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

President Obama's rejection of the Keystone Pipeline was a correct decision

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/10/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,131 times Debate No: 20999
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (1)




The first round is for acceptance.


Oh, how fun! A debate challenge. I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Point 1: It is a missed opportunity to spur economic growth in the Midwest and to create thousands of jobs in addition to lowering gas prices.

"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…"[1]

"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."[2]

"Building the pipeline would bring over 700,000 barrels of oil per day and directly create 20,000 truly shovel-ready jobs. The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that current pipeline operations and the addition of the Keystone XL pipeline would create 179,000 American jobs by 2035."[3]

"I believe his decision is bad for America and bad for Oklahoma. This project would have meant an economic investment of $1.2 billion in addition to creating 1,200 jobs immediately in the state."[4]

As shown, the amount of jobs saved is a lot higher than environmentalists claim. Your claim that less than 500 jobs would be added is impossible. Just to build the pipeline would require thousands of jobs. And on top of that are the people who maintain the pipeline, the people who run the pipeline, and people who would do the business and economic work with the people whose property the pipeline runs across (the same people who would profit hundreds of dollars each from).

"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."[5]

"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."[6] And this comes from the Government agency itself.

Why would gas prices be lowered? Because with a bigger supply of oil in America, we don't have to pay the over-inflated price of Middle Eastern Oil. And with more supply, gas prices will be lowered anyway.

Point 2: The Keystone Pipeline would not damage the Environment in any significant amount.

"Furthermore, there are several other pipelines already crossing the U.S./Canadian border and have been operating for years without many problems. The Keystone XL represents a new opportunity to deliver more Canadian crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast where the largest refining market in the world exists. These refineries are looking to replace declining supplies historically coming from Mexico and Venezuela."[7]

"TransCanada predicted that the Keystone I pipeline would see one spill in 7 years."[8] This may seem bad, but actually one, this is very good, and two, with such a small frequency, they can be controlled very easily.

"There are a few good environmental reasons not to build the Keystone XL pipeline, but unfortunately the oil it could provide is too essential to not use the pipeline for."[9]

Point 3: The Pipeline is not the Government's decision.

It should not be the Government's decision to decide the fate of this pipeline. It goes against the Constitution. It is not the Government's place to mettle in private business's affairs.

Point 4: The people who own the land the Keystone Pipeline would have been built on would have made hundreds of dollars each.

Why? Because it requires permission from the owner of the land to buile the pipeline on that land. And that requires money. Would you allow a pipeline to be built on your property without any compensation?

I hope you enjoy this debate. I know your other two debates like this you either forfeited or your opponent forfeited. I hope you can enjoy this debate without forfeits (hopefully, but I won't forfeit).




I stand with the PRO end of the resolution. I move on to my contentions for this round:

Contention 1: The Keystone XL Pipeline would've been environmentally disastrous.

Sub-point 1a:
Extraction of tar sands contributes to the problem of greenhouse gases.
Because of the more complex process of extraction of tar sands oil in the Keystone XL Pipeline, more greenhouse gases are released than in conventional processes of extraction according to opponents to the Keystone XL Pipeline, including the following:

"The Canadian government insists that it has found ways to reduce those emissions. But a new report from Canada’s environmental ministry shows how great the impact of the tar sands will be in the coming years, even with cleaner production methods.It projects that Canada will double its current tar sands production over the next decade to more than 1.8 million barrels a day. That rate will mean cutting down some 740,000 acres of boreal forest — a natural carbon reservoir. Extracting oil from tar sands is also much more complicated than pumping conventional crude oil out of the ground. It requires steam-heating the sands to produce a petroleum slurry, then further dilution.One result of this process, the ministry says, is that greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector as a whole will rise by nearly one-third from 2005 to 2020 — even as other sectors are reducing emissions. Canada still hopes to meet the overall target it agreed to at Copenhagen in 2009 — a 17 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2020. If it falls short, as seems likely, tar sands extraction will bear much of the blame."

Sub-point 1b: The Pipeline would go through the Ogallala Aquifer, which would be detrimental.
"The Keystone debate has also become a personal issue for Midwest communities living far from the pipeline route. Current plans would have the Keystone XL pipeline run over Nebraska’s portion of the Ogallala aquifer, a shallow water table that supplies drinking and farming water for multiple states. Because of the proximity to the aquifer, leaks or accidents could have a devastating effect on the 1.5 million people that rely on the water supply, as well as 20 percent of the nation’s irrigated farmland that draws water from the same source."

Sub-point 1c: Leakage on the Pipeline is Likely.
"Tar sands crude oil pipeline companies may be putting America's public safety at risk. Increasingly, pipelines transporting tar sands crude oil into the United States are carrying diluted bitumen or "DilBit" -- a highly corrosive, acidic, and potentially unstable blend of thick raw bitumen and volatile natural gas liquid condensate -- raising risks of spills and damage to communities along their paths. The impacts of tar sands production are well known. Tar sands extraction in Canada destroys Boreal forests and wetlands, causes high levels of greenhouse gas pollution, and leaves behind immense lakes of toxic waste. Less well understood, however, is the increased risk and potential harm that can be caused by transporting the raw form of tar sands oil (bitumen) through pipelines to refineries in the United States."

Contention 2: The Pipeline would not aid the US economy.

