What are the possible risks and benefits of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, and is it safe?

There are many mixed views about the planned expansion to the Keystone Pipeline which runs through Texas. The new Keystone XL Pipeline would run from the Gulf Coast all the way to Canada. As with any big project like this, questions have been raised about the environmental impact of the pipeline. It will have to be properly marked, and designed in such a way as to minimize the risk of any explosions.

The danger of oil pipelines

The idea of having an explosion-free pipeline would at first seem to be the kind of thing that goes without mentioning, however, accidents in the past have shown that oil pipelines are all but safe. Talmadge Creek was devastated by thousands of gallons of crude oil when an Enbridge oil pipeline ruptured in July of 2010. A major spill in March 2013 in Mayflower, Arkansas, had 12,000 barrels spilling down residential streets. It is possible that a Keystone disaster could lead to a 1.7 mile area being polluted by 2.8 million gallons of oil. Explosions around oil pipelines and the resulting oil spills can pose a health and safety risk to workers and bystanders alike.

Possible benefits of the pipeline

The pipeline itself will do more than just move oil. It is speculated by the State Department that the pipeline's construction could directly or indirectly create 42,000 jobs, even though at-the-time President Obama himself stated that the number would be closer to 150, with the construction phase itself maybe providing around 2,000 jobs. On the other hand, TransCanada stated that the pipeline would bring the U.S. 20,000 new jobs.

The pipeline, when finished, would be able to carry Canadian and U.S. oil to refineries in Texas. At peak, this quantity could be as much as 830,000 barrels of oil per day, though typically it will be more like 700,000 barrels. The connection would also connect with a bountiful oil extraction regions in Montana North Dakota, as well as with major oil sources in Oklahoma.

According to CNN, the pipeline could add between 12,000 and 8,000 construction jobs, while local and state governments could reap an income benefit of 156 million dollars in income and sales taxes. Still, the question remains as to whether the risk of river contamination and other forms of pollution is worth the possible benefits.

Anyone in Texas who has been injured on or around an oil pipeline may be able to receive financial compensation to help deal with pain and suffering, as well as with expensive medical bills. An attorney in the area who practices personal injury law may be able to help secure a better outcome in such cases.