Do The Right Thing

Dear Mr. Obama,

The Keystone XL pipeline is an idea that may be a smart move for the North American economy, although is us buying ourselves coffins in terms of the amount of carbon emissions we will be making because of it. President Obama, I believe it is a bad idea because it means us going in the opposite direction of what our goals for cutting carbon emissions are, it is going to end up costing us a lot in environmental costs, and it is going to bring on negative health consequences.

Firstly, the Keystone XL pipeline is going to increase our carbon emissions significantly. The extraction of oil from the ground is a huge use of energy. Then, once we get this oil out and to distributors, our carbon emissions are going to explode. As is mentioned in The Huffington Post’s article “Why The Keystone XL Pipeline Matters For Climate” a extra 1.4 billion metric tons is going to have been released into the atmosphere by the time the 50 year Keystone plan is finished. In what way can 1.4 billion extra tons of carbon coexist with our goal to reduce our overall carbon emissions by 2020? The simple answer is that it cannot. The Canadian government is pushing the Keystone XL pipeline, and then states its past successes when faced with people who oppose the pipeline. The Canadian government says that they are more on track in terms of environmental management than the United States. They make this statement to the people who can see how the pipeline will obviously ruin the environment. The government stating this is just complete nonsense because of course they won’t be able to continue their trend when the pipeline is created. Just because a boxer wins one fight it doesn’t mean he’ll be the world champion forever. Like I said before, 1.4 billion tons is what we are looking at. There is no way we can lower overall emissions with that type of excretion. Who knows though, maybe Canada will start pushing for recycling again when the pipeline is created.

Second, the overall environmental costs this is going to have. We are talking about oil spills along the pipeline, the destruction of animal habitats, and the emissions from the tar sands extraction. And if you believe the pipeline can be made to avoid oil spills, according to attorney Anthony Swift, the last pipeline Keystone created has spilled 12 times. Its last spill dropped 21 000 gallons of oil onto the surrounding area. There is going to be oil spills along the pipeline, and this will damage the area around the spill. Small animals can be covered by the toxic oil and die, as well as larger animals that may eat this small toxic prey and get sick as well. These spills will destroy the areas they occur on and make the grasslands around them unsuitable for life. According to the “National Wildlife Federation”, these pipes will also be passing through farmers properties and can spill unto their produce. Does that not sound delicious? Farmers and ranchers have also been protesting against the pipeline because of this. Also, just getting this oil out of the ground wastes a huge amount of fuel; energy we could be using for something more efficient and beneficial to mankind. Not to mention, tar sand oil is one of the dirtiest oil sources available, and is 17% more polluting than other sources. With the huge amount of energy we will have to use to extract this oil, along with the oil itself being more polluting than other types of oil, it is easy to see why you should not pass this pipeline Mr. Obama.

Lastly, but probably most important, are the health consequences associated to building the pipeline. If you do not care about the environment or the wildlife, know that you too will be affected by the pipeline. Dr. John O’Connor, a physician, has said that carcinogens will be getting into the air, food chain, and water of the communities downstream from the oil sands, and that can have extremely negative effects on their health, such as the development of tumors and cancer. Like I mentioned earlier, there will be spillage along the length of the pipeline. There are also many farmers’ and ranchers’ properties along the length of the pipeline. The toxic gunk that will be spilling out of this pipeline causes cancer, and there is a good chance it will be spilling around the produce that ends up at your supermarket and that you will consume. This thought makes me feel very uncomfortable, and if I live on a continent that puts economy over the well-being and health of their population, I really feel disappointed my parents decided to immigrate here from Europe. The health of our bodies and the health of our planet are so critically important to our well-being, that if you sign this deal you are essentially signing that you do not care about the lives of your people Mr. Obama.

The Keystone pipeline is a bad idea from start to finish. The economy is slowly healing on its own, and it does not need the help of a concept that could slowly kill off the human race. The Keystone XL pipeline will make it impossible to reach our carbon reduction goals, turning the North American governments into a bunch of liars and hypocrites, our environment is going to be devastated, and the health of North Americans will decline. Even though everyone in the government is at the age where death is already at their footsteps, I am not. I do not want to start getting sick until I am in my late 70’s, and I feel like I have lived a complete and happy life, in a country strong enough to make good decisions for its people, and at the same time smart enough to make sure those decisions do not bring negative effects later on. This is my final statement to you, President Obama. Do the right thing.

– Stamatis D.



Anthony Swift, Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog.

Anthony Swift, The Huffington Post.

Dr. John O’Connor, CBC News.

National Wildlife Federation.


One thought on “Do The Right Thing”

  1. Stamatis: You make an eloquent plea to President Obama and support your arguments with outside sources. I think your body paragraphs could be a little more tightly organized. Is carbon emissions (your first point) not part of the environmental argument (your second point)? At times you get a little off track (e.g. the boxing metaphor). And some sentences are unclear (e.g. the letter’s first sentence).

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