Sub-point 2a:
Few jobs would actually result from the Pipeline.
TransCanada’s submission to Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) led to the Board stating: The Board finds that the socio-economic impacts of the Keystone XL Project
will be of a temporary nature and limited to the relatively short duration of
pipeline construction without significant long term effect on the surrounding communities...

In the US, construction jobs will be created in the 6 states along the pipeline’s route. Based

on the FEIS estimates, there would also be between 3 and 7 person-years of construction

labor per mile of new pipeline construction in 5 states—Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska,

Oklahoma and Texas. There would also be about 60-120 person-years of construction

labor to upgrade the existing Keystone pipeline in Kansas.

to generate substantial direct and indirect economic benefits for local and regional

economies along the pipeline route.” However, the report also estimates that just 500 to

900 workers are expected to be hired locally—roughly 10-15% of the total workers hired.

In some states, this could mean that the number of local workers hired for the project
could be fewer than 100.

Sub-point 2b: The Cornell study reports more on the economic impacts.
The Cornell study better explains the ecnomic impacts of the Keystone XL.

Pipe Dreams? Rep. Cornell University Global Labor Institute, Sept. 2011. Web. <" target="blank">;.

Lee, Brianna. "5 Things You Need to Know about the Keystone XL Pipeline." PBS. 7 Nov. 2011. Web. <" target="blank">;.

"NRDC: Tar Sands Pipelines Safety Risks." Natural Resources Defense Council. 15 Mar. 2012. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <" target="blank">;.

"Tar Sands and the Carbon Numbers." The New York Times. 21 Aug. 2011. Web. <" target="blank">;.

Debate Round No. 2


Wow. I know how my opponent generally cuts-and-pastes his first debating (usually the second round) arguments but he is usually the instigator. The problem with him cutting-and-pasting his arguments now is that he has not directly refuted any of my arguments, but simply brought up his own.

Refutation 1: The Keystone XL Pipeline would not have been as environmentally disastrous as claimed by environmentalists and whatever harm it would do would be a necessary cost for the economical benefits it the pipeline would bring.

Sub-Refutation 1a: Extraction of tar sands does not significantly contribue to the problem of greenhouse gases and is a cost worth taking.

The extraction of tar sands does not release nearly the amounts that environmentalists preach. And there are methods which tar sands can be cleaned. Not to mention, they are no less contributory to greenhouse gases than other fossil fuels.

"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."[1] Ok, now we have shown that tar sand extraction is getting better and is far less contributory than environmentalists think.

"The oilsands are one of Canada's most vital industries, spinning off billions of dollars annually into the economy, and employing tens of thousands of workers, from First Nations to Newfoundland, and yet, they are responsible for roughly 6.5% of all of Canada's annual greenhouse gas emissions."[1] As shown, it is a vital industry that adds billions of dollars to annual GDP and enploys tens of thousands. Cutting this industry would mean losing all of this economic benefit.

"The oilsands are a relatively minor issue compared to some of the other challenges the world must face if we want to reduce CO2 output. America's coal-fired power plants, too, output more GHGs than the oilsands: about 60 times as much."[1] If you want to reduce greenhouse gases, you should concentrate on other industries.

Plus, "if Americans won't allow the pipeline to be built and buy Canadian oil, then the Chinese and other countries surely will buy it."[3] 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.

Sub-Refutation 1b: The Pipeline would not spill as many times nor as bad as claimed, and it would not affect as many people.

"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."[2] But there is still the possibility of a bigger spill.

"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."[2] So the spills that usually happen either are too small to matter or they are in a place that does not affect the aquifer. And if a bad spill did happen, it would not be as bad as claimed.

Sub-Refutation 1c: Leakage of the Pipeline is extremely unlikely and is usually not very bad nor widespread.

"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."[4] So there is always constant monitoring of the pipeline so a spill would be detected and fixed quickly. And on top of that, the steel used on the pipe will be very strong, greatly lowering the possibility of a leak.

Refutation 2: The Pipeline would great aid the US Economy.

Sub-Refutation 2a: The number of jobs added due to the pipeline would be great.

"That figure, based on a report by a consulting firm hired by Transcanada to assess the project's economic impact, has been widely cited by Keystone backers on Capitol Hill. 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."[5]

"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."[6]

I issue a challenge to you. The object of how many jobs the pipeline would create is being debated (which really shouldn't). But one thing not being debated is the amount of money that would flow through the American economy, specifically, the Midwestern Economy. Billions (specifically 7 billion in source 6) would flow through the Midwestern Economy. Debate that that amount of money wouldn't matter, or wouldn't be that high, or is unimportant.

Sub-Refutation 2b: The Cornell Study is just one study.

It's just one study. I have five other studies disproving it's jobs and environment claims.

==Demand to Opponent==

Now this time can you counter my arguments from Round 2 and if you still have space, Round 3?




I know this will be very disrespectful and disappointing to my opponent, but it seems like I won't have time for this debate because of everything that has just come up. Therefore, I humbly forfeit this debate. The judges should please vote for my opponent. If my opponent wants, I can debate this at another time.
Debate Round No. 3


When are you free? And is there anything else environmental you would like to debate?


ScarletGhost4396 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Oh well. I win.


ScarletGhost4396 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by vmpire321 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeits