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

Res: The US should approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/18/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 840 times Debate No: 35754
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Round Rules
1. All DDO civility rules apply.
2. Hyperlinks to all sources must be made available to the opponent at the end of a speech. In-text citations are encouraged.
3. Round 1 is only for acceptance of the rules and definition of terms. Opening arguments should NOT be presented.
4. Round 2 is for establishing cases. Side Con may rebut Side Pro if he/she has enough characters, but must establish a case of his/her own prior.
5. Round 3 is for clash/rebuttals and rebuilding previous points.
6. In Round 4, the sides are encouraged to crystallize the points of the round into clear reasons why one side or the other won. New arguments are not permitted unless direct responses to points brought up in Round 3. New sources are NOT allowed. However, common knowledge is permissible (i.e. "The Hawley-Smoot Tariff was a bad idea" not "In 2010, 9,251 farms in the US used 1-9 organic acres for crop growth").
7. Wikipedia is NOT a source. You may use the links from the Wikipedia page, but Wikipedia is not acceptable.
8. All speeches must be posted within 48 hours.

Voter Rules:
1. An RFD must be given.
2. Do not use outside sources or information in making your decision. Judge purely on the arguments made during the round.
3. Replace the category "Who had better spelling and grammar" with "Who had better organization and speech structure."
4. Read the entire debate before voting.

I know I set up many rules, but I would like a nice, clean round with an opponent ready to debate this topic.


I wanted to take this with three rounds, but I am bored so I will take it anyway.I Accept and good luck
Debate Round No. 1


As Side Con, I wish to demonstrate why the State Department of the US should NOT approve the Keystone XL pipeline, urging a Con ballot on the aforementioned resolution. I have three contentions in support of this claim.

Contention 1: The Keystone XL pipeline is deleterious to the US economy.
Contention 2: The Keystone XL pipeline is a threat to the environment.
Contention 3: The Keystone XL pipeline is a threat to public health.

Let us look at these contentions one by one:

C1: The Keystone XL pipeline is deleterious to the US economy.

Let us first address who actually owns the Keystone XL pipeline: Canadian energy corporation TransCanada. Most supporters of Keystone claim the pipeline will provide oil directly to the US, decreasing US oil dependency. Yet such a view is not consistent with the designs of TransCanada. The purpose of the Keystone XL pipeline is NOT to give oil to the US, but to ship oil from Canadian tar sands down to the Gulf of Mexico to be sold to foreign markets (1). Namely, TransCanada and other Canadian oil companies can sell their oil to other countries for far higher prices than they could sell it in the US or Canada, raking in the cash. With all of this, since Keystone is owned by TransCanada, the US economy sees little to none of the export revenue. Even worse, the private citizens owning 95% of their land to the pipeline will lose this land in eminent domain cases, citizens who can use said land to boost property values or grow crops.

With this in mind, we do not see a clear economic benefit to the pipeline. Looking deeper, however, we see more dangerous economic implications. Since countries such as China and South Korea are willing to pay TransCanada more for crude oil, by virtue of supply and demand, TransCanada will increase the price nominally. Currently, in the US Midwest, the excess supply of TransCanada oil has given the Midwest a "discount on oil" with prices about $3.40 a gallon. Once TransCanada ups the prices, the Midwest will be paying far more for its oil " an estimated "20 to 40 cents a gallon" (1).

The effects of this price spike will ripple throughout the entire economy. Think about it. The Midwest of the United States is the nation"s "bread basket"; the vast majority of the nation"s food is produced there. When oil prices there go up, that increases the costs of production for tractor fuel, fuel for power plants, and gasoline for transportation. The nation will see a massive increase in food prices. And this is not just confined to gas prices and food costs. This also affects medical costs. Petroleum is essential in manufacturing pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, analgesics, antibacterials, and dozens of other medications (2). So, when oil prices go up, pill prices go up.

The ripple effect on the economy cannot be understated. According to Neal Soss, chief economist of Credit Suisse, a single cent increase in oil prices decreases US consumer spending by $1 billion. Since consumer spending is one of the three primary components of gross domestic product, this tool would stunt economic growth, slowing our recovery even further.

But all the money in the world is worth nothing if the world is unlivable. Which brings me to"

C2: The Keystone XL pipeline is a threat to the environment.

Let us first look purely at the composition of the oil planned to course 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 US (5).

This is compounded by the emission facets of the oil sand processing. According to the CRS survey, Canadian oil sand producers increase greenhouse gas emissions an approximate 14-20% more than US-based refineries. Well-to-transport emissions have even greater disadvantages, with an average range of increase from "72%-111%" of emissions over US competitors. The oil sands are heavier due to excess carbon rather than excess hydrogen.

We also cannot disregard the possibility of a spill due to a fracture in the pipeline. Such a tragedy is not unprecedented with such pipelines. In 2011, hundreds of gallons of oil spilled into the Yellowstone River due to severe oversight (4). 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 irregularities in pressure in the pipeline. Diluted bitumen pipelines generally require the oil to be stored at 1,440 psi, but reports on the pipeline estimates have seen a range of figures from 2,130 psi to 1,308 psi. In any case, fluctuating pressure can lead to pipe instability. Not to mention, the average size of these spills is 918 barrels of oil, a whopping 38,556 gallons of oil (5). That"s about twice the size of a large swimming pool (6).

While my opponent may claim the EPA or other regulatory bodies might work consciously to prevent possible spills, such a claim holds little water. The EPA is chronically underfunded, unable to fulfill most of its priorities. Furthermore, the EPA has let several pollutants slide under the Clean Air Act, allowing certain emissions to slip out into the atmosphere (7). Merely having some regulation will not solve the problems. And these problems do have a profound impact on our citizenry, bringing me to"

C3: The Keystone XL pipeline is a threat to public health.

According to the NOAA, air pollution leads to 50,000 premature deaths a year (8). The only reason we do not notice: it is spread across a large area over a longer period of time. Gradually, the toxins build up in the lungs, blood, and other bodily organs and systems, leading to cancer and other diseases. Permitting this pipeline to be built on US land will only exacerbate the number of deaths, boosting medical costs for the entire nation, as well as robbing our citizens of lives and family members.

An even greater threat comes from the most fundamental chemical to human bodily function: H2O. Pure water is safe for human consumption; it is necessary for human function. 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 called trailing ponds. This water is exceedingly polluted with toxins from the oil. Invariably, this water eventually trails into local water supplies. Since the Keystone pipeline travels straight through the US, this will nominally affect the water of several states.

Not to mention, if a spill breaks out, entire states could have water supplies tainted by crude oil. This undoubtedly has adverse effects on national health.

For sake of the health of our economy, the health of our environment, and the health of our citizenry, we can find no choice but to vote Con.

Thank you.

3. "Tensions Raise Specter of gas at $5 a gallon," New York Times, Clifford Krause, Feb. 29, 2012.


Since I am taking Pro in this debate, I am merely arguing against the notion that the US should not approve this. Since Con has taken the BOP, I will establish a case of my own as to why there is a viable reason to approve this pipeline. Since Con did also not specify whether or not they should not pass the pipe line as of this debate, or whether they should not pass it in the future. I will also argue for the possibility that this pipeline has to improve and show why there is a viable reason to pass it when they work out some of the issues with it. I will break now break this into points.

(1) Jobs and how this will effect the economy.

While some sources would show this would only create hundreds possibly of thousands of jobs within the US. There have also been recent studies to show how this will affect jobs indirectly as well. Let me define what I mean by this. Directly is jobs that would be generated and kept permanently. Indirectly is jobs that would be affected by the pipeline as an outside source. This includes restaurants, hotels, markets anything near the places this pipeline would be created. Experts have shown through recent studies that an estimated 120,000-150,000 jobs would be created indirectly from this, also the possible thousand or so that would be constant. Needless to say that our unemployment rate at the moment is horrible. Anything that can generate or produce this many jobs, and even over some stimulation to the economy is an option worth considering. My adversary in his opening comment says that this will drive up gas prices effecting the overall production of food and other goods. Where as this could be as subjective and dependent on studies, I would argue the exact opposite. He also says that the oil will not stay in the US but be exported. This point is mute in a way, because that is impossible to stop from happening no matter where we get our oil. Some of the oil moving through the Keystone XL will likely be exported, but that"s no reason to stop it. U.S. oil exports are not new. American refineries are now exporting about 2.3 million barrels of refined products per day. Why do you think this is? U.S. refiners are among the best in the world. They are importing lots of lower-grade crude oil and turning it into diesel and other fuels that the world demands.The pipeline will help America"s balance of trade. Refining is manufacturing. The U.S. is importing unfinished goods (in the form of Canadian crude), finishing them, and exporting them. No matter who may read this or what some people may think, this is a good thing. My opponent may say why. 5. U.S. oil demand may be relatively flat, but it"s not going away. Opponents of the pipeline such as my adversary claim that there"s no need to build the Keystone XL, because U.S. oil demand is sluggish. That"s true, but the U.S. will continue to need lots of oil for decades to come. Here"s the latest prediction from EIA: "U.S. consumption of liquid fuels, including both fossil fuels and biofuels, rises from about 18.8 million barrels per day in 2009 to 21.9 million barrels per day in 2035." I would also like to state regardless of what my opponent may say oil is here to stay. U.S. oil consumption as a percentage of its total primary energy consumption now stands at about 37 percent. That"s the exact same percentage as in 1949. Given the amount of money that has been spent over the past six decades on reducing our dependence on oil, the hard fact is that petroleum is a miraculous substance. Nothing else comes close to oil when it comes to energy density, ease of handling, flexibility, convenience, cost, or scale.

(2) Through future efforts and control over the rate at which the sands and tar are contained, we can limit damage to the environment and decrease the rate of global warming

The State Department released its report recently on the environmental impact of constructing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. It found that the massive pipeline is "unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands," meaning that Canada will most likely proceed with developing the Alberta tar sands whether the pipeline is built or not, and it ultimately won't contribute to global warming. Some people can argue the immediate impact this may have, which I would agree with but remember I am arguing the possibility this may have in the future. I'm now going to break this down using some math for my opponent and whomever may be ready this. I will try to keep it simple and avoid using actually complicated numbers, so as not to confused anyone who may not know what I am referring too.

Step 1: Make an assumption of how much oil that you believe Keystone XL will facilitate being burned that wouldn't be burned otherwise. You can make that number as high as you like, but give a reason or think why you may be choosing that specific number. Make the number (x)

Step 2: Break down that number and calculate the expecting rise in Global temperature from it.

Step 3: Finally, calculate the length of time it would take to burn the amount of oil you chose in your first step. How much would the global temperature be expected to have changed 50 years from now in your scenario? (I am going to work on the equation with a random number I picked down below so this will help you see the impact and allow you to follow along with me either using my number or a number of your choice).

So lets assume the pipeline itself would transport 830,000 barrels per day (bpd) at maximum volume. I would certainly expect this volume to displace some other oil from the market such that the entire 830,000 bpd is not a net addition to the global oil market. However, the climate impact of even the total 830,000 bpd is trivial. It less than 1/10,000th of a "C per year.* This contribution to (x+current) wouldn"t even be measurable. It would merely be noise in the global temperature measurement.

So next lets take the worst case scenario(at least to me, I am not sure what my adversary or you would consider the worst). What if the pipeline was the catalyst for extracting the entire Athabasca oil sands reserve in Alberta. The reserve itself contains 170 Billion Barrels, yes my opponent heard me right, 170 BILLION. Since this part is impossible for me to calucate myself I had to put it into a temperature calculator and got 0.09"C, which was really high and I dont want to think my adverary that I am spouting nonsense so then I pulled up sources to compare my results from other people who tried the same thing. Researchers who did this themselves with far far more chemical and biological experience than myself calculated that burning the proven reserve would lead to a global temperature increase of 0.02"C to 0.05"C. That is between 1/50th and 1/20th of a degree Celsius. This would not even make a dent in the climate change. Also the main part to this is that the time it takes to burn through the reserve would be erroneous.

To be honest it is pointless and makes no logical sense to even compare the entire reserve to the keystone pipeline, because we are literally saying the entire reserve. Since my adversary may bring it up I cite the time it takes to burn it anyway. Experts show that at the current production rate of 1.8 million bpd of oil sands production it would take 259 years to burn through the reserve, and 2,740 years to burn through the resource. I am out of space so i will end with this. Since it is impossible to pull all the reserve at one time the 0.05 number that is the worst case scenario that I have shown before is impossible(even in spite of the fact it would not make a dent in global warming)

In closing

I have shown you scientific data and raised economical questions to show you that the keystone pipeline is a viable idea. Vote pro(out of space)
Debate Round No. 2


I wish to counter the points made by Side Pro in his first speech of the round. I will then elaborate upon my own points, fully crystallizing why Con is currently winning this round. I would also like to clarify the terms of this debate: this debate deals solely with the present day, whether or not we should permit the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline this instant. Otherwise, we could have this debate in 2525 when mankind develops a machine to safely remove all sulfur from crude oil, a speculative notion.

Con has helpfully provided us with two clear contentions to clash with; let's examine both.

C1: The Keystone XL pipeline will create jobs and help the US economy.

My opponent opens this contention with the claim "some sources would show this (Keystone) would create hundreds, possibly thousands, of jobs within the US." Let"s see what the experts have to say. Alyeska, the pipeline company providing the materials for the pipes" construction, claims "perhaps 13,000 jobs" will be created at the peak of the project (1). This sounds great! Hiring 13,000 people would be a huge boon for our nation"s employment. But we have to ask ourselves a question.

What happens when the pipeline is finished?

Suddenly, our rainbow of happiness fades away. Quite simply, exceedingly few people would actually have long-term jobs after the pipeline is finished. You can"t build a pipeline forever. Estimates by the State Department reveal Keystone XL would create only 35 permanent jobs (2). Compare this to the numbers provided by my opponent: "a possible thousand." Since my opponent never brought up a single source to back up this number, I must treat this with a great deal of skepticism. How on earth are 1,000 people to get a PERMANENT career building this pipeline? It"s not possible.

My opponent also makes the claim hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs will result from Keystone"s construction, likely from restaurants and markets built next to the pipeline. This argument, as famous economist F. A. Hayek would say, "ignores human action and motivation." No restaurant owner would want to set up a diner next to an oil pipeline; the stench alone would drive away half the customers. Perhaps my opponent is suspecting the pipeline construction will mirror the California Gold Rush, creating new businesses to feed the construction workers. That's a nice thought, if most of the nearby land wasn't already owned. Seeing as most of their land was already seized by Keystone itself, I"m pretty certain the farmers currently owning this land are not too keen on selling it to restauranteurs. Also, if we look at the construction of railroads during the 1800s, the hotels and restaurants faded into ghost towns as soon as railroad construction moved away. The same would happen here.

My opponent then claims the opposite of my point that the pipeline would boost oil prices, yet provides no logic to back this up. I"ve produced studies and economic logic to definitively show you why the oil price spike will ultimately cost the US up to $40 billion in GDP. My opponent merely counters with "studies are subjective." I'd rather have a number than nothing.

My opponent then clashes with my point discussing Keystone's exporting oil to foreign nations. My opponent claims this is a good thing. I would agree. The Keystone oil exports are a good thing... for Canada. Why does TransCanada so desperately want this pipeline in the first place? THEY are the ones getting the money, because the refineries being used to process Keystone oil are NOT US refineries. These refineries are located on Foreign Trade Zones, where they need not pay US taxes (3). These jobs are not American jobs, but international jobs. TransCanada has adopted a variation of Carnegie"s vertical integration in selling oil, maximizing its profits.

Quickly addressing Side Pro"s final point, discussing the US"s demand for foreign oil, I never claimed the US will be free from oil dependency. I was merely claiming Keystone was not pushing us towards oil independence. This point has little to no relevance in clashing with Side Con.

2C: We can significantly limit ecological damage Keystone XL will cause.

My opponent begins with the claim stopping Keystone XL will not necessarily slow the rate of global warming, since TransCanada is likely to process the tar sands anyways. Even if this is true, I"d rather have TransCanada reaping the ecological detriments of its actions than the US.

Secondly, my opponent used temperature calculators to indicate, at worst, will lead to a temperature change for the Earth of a mere .05 degrees Celsius. For all intents and purposes, let's assume his number is correct. And his point is true: merely burning oil does not necessarily create a large increase in global temperature. Most of our temperature increases come from coal and oil burning on a global scale; no individual pipeline does the job.

But my opponent makes a fundamental error; the Keystone XL pipeline is still a threat to our planet"s ecology. Plenty of ecological disasters do not necessarily cause global warming. Look at the BP oil spill. That did not lead to a massive increase in global temperatures. Yet would anyone claim it was not one of the greatest ecological disasters in mankind"s history? The oil and resulting toxins killed thousands of fish and other forms of sea life, disturbing ecosystems, leaving many in utter disarray. The gulf is still reeling from the disaster years down the line, and the food web of the area will be forever marred.

