pipeline." The very structure of the aquifer as a composite collection of porous rock, sand, and sediment makes it so that oil could not permeate the general aquifer."[11] It won't affect the aquifer much.

It really won't affect the environment that much.

II.ii. Unstable Pipe

"While the concern over spills is something to consider, history shows that the pipeline is very safe. According to TransCanada, the pipeline owner, there have been 14 spills since 2010, most of these occurred at pumping stations rather from a ruptured pipeline. The typical spill was 5 gallons and the largest was 21,000 gallons but only 210 gallons escaped the plant."[12]

"Continual electronic and manual monitoring will insure the integrity of the pipeline and the volume of oil being transported has even been lowered to 1308 psi, well under federal regulation, in order to prevent unsafe pressure levels.""The steel to be used on the new pipeline will be tested to withstand 125 percent of allowable pressure, if it cannot withstand 125 percent then it will not be used. State of the art emergency response teams will also be on stand-by for any possibilities of a leak."[12]

Also, on the width of the pipe: "The new XL pipeline will use steel stronger than that used in the existing Keystone Pipeline. The steel to be used on the new pipeline will be tested to withstand 125 percent of allowable pressure, if it cannot withstand 125 percent then it will not be used. State of the art emergency response teams will also be on stand-by for any possibilities of a leak."[12]

So, there really isn't that much effect on the environment.

III. Higher Oil Prices

I already refuted most of this, but I will post one thing: "All the oil sent through the pipeline will be processed in American refineries. Also, it is better financially for TransCanada to sell to American markets, as it is cheaper to do so. However, if the pipeline is not built, it is far more likely that foreign nations will be eager to buy this oil."[12]


"The oil sands have made Alberta the hottest place in Canada for jobs, investment, and growth, helping the country avoid many of the economic woes afflicting the United States and much of Europe"[13] Oil sands means lessened recession.




As per say the rules, this round I will focus on rebuttals.


Job Destruction

Actually, the KXL pipeline budget will only be about $4 billion. [1] And these estimates are from the company itself, not an outside interest group. This figure is from TransCanada, and after you include the amount that is actually used for the US, and the amount already spent.

Pro's job figures are from two sources. The first source is a blank page, the second source is from John Boehner, the GOP Speaker of the House, who also has made widely false statements concerning the job creation from the Bush tax cuts. [2]

I want to see real estimates, not shady political talking head points. My estimates are from the company itself.

Here is an analogy. Say that we are debating the cost of producing an episode of Dexter. I am using the estimate from the production company, while Pro is using an estimate from a critic. My source is closer to the actual activity going on, and is directly connected, having a higher likelihood of being correct.

Pro also asserts that the KXL pipeline will create about 20,000 American jobs, primarily because of manufacturing. This is also false. Presently, 40% of the pipe will be manufactured by Evraz (Russian company) outside of the U.S. [3] The rest of it is likely to be produced in India, by the same company that produced the first defective pipe, because this company has already produced 10% of the pipe needed for KXL, and it is the same dimensions as the pipe for XL that is needed. [5]

GDP Effect

Pro asserts that KXL will lead to a $7 billion in GDP benefit. This is a fallacy. First, this includes both the US and Canada spending. The Canadian portion will cost $1.6 of this $7 billion. So the US portion will be $5.4 billion.

TransCanada stated that the Keystone project including XL and the section already completed will in total cost $13 billion. Of this figure, $7.9 billion had already been spent. Of this portion already spent, only $1.7 billion is related to KXL. So prior to the KXL construction, 25% of it has been spent. This leaves only $5.2 billion for construction, split between the US and Canada. Using the same proportion above (77%), the remaining KXL spending within the US is now only $4 billion. [4]

Simply put, the KXL will only use $4 billion in the US for the project. Now, I'll tell why this is not enough to help Pro's side.

Increasing Gas Prices

Pro asserts that a higher supply equals lower prices. This is true. However, gas prices will still go up, because KXL lowers supply, mostly for the Midwest.

TransCanada stated that KXL would result in an increase of gas prices by about $2-4 billion annually, and would escalate for several years. They do this by diverting major sources of tar sands oil from the Midwest and towards the Gulf, so it can be sold at higher prices at the global level. [6]

In other words, the Midwest will spend about 20 to 30 cents more per gallon, or for the whole USA, $5 billion more annually. [6]

This is my point: The costs of reducing supply with KXL outweigh the temporary jobs, making KXL harmful to the economy.

Green Energy Production

Pro grossly understimates green energy jobs. As I've said, green energy jobs pay 13% more than dirty fuel jobs, and four times as many clean energy jobs compared to fossil fuel jobs, with an equal sized investment (evidence last round).

