Target: John Kerry, Secretary of State
Goal: To produce an accurate depiction of the potential damage caused by the Keystone Pipeline XL and stop its completion
In order for the Keystone XL pipeline to be approved, any potential harm the pipeline may cause to endangered species must be declared and solved. The United States Department of State, or State Department, was in charge of researching possible negative effects on endangered species. Their conclusions severely underestimated potential harmful impacts. While the State Department declared only one species will be adversely affected, in fact many more species will be hurt by the pipeline’s existence.
The Keystone pipeline is a pipeline system designed to transport crude oil from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Texas. The entire system, when completed, will be 2,151 miles long. Currently, the pipeline stretches from Canada to Nebraska, then from Nebraska to Oklahoma, with a stretch from Missouri to Illinois as well. The proposed next step, Keystone XL, consisting of the stretch from Oklahoma to Texas, is bound to have negative effects on endangered wildlife and has received attention from concerned environmentalists.
The conclusion of the State Department’s research mentioned that the only endangered animal destined to be affected by the pipeline is the burrowing beetle. This is unfortunately far from the truth. Many factors were not addressed: there will need to be many new power lines erected, which will interfere with migration patterns and flight of many birds; the pipeline is estimated to spill 34,000 gallons of oil each year, devastating countless numbers of wildlife; there will also be unprecedented habitat destruction in order to accommodate the pipeline. Whooping cranes, northern swift foxes and woodland caribou are only a few of the species that will be affected by this massive construction. Some dire facts were completely ignored by government agencies: the majority of the pipeline will occupy the migration route for 90% of the remaining whooping cranes; the cranes are so lanky that power lines are sure to obliterate the species.
The severe outcomes of the Keystone Pipeline XL cannot be ignored. Endangered species will have a slim chance of surviving the pipeline’s existence; these creatures need a voice. The United States needs to rid itself of its addiction to oil, not the last of our endangered species. Tell the Secretary of State, John Kerry, that ignoring the facts is a death sentence for these animals.
Dear John Kerry, Secretary of State,
I am saddened to learn that whilst studying the possible negative impacts of the Keystone Pipeline XL, the government failed to report the truth about endangered wildlife. Many endangered species will be extremely affected by the construction and existence of the pipeline. The burrowing beetle falls on this list; however, the problems with the pipeline extend well beyond the ground.
Whooping cranes are very endangered, currently numbering only 300 total birds. With the pipeline comes power lines; the lines will occupy the migration route of the whooping crane, creating a death trap for the lanky birds. Other endangered species will be targeted as well, such as the northern swift fox and woodland caribou. The government estimated that the pipeline will be responsible for 34,000 gallons of oil spilled each year. Our country’s history with oil spills, and the devastation they have caused, should be something we learn from, not try to recreate over and over again. The Keystone Pipeline XL extension has no redeeming qualities.
As a nation we need to move away from our addiction to oil. The extension of the pipeline will do nothing more than feed that addiction for a little while longer. It will not satiate us, nor will it solve any problems. The Keystone Pipeline XL will only cause problems that will be impossible to reverse. Please understand that so many endangered species are at stake; we must protect them, not murder them.
I urge you, Secretary of State John Kerry, to fight against the completion of the pipeline.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Brylie Oxley via Wikimedia Commons