The main threat from Keystone is not pure global warming; it"s the amount of particulate matter released and the imminent threat of spills. These do have a great toll on our environment and on us. Texas refineries already spout stacks of heavy smoke and soot 60 yards tall (4). Imagine stacks even higher, bolstered by increased oil refining on Foreign Trade territory, inevitably following air currents into residential areas throughout the Gulf of Mexico. This will undoubtedly lead to spikes in benzene in the atmosphere, a carbon agent that partially contributes to global warming. Yet my opponent accurately claims the global warming aspect of this benzene is irrelevant. Perhaps it is. More relevant is the fact benzene causes cancer. Such spikes would not come as a surprise; recent investigations of a Delaware refinery found benzene levels far above EPA Clean Air standards (5).

Now that we"ve addressed Side Pro"s contentions, let"s look again at Side Con"s:

1C: The Keystone XL pipeline is deleterious to the US economy.

I addressed this in refuting Side Pro"s first contention.

2C: The Keystone XL pipeline is a threat to the environment.

Side Pro made no effort to counter any of the arguments actually put forth in this contention, only taking issue with the claim. He did not counter the amount of emissions, the particulate matter statistics, the acidity of the oil, the risk of spills, the pressure irregularities. All of these must be addressed adequately if Pro is to win.

3C: The Keystone XL pipeline is a threat to public health.

Side Pro never addressed this, perhaps the most important contention of them all. EVEN IF the economy somehow manages to create permanent jobs, EVEN IF the ecology of our planet magically recovers, it is still not worth it to vote Pro if but one person dies of cancer due to the presence of that pipeline. For sake of human life, a Con ballot is the only acceptable ballot.

Thank you.



The very first point I would like to point out is that Con never stated in the title or in any context before this debate that I may not argue this from a future perspective so I will continue to do so. He also states that I did not address any of issues directly which I assumed was quite evident. During the terms of R1 he states I may offer rebuttals to his points if I had enough characters, which it was quite evident that I did not nor did i really intent to. Now lets take a look at Cons arguments, seeing as how I would like to clarify some blunders he made of my points, I will try to keep this short.


I indirectly addressed this in my first point. This is the first blunder that Con made of my argument. The first thing he states is the state department shows that 35 permanent jobs would be created. As my adversary apparently has a misconception of the word permanent and how it is relevant to this debate I will clarify. Permanent - Until the end of the pipeline. I by no means intended to say these jobs would last forever, as no one can lay claim to that. I also provided a source to show where the thousands of Jobs estimate came from, but I will assume he skipped over the source and link and will provide another one in addition to the prior at the end of this round. I will say there have been studies to show that 35 jobs would be created as he can probably prove in links, there are also studies that show anywhere between 1,000-20,000 jobs will be created. I will post a few with the high end of the mark at the end of this round. The 35 figure by the state department was jobs directly and I do mean directly related to the pipeline itself. This is not taking in jobs for construction and everything else that it would take to build it. He also goes on to contest by point about restaurants being near the pipeline. I am positively sure no one would be stupid enough to drop a restaurant right on top of the pipeline. This would be illogical. The word indirectly is magical in this instance. This is any job in any way, that will be created because of the pipeline. This could be contractors, truck drivers, and anything else that you can place here. Almost any estimated figure you look at , puts this number around 120,000 - 150,000 + direct jobs. I meant entirely what i said when i stated that gas prices would be subjective. This is dependent on time. As I stated above I am debated the fact, that when and if they approve this, It could ultimately have no impact on Gas. He has shown sources, which I have seen in every news article out. Everyone estimates the same increase in gas prices which are 20 cents to 40 cents a gallon, but these studies are directly dependent on if it were passed today. The same experts have also stated that by the time the pipe line is made, "to many variables would be in place to consider. It would be to hard to give an accurate estimate depending on when this is approved". First of all, even if the Keystone XL pipeline were suddenly approved, it would not be completed until at least 2014, so building it would have no impact on gasoline prices this summer, predicted to be near record highs. there are no experts, even those referred to us by Upton"s staff(for those who do not no Upton is chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee), to say that the prospect of the pipeline being built in the future would somehow impact the price of gasoline today. Second,the price of gasoline depends on a complex array of factors, though the largest one is the price of crude oil. The Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry 1.1 million barrels per day, is specifically designed to deal with the fact that increased production of crude oil in Canada and the Great Plains has left a glut in that area overwhelming refinery demand and it is difficult to get the oil to the Gulf Coast, the center of U.S. refining. This has depressed the price of crude oil in the Midwest, though the Midwest refiners have not passed on the savings to consumers. (The price of gasoline in that area essentially is dependent on the global price because otherwise refiners would not ship the gasoline there.) So when I say it is subjective I mean just that, no expert has given or has claimed to know how to give a proper estimate on gas prices because on one knows when this will be passed.


I am already down to hardly no characters so I will have to keep this brief. My opponent has completely disregard the figures I provided above. He said he contested my point, but offered nothing to do so. He merely derailed it by offering up evidence of an oil spill possibility which I did not get the chance to get to, due to character limitations. Since in his opening claims he was hinting at this my providing facts, I would ask him to dispute my claim that I have shown factual by science. He says "for all intents and purposes", assuming that this figure may be a possibility. My figure was 0.09, leading experts and scientist showed this to be 0.05 which i provided links to, and go on to say this will virtually have no effect on global warming. As far as his point on oil spills, he raised the point I would make earlier. The EPA would have regulatory procedures if this were passed, and also have requested funding to prevent this from happening. The government and Obama administration expressed concerned about this issue themselves, which is why the pipe line was not passed as of this date. In fact this argument would be illogical in the context of this debate, because the president himself said he would not pass the pipe line until they found a way to combat this.

This point is covered above with my content on the EPA. The Obama administration has clearly shown and stated, the pipeline itself would not be built if it was a detriment to the environment. With the strict regulatory functions that will be placed on this with the EPA along with other regulatory bodies, the chance of this happening would be slim. As far as the gas emissions, this is a variable that I can not yet debate. While there is a possibility it will add to gas emission, it would be marginal. This is also something the administration is working on and have not released a solution to yet. I will say arguing with the context of this debate, they will find a way to maintain and decrease this. Other wise this would never get approved. I have now reached my limit so I will offer my conclusion


I have shown and demonstrated why there are logical reasons not to veto this pipeline. My job is to provide evidence to disprove pros claims and I have done that, especially with the climate change argument. I have shown you through science and figures how this will have virtually no effect on global warming, with numbers that coincide with experts.I have shown how this will have hardly no effect on gas prices if it is passed in the future. I have also shown that experts have no way to calculate this number, despite popular opinion. I have shown How it will help boost jobs within the economy directly and indirectly. I have even show how the administration itself plans to put regulatory functions involving the EPA and other government bodies to stop the chance of oil spills.

I have shown why pros arguments could be flawed, and why some people may find a reason to pass this pipeline because of the positive impact it will have on our economy and how it will stimulate job growth.
Debate Round No. 3


Before officially starting this speech, I wish to invoke Rule 6 of Round 1. The final speech for both sides should serve as a closing statement with no new sources or new arguments (i.e. giving new funds to a source not specified earlier). With that in mind, let"s begin.

First, I must address an essential issue Pro has brought up: "the future." Pro claims he can promote Keystone XL in the future, since "Con never stated in the title or in any context before this debate that (he) may not argue this from a future perspective." This is literally true, but is also equivalent to stealing from the bank in Monopoly; the rules never say you CANNOT do it, but it"s obviously breaching the terms of the game. Looking at Keystone from the future requires a ridiculous amount of speculation. Besides, Pro never specified exactly when his future plan would come into fruition. For sake of this debate"s clarity, we must overcome a rather silly semantics issue to get to the root of the problem.

When breaking down this round into its core issues, we find three come readily to mind.

1. Which side better improves the health of our nation"s economy?
2. Which side better improves the health of our nation"s ecology?
3. Which side better improves the health of our nation"s citizenry?

In this final Con speech, I would like to look at each of these three questions and demonstrate why Side Con has a clear COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE over Side Pro in each of these factors of the debate.

1. Which side better improves the health of our nation"s economy?

There are two factors in play in considering this question: jobs and fuel prices. Side Pro has an alleged job advantage, Side Con an alleged fuel price advantage. Yet one of these advantages is illusory: Side Pro"s. Side Pro CONCEDES that the 1,000 to 20,000 "permanent" jobs mentioned in his Round 2 speech would only last until the completion of the pipeline. Since the pipeline would be complete by 2014, as he mentioned, this would minimally provided for employment for 1 year, and then the construction workers would be out of work once again. You cannot build a pipeline forever; these jobs will have minimal effect on our nation"s employment. Only 35 jobs will truly be "permanent."

The claim of indirect jobs is also flimsy at best. My opponent became a moving target of sorts in the previous speech. In Round 2, he claimed restaurants, hotels, marts, and other businesses would be indirectly created from the pipeline. In Round 3, he claimed contractors and truck drivers would be indirectly created. First, contractors and truck drivers would be created directly, as they are necessary to build the pipeline. Second, in addressing the restaurants, there is simply no place for them to set up shop. As my opponent said, they cannot build on top of the pipeline. They cannot build to the side of the pipeline either, as the land is already owned by farmers dependent on it for their livelihoods. Plus, even if they did create those businesses, they run the risk of creating ghost towns, as pipeline construction will move away from their area. These jobs are just as "permanent" as the construction ones, namely, not at all.

Now, let"s look at Con"s advantage: oil prices. Con claimed oil prices would rise in the Midwest by 20 to 40 cents to the gallon, decreasing commercial spending by a whopping 20-40 billion dollars. Pro, despite posting five sources at the bottom of his Round 3 speech, had none countering this fact. Thus, we must directly clash with Pro himself. Pro claims this price spike would only occur if the pipeline were passed today, which, as I said earlier, is the entire purpose of this debate. Pro also claims, due to the time it takes to build the pipeline, we would not reap higher oil prices until 2014. My response: OK, perhaps we do not get the oil prices jacked immediately. They will increase nonetheless, but they do not happen immediately. This is similar to saying, "I"ll take the cyanide over the knife; one will drag it out more." My opponent also argues that there are too many variables to consider, but fortunately mentions the most important variable of all: "the price of crude oil."

As I mentioned in Round 2, TransCanada means to refine its crude oil in Foreign Trade Zones to avoid taxes and then sell the oil to nations such as China and South Korea for massive profits. Since the demand for oil is huge, they can artificially increase the price of oil. Other refineries in the area will then increase their prices so to maximize the same profits. But the Midwest now has to pay those same increased fuel prices. We all end up paying the price: gasoline for our cars, food transported from the Midwest, Grandma"s arthritis medication manufactured from petroleum. We all ultimately suffer. And while time may be a factor, supply and demand are even more pressing economic mechanisms.

Thus, when we look at the issue of economics, Side Con emerges triumphant. The number of jobs in this nation will not increase nominally, and due to the principles of competition and supply and demand, our fuel prices will see an increase. This increase costs us 40 billion dollars, and so much more.

2. Which side better improves the health of our ecology?

I will put it right out: global warming will not increase significantly as a result of Keystone. If Side Pro is anxious I did not like his math, that"s perfectly OK. His math is fine. But this is not the ecological issue at stake. The biggest threats arising from Keystone are particulate matter and spill risk. My opponent has one blanket response for this issue: the EPA will fix the problem before it gets put into action.

I wish my opponent was right. I wish the EPA could fulfill its responsibilities and make sure our pipelines, oil drills, and air currents functioned properly. I wish the EPA could achieve every single point on its agenda. Sadly for me, and for my opponent"s case, this is not going to happen. The EPA is not only chronically underfunded, but it also fails to satisfy its already established goals. The EPA lets dozens of ecological issues slide past every day. Where was the EPA when the Yellowstone Oil Spill occurred? Where was the EPA when coal slurries broke out in New England? Where was the EPA when the Texas oil refineries ignored the Clean Air Act? They weren't there. The EPA isn"t perfect, and there will undoubtedly be massive ramifications of pipe failure despite the EPA"s actions. Estimates from previously cited sources indicate the inevitability of a spill, despite the EPA. I"ve demonstrated why the XL pipeline is setting itself up for failure.

Side Pro is banking on the EPA to solve the problem, but it cannot accomplish this task. Otherwise, he has not scientifically addressed the points made by Con; it's too late for that now. Thus, Side Con holds a huge advantage on this issue.

3. Which side better improves the health of our citizenry?

In addressing this argument, Pro only restates his EPA argument. Though I already addressed this point, let"s ignore all the incidents the EPA has ignored. Let"s ignore Yellowstone, the coal slurries, the Texas oil refineries. I am only going to ask one question.

If the EPA sets up clear air quality standards so to save lives, then why are 50,000 US citizens dying a year due to air pollution?

Simply put, the EPA does not fulfill its obligations to the American people. Under their watch, people are dying. Voting Pro on this resolution will only increase the number of deaths, spreading toxins throughout our atmosphere, killing men, women, and children alike.