Green jobs help make our air and water cleaner for us to breathe. This leads to less deaths and healthier people. And it makes us closer to energy independence.

Government is often inefficient, due to a lack of competition, a lack of incentives, and the lack of price signaling. This is why a screwdriver is $500 for the military, [10] instead of $5 at my local store. This is extremely inflated compared to what the private sector would deliver.

Businesses are rational. If a green energy job is beneficial due to the marginal productivity the business gets after the wages, this is good for business, and wages will closely reflect the true productivity of the worker. And since green energy jobs have been growing fast, they are obviously good for business. KXL would cut these modern jobs.


Pro has mentioned that the tar sands oil has gotten "a lot cleaner" by cutting carbon output. This ignores a critical point though. Remember, it takes lots of water and chemicals combined in a hot, toxic water "soup" to pump out tar sands oil.

Pro also misses the point with the Ogallala Aquifer. If it did spill, which the first part of this pipeline spilled 30 times in the first year alone, [7] all of this hot toxic water and oil would flow out. Remember in last round I supported the fact that TransCanada doesn't investigate spills less than about 800,000 gallons?

This is 5 gallons, based on size: (size inflated)

Want this much oil contaminating an aquifer which millions of people rely on for their income and life, and second, many spills which TransCanada will not even register or act to remedy? They have to way to remove tar sand oil from water anyway at this point. Also, remember this is produced from defective steel, and many spills will likely occur due to the first segment of the pipeline.

Dr. John S. Stansbury of the University of Nebraska concluded that the pipeline would have "91 major spills over a 50 year design life of the pipeline." [8]

Pro also says that the Pipeline is a high quality type.

This is also, not true. First, the company that will produce this pipeline is the same company that produced the last defective components of the pipeline. [4] TransCanada said that its pipeline met "world class standards", yet it still spilled 30 times in year 1. [9]


The Keystone Pipeline will add about $4 billion to the US economy. However, due to the higher gas prices, which themselves are caused by the KXL redirecting oil from the Midwest towards the global market, will harm the US and cost the America an additional $5 billion in oil costs annually. This is long-term. So, the short inflation of jobs will be only about 2 years (Pro conceded the point that there would only be about 50 long term jobs or less). When you use the harm from the higher oil prices, job creation is negative.

The pipeline is prone to frequent spills, which would eventually contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer, remember which, millions of people rely on to live.

The environment, particularly the species of rare animals and the forests and deep rivers and clean waterways would be eliminated and replaced by hot toxic water.

By polluting water, violating our property rights (Pro didn't respond to this), adversely harming rare species of animals, potentially harming millions of people, and being harmful to job creation, and by also harming the future job growth of major job growing sectors (clean energy industry), the Keystone XL pipeline is a harmful idea to undertake.


[1] Letter from TransCanada to the US Department of State regarding the Keystone XL Application, September

19, 2008, (







[6] National Energy Board (Canada), Reasons for Decision, TransCanada Keystone Pipeline GP Ltd, OH-1-2009, March

2010 pp. 21-22; Verleger,

Phil. “If gas prices go up further, blame Canada,” Star Tribune. May 13, 2011. (


Debate Round No. 3


I would like to thank Contra for this really great debate.

I. Job Destruction

"TransCanada estimates that building the Keystone XL Pipeline will result in more than $7 billion in investment and will create about 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs and 180,000 "spin-off" jobs."[1] Even if it was $4 billion (which is immediate), it would still be a lot more relative to long term investment: "The benefits of the Keystone XL pipeline would be concentrated largely in the pipeline states themselves," said Wade. "These areas could see an increase in gross domestic product by as much as $3.1 billion as well as an increase in business sales by as much as $6 billion."[2] That's $9.1 billion in immediate costs; we aren't even factoring in the long-term benefits.

I apologize for my broken link. Here is a better version: My opponent forgets the several other sources I used to back up my jobs claims.

Here is cold hard evidence (this is an independent study I quoted earlier):

"An independent study estimates that during the life of the project, the Keystone XL project is expected to stimulate:

More than $20 billion in new spending for the U.S. economy;
An increase of $6.5 billion in the personal income of Americans;
Increased gross output (product) of $9.6 billion.."[3] (That's a lot)

Want estimates by the company itself?:

"Private sector investment of more than $20 billion in the U.S. economy – at no cost to American taxpayers (food, lodging, fuel, vehicles, equipment, and other construction supplies and services),
create about 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs, which will increase the personal income of American workers by $6.5 billion,"[4]

So yes, I do have independent studies AND evidence from TransCanada that support my jobs claims.

"Investing in Canadian oil is an economic win-win for both Canada and the United States. According to a 2011 study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI), new oil sands investments are expected to create 444,000 new U.S. jobs and generate $521 billion in U.S. government revenues by 2035. The Keystone XL Pipeline construction alone could create 20,000 U.S. jobs. And for every two jobs supported in Canada, one will be supported in the U.S."[5] It's going to take a lot of jobs to manufacture the pipeline and some of it is being produced here. And my opponent forgets assembly of the pipeline. That has to be done here.

II. GDP Effect

My opponent forgets investment. "private sector investment of more than $20 billion in the U.S. economy."[4] This means that even if my opponent's claims were true, he forgets the larger effect investment will have. GDP=C+I and my opponent only considers C.

"The study further concluded that once the pipeline is operational, the states along the pipeline route are expected to receive an additional $5.2 billion in property taxes during the estimated operating life of the pipeline. The $7 billion pipeline project is expected to directly create more than 15,000 high-wage manufacturing jobs and construction jobs in 2011-2012 across the US."[6] This is within one year of construction.

II.add. Long-Term

My opponent has seemed to completely forget the long term benefits of the pipeline. I have already stated them several times in this debate and will not state them again. But, they should be taken into full consideration.

III. Increasing Gas Prices

My opponent is really making assertions now. He hasn't explained how the KXL would lower supply. I have stated many times that KXL oil is not bound for export and would help raise supply and help lower dependence on foreign, inflated oil.

"Recently, for example, oil that is imported and sold on the U.S. Gulf Coast is trading around $90U.S. per barrel. Western Canadian oil is currently trading for $70 U.S. per barrel."[4] In addition, "Currently, over 20 percent of our imported oil comes from Canada... Once the pipeline is completed, over
33 percent of our imported oil will come from Canada."[1]

The first one comes from TransCanada.

So, America is getting more of the cheaper oil. But are they? "The crude oil Keystone XL will transport will not be shipped to China; it will be refined at U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast to meet American demand for petroleum products. This pipeline is not an export pipeline."[4] "99% of Canadian oil exports are U.S.-bound. The planned Keystone Pipeline would deliver oil sands to U.S. refineries, and create 250,000 U.S. jobs and generate $20 billion in economic activity."[7]

Yes they are. KXL oil is mostly bound for the US, if not all. And like I said earlier, it would be easy for the State Department to make a condition on US usage for approval.

"The United States imported over four billion barrels of oil in 2010; a 700,000 barrel per day pipeline will make a real impact on American energy security, but it will not make America a net oil exporter. In addition, there is already spare pipeline capacity from the oil sands to the Pacific coast, a distance of only about 500 miles. Why would companies choose instead to ship the oil 1,700 miles in the opposite direction, load it onto tankers in the Gulf of Mexico, and then ship it south and through the Panama Canal toward Asian markets, incurring additional and avoidable costs at each step?"[11] (I know it's biased, but it makes a great point)

IV. Green Energy Production

Average Renewable Energy Salary: $61000[8]
"The average salary for working on the pipeline [KXL] is $73,000 a year."[9]

Boom. On average, green energy may produce more payoff than dirty energy on average, but the KXL is above both averages.

And, most green jobs are financed by the government, not big business anyway. As my opponent said, government is inefficient; then why does he want to create jobs in a field that is mostly financed by government?

So, green does not equal more green but in fact red and black.

V. Environment

First, "TransCanada's company policy does not allow for the heating of oil within the pipeline. Any heat released will be the result of friction, seasons, and the normal transportation process."[10]

Second, "Jim Goeke, an aquifer expert at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has noted several times, any spill from the pipeline would be extremely limited and not affect the aquifer in general. Any leak in the pipeline would only affect "10's or 100's of feet around the pipeline." The very structure of the aquifer makes it so that oil could not permeate the general aquifer. Furthermore, the Keystone pipeline currently going through Nebraska and over the Ogallala Aquifer has suffered zero leaks, and all reported spills were pumping malfunctions and done no damage to the aquifer. Nationally, ten of the twelve leak accidents involving pipes have measured only between five and ten gallons, a very negligible amount that can be easily cleaned and very localized."[10]

Third, my opponent is trying to way overestimate 5 gallons. Remember, I said only 210 gallons ever left the plant, and that is almost negligible compared to the sheer size of the aquifer.

And finally, "The Pipeline will be very safe, using new technology to insure the best safety and environmental standards."[10]

To conclude, "The State Department also concluded after a 30 month study that there was no scientific evidence to justify the denial of a permit for the pipeline. Also, shipping oil through a pipeline is environmentally much safer than shipping it overseas, (i.e. the Middle East to the US)."[10] "Furthermore, there are several other pipelines already crossing the U.S./Canadian border and have been operating for years without many problems."[12]


*The KXL has enormous immediate economic benefits thst could help boost the economy.
*Long-term economic benefits are a whole lot better.
*KXL Oil is bound for the US, reducing our energy dependence and gas prices.
*There are few, almost negligible �environmental effects.
*The oil will be sent to China any way, no net saved environment and lost economic potential.�
*Say YES to the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Thank you again Contra.�




Thanks Ron Paul for the debate.

R1: Job Destruction

Pro did not rebut my claims that the KXL pipeline would only contribute about $4 billion to the US economy.

TransCanada said that KXL would add about $7 billion towards GDP. This includes both the US and Canadian portions of the pipeline. The Canadian portion will cost $1.6 out of the $7 billion. This leaves $5.4 billion.

TransCanada stated that the Keystone project including XL and the section already completed will in total cost $13 billion. Of this figure, $7.9 billion had already been spent. Of this portion already spent, only $1.7 billion is related to KXL. So prior to the KXL construction, 25% of it has been spent. This leaves only $5.3 billion for construction, split between the US and Canada. Using the same proportion above (77%), the remaining KXL spending within the US is now only $4 billion. [1]

Simply put, the US will only receive about $4 billion for the KXL project. Presently, 40% of the pipe will be manufactured by Evraz (Russian company) outside of the U.S. [1] The rest of it is likely to be produced in India, by the same company that produced the first defective pipe, because this company has already produced 10% of the pipe needed for KXL, and it is the same dimensions as the pipe for XL that is needed. [2]

Ultimately, the US will get about $4 billion from the pipeline, after you factor in the amount already spent, the amount shared between the US and Canada, and the factor that the steel is made almost entirely overseas.

The steel may be purchased from North American facilities, but this does not mean that it is produced here. On the contrary, TransCanada and specifically Pro's source relies on this fallacy, as the steel is produced overseas, then "purchased" after it is stocked in American facilities. [1] This doesn't create jobs.

Finally, the US only gets $4 billion from the KXL after external factors (mentioned above) are applied.

R2: GDP Effect

Pro cites a 2 page document for this evidence. There are no outside sources, it is from a Pro-Business Manufacturing lobbying interest group at Congress. This is not solid evidence. The other sources are also from other groups, including Transcanada, but they are not original estimates. Meaning, it differs from the actual data that Transcanada sent to the State Dept., and it differs from the estimate from the State Dept. on economic growth.

I, on the other hand, have provided solid sources from the company itself after careful evaluation and scrutiny.

1) The State Dept. has concluded that the KXL pipeline would create an "astounding" 20 permanent jobs. [3]

2) TransCanada's original application acknowledged that KXL pipeline would create about 3,500 to 4,200 temporary construction jobs. [4]

3) The State Dept. has themselves acknowledged that KXL would only create approximately 5,000 to 6,000 temporary jobs, in the USA. [5]

TransCanada hired and payed the Perryman Group to undertake a "study" to see how many jobs would be created by the KXL, after the meager 5,000 temporary job figure was not strong enough for TransCanada. The methodology used was "unsubstantiated and misleading" and "highly flawed", when evaluated by the University of Cornell Global Labor Institute. [6]

Remember, my opponent's figures are simply not accurate. After you 1) account for the amount already spent, 2) the amount actually produced in the US (minimal to none), and 3) account for that the figure also partially goes to Canada, you only have $4 billion in investment.

TransCanada has acknowledged that oil prices would go up in the US by about $2-4 billion and be increasing. [8] This is annually, so it doesn't just end after two years like the temporary job bubble.

Ultimately, GDP in the US will go up by $4 billion, after you acknowledge that the steel is made almost if not entirely overseas (Pro conceded this), that Canada gets a lot of the money, and that a good portion of the money has been spent. $4 billion for two years, which is about 3,500-4,200 jobs that are all temporary, and with real long term permanent jobs being around 20 or up to the "hundreds." [6]

These estimates are from the State Dept. and TransCanada, not some shady, inaccurate, and refuted and highly flawed study.

R3: Higher Oil Prices

KXL was designed as an export pipeline, meaning that with some new tar sands oil and by redirecting oil from the Midwest, it would be shipped to the Gulf and resold in the world market.

Keystone XL is an export pipeline. The oil industry intensely foucsed on this pipeline because it will enable them "to transport tar sands oil from Canada through the U.S. to the Gulf Coast where it can be exported overseas." [7]

Pro also recites the highly flawed study, which was created by Perryman Group, whom were payed by TransCanada. Here is a similar analogy. I am the CEO of Pizza Hut, and I pay a health expert/ dietician so that he recommends Pizza Hut to his customers. It is blasphemy.

