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Pipe mania.

It seems safe to say that the Keystone XL pipeline is the world's most well-known, and controversial, oil pipeline at the moment. But the United States is already crisscrossed by 61,000 miles of crude oil-carrying pipelines, and Keystone, however infamous, is just one of many contentious pipeline proposals. Pipelines across North America have garnered intense scrutiny for their contributions to climate change, impacts on the local environment, and health and safety concerns. Here are a handful of controversial pipelines in North America.

[1] Keystone XL

The Keystone XL debate has been raging in US politics for years. The controversy surrounds a proposed 1,200-mile stretch of pipeline that would carry oil from the tar sand mines of Alberta in Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. Although the project has faced strong public opposition, in January both the US Senate and House of Representatives passed measures approving the pipeline. President Obama has promised to veto the legislation, and the fate of the project remains in doubt.

[2] Energy East Pipeline

The Energy East pipeline may serve as TransCanada's fallback if Keystone XL isn't approved. As proposed, the massive project involves construction of a 2,858-mile pipeline from Alberta to Canada's Atlantic coast. The pipeline, which has yet to be approved, could transport more than one million barrels of crude a day. TransCanada has said that it will pursue Energy East even if Keystone XL is approved.

[3] Poplar Pipeline

The Poplar Pipeline gained notoriety in January when it leaked an estimated 30,000 gallons of crude oil into Montana's Yellowstone River. The spill contaminated water for 6,000 residents in the nearby town of Glendive. The cause of the spill is not yet known.

[4] Trans Mountain Pipeline

Kinder Morgan's proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline would add a twin pipeline to existing infrastructure, and would nearly triple the capacity of the pipeline system to 890,000 barrels of oil a day. Pipeline opponents are upset that Canada's National Energy Board won't consider the greenhouse gas impact of the oil transported through the pipeline. Kinder Morgan has refused to release information about how the company would respond in the event of a spill.

[5] Northern Gateway Pipeline

As proposed, the Northern Gateway Pipeline would run 731 miles from Alberta, Canada to the western coast of British Columbia. Construction of the pipeline, which was approved last year, is estimated to cost $7.9 billion. So far, opponents, including several First Nation tribes through whose land the pipeline would run, have filed 19 court challenges against the project.

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Title Annotation:AROUND THE WORLD; oil pipelines across North America
Publication:Earth Island Journal
Geographic Code:100NA
Date:Mar 22, 2015
Previous Article:And then there were five.
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