So, when you make your vote, think past the grammar. Think past the sources, whether or not we used ".govs" or ".coms." Consider which side represents economic logic, understanding supply and demand. Consider which side understands the ecological ramifications. Consider which side greater respects the value of human life. On all these issues, Side Con triumphs.

Vote Con; thank you.


I will keep this round brief because we are debating in circles and the same points keep arising. Con says it is unfair to argue the pipeline from the possibility of it being built in the future, and I think that statement is a fallacy. Merely due to the fact, the pipeline would take over a year to complete if it were approved at this very moment. We also know this is not the case, so we can even assume it could take them two or three years to even pass this plus another year of construction. The only way to argue this is from a future perspective.

(1) Economy

(2) Ecology and health


Con has once again brought up the point about jobs being created indirectly because of this pipeline. I have shown in over 3 sources that this estimate is among most leading experts in the field. I have also directly stated as Con said, that the amount of permanent jobs would be directly relevant as to how long it will take to make the pipeline. The permanent jobs Con has mentioned are taken into two different categories. Permanent literally meaning permanent, as in will continue after the pipeline is build. These 35 jobs Con has shown, are the ones that will go past the completion of the pipeline. This is maintenance and over watch jobs mostly. The other context of the word permanent is jobs that will be until the pipeline is finished. These are the estimates that range in the 20k mark. Since Con seems to once again miss the point of indirectly creating jobs. I will clarify for the second time. Indirect jobs are any jobs that result because of the pipeline being build. Where as construction or truck drives could be placed under both categories I will not categorize them in indirectly. Bear in mind , if con wishes to stick them in the category of direct jobs, that is around another 10k jobs that would benefit from the direct building of the pipeline. Indirect jobs could be anything from openings in the EPA, from scientist getting soul samples, from extra openings of any market/ hotel that people will have to shop or stay at because of business with the pipeline. As i have shown in the sources above this is not an opinion it is a fact that most experts agree with. Oil itself is an american necessity, building this pipeline will allow us a way to have more of it. Simple as that. Where as I and Con agreed that a lot of this could be exported and sold this is another way to stimulate the economy in itself. The gas prices as I previously stated are if the pipe line were passed and built at this instant. This is an illogical survey, due to the fact it would take over a year to complete the pipeline and the variables that would have to be considered within that time frame are impossible to figure in. This is also directly quoted by scientific studies as I have shown in sources. The one fact we do know is that it will directly impact jobs, which is the one thing that we need more than anything at the moment. With the possibility and almost guarantee of around 150,000 jobs + direct jobs, I think that is a factor we cannot ignore.


This point Con actually agreed with me on. He states "I will put it right out: global warming will not increase significantly as a result of Keystone", but then goes on to argue this is not the main issue despite half of his sources claiming that this is the main issue. I have shown multiple times and even gave a way to calculate this in my prior round. The pipeline itself will virtually have no effect on global warming at all which again CON has agreed to. As far the gas emissions from the pipeline itself. This argument is mute. He is stating the EPA wont regulate this well because of issues in the past, I am saying they will handle this because of the pressure they will be getting from the Obama administration and congress to control it. We can also assume the pipeline would not even be passed if they could not find a way, as stated by the president himself. So again this point is pure subjectivity.

In closing.

While I may not advocate the pipeline itself, I have shown why there are viable reasons for people to vote in favor of it.

I have shown how it will help the economy by creating 120,000-150,000 jobs

I have also shown using mathematical principles that this will have virtually no effect on global warming, and have also shown that experts say the same thing through providing multiple sources in my previous rounds. I will once again state that Con agrees with this. I have shown due to strict regulatory pressure that will be placed on the EPA, how they will be able to contain oil spills, and how the pipeline itself would not be passed otherwise.

Why some people may see downsides to this, my job was not to show that it should be passed but to counter pros points and show why there are viable reasons to vote for it. I have done just that. thank you for your time.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Mikal 3 years ago
If this was 3 round I would take it lol
Posted by Mikal 3 years ago
If this was 3 round I would take it lol
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Shadowguynick 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This debate was very circular, and both sides made valid points. I agree with pro more, but his thinking makes more sense to me. I believe pro's arguments are more convincing in economic terms. Ecological is in dispute, because of the fact that it rests on what EPA will do, and no side produced convincing arguments. Citizens was not addressed very clearly, and i couldn't form much of an opinion. Based on the fact that pro had better economical arguments and was able to cast enough doubt on other points I will vote for him. However this is a very close vote.