Again, the cost at the pump will go up about $2-4 billion. [1]

When you take into account the $4 billion in investment, spread over 2 years of construction, the job creation is null. Then, job creation is harmed.

Mathematical Conclusion

GDP = C+I+G (X-M)

KXL raises consumption barely, remember only about 50- several hundred permanent jobs, figures from TransCanada and the State Dept. [3]

Investment is $4 billion, or $2 billion over two years (USA).

Goods produced is a - $2-5 billion, due to higher oil prices.

Let's use a conservative estimate that oil prices go up by $3 billion.

It's basic mathematics. When you have a simple function: (y= -3X + 4.002), and this includes 1) the actual investment, 2) the actual amount of real jobs, and 3) the higher oil prices, and 4) all these figures from the State Dept. and TransCanada, you get a real figure. And economic growth is negative.

R4: Environment

TransCanada must heat the water and fill it with toxic chemicals to pump out the tar sands. Pro just used a word gimmick.

My opponent has dropped the arguments about how different species of animals would be wiped out, and how different forests and waterways would be removed.

Pro also didn't rebut my argument that an estimate 92 spills would occur during the course of the pipeline, and this was presupposed from the amount of spills from the first, "high quality" pipeline. (last round evidence)


(After accounting for the new investment, higher oil prices, and amount divded):

* The environment would threaten green energy and water sources.

* Transcanada has used eminent domain to seize private landowner's land. PRO HAS NOT RESPONDED TO THIS.

* KXL is a job destroyer, I've provided mathematical proof.

Is Keystone XL beneficial? Nope, just if you use the highly flawed studies. Only 50 or so permanent jobs, but overall negative job effects. KXL? It is a pipe dream.




[3] US State Department. Final Environmental Impact Statement, Socioeconomics,

Section 3.10-80. August 26, 2011. http://www.keystonepipeline-xl.state....



[4] US State Department. Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS),

Socioeconomics, Section 3.10-53, 54. August 26, 2011. (http://www.

[5] US State Department. Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS),




[7] Brookings, Sizing the Clean Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs

Assessment, (


[8] National Energy Board (Canada), Reasons for Decision, TransCanada Keystone

Pipeline (



Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by KuriouserNKuriouser 5 years ago
This debate was very well done on both sides and I enjoyed following it. Con convincingly showed Pro's jobs and investment projections were inflated. Pro seriously undermined Con's claims of environmental hazard. Con showed oil prices would increase for the mid-west by the diversion of oil to world markets, but Pro pointed out earlier that China would probably build another pipeline if we didn't, so this would happen regardless. It comes down to whether the modest employment/investment benefits outweigh the modest detriment that will occur to the US environment by building it here. In my understanding of Con's argument of clear-cutting forests and species extinction in R2 most of this comes from "getting the tar sands" in Canada, not from building the pipeline in the US. This too will happen whether we build KXL or not. Very well argued on both sides, but in the end my vote goes with Pro.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
I can't post the comment I wanna post as it would deal a pro win
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
I was thinking about my debate when I hit this tab on my phone and read the conclusion and was like "wtf"
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
"Let's destroy and burn America's future and kill the XL Pipeline"

Posted by Ron-Paul 5 years ago
That's funny. 20 seconds late.
Posted by Microsuck 5 years ago
RP, are you even going to post your arguments?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by KuriouserNKuriouser 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I think Con made a good case that the Pro claims for the number of jobs and positive economic impact are overstated, but the benefits are achieved without taxpayer subsidy so they are nonetheless strong benefits. Pro wins oil price argument; overall prices are more important than the local Midwest impact. Pro overcomes the objection of pollution threat: the aquifer is ay below any potential spill. Con used many sources that were really no more than strained opinions of advocates.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con got massacred on the environment. China would use the sands anyway, as pro points out, meaning whether or not we build it is irrelevant. China would do the same things, and worse. They have less regulations meaning they would do worse, you get benefit by building it here. Con dropped the chamber of commerce point of 250,000 permanent jobs. Pro won on two main points, and con hurt himself by dropping the china point.
Vote Placed by Yep 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Amazing debate, more of a point based debate rather than a standard case debate. In the end, I'm voting Con because i do buy the arguments that were extended including 1) Validation of sources (Con's were more up-to date as well as relevant because they were direct) 2) the $4 billion cost argument is still buzzing through my head, it went back and forth but ends with con, proving only $4 billion and a handful of permanent jobs will arise, at the cost of the US economy and the environment.