Proposed Tar Sands Oil Pipeline Elicits Protests

BY News Desk  August 29, 2011 at 5:43 PM EST


Demonstrators sit down in front of the White House while protesting against a proposed pipeline that would bring tar sands oil to the U.S. from Canada on August 22, 2011. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline could carry crude oil some 1,700 miles from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast in Texas. The State Department released a “Final Environmental Impact Statement” on the project, which is also known as the “tar sands” pipeline because of the kind of oil it would transport, late last week.

Several environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and National Wildlife Federation, joined together to release a major report of their own in February of this year on the safety risks of the pipeline.

At organized sit-ins in recent weeks, demonstrators gathered at the White House to voice their objections to the controversial pipeline, citing concerns over the environmental impacts of the $7 billion proposal. If it is implemented, oil imports from Canada would be doubled.

Among the concerns of environmentalists is the possibility of erosion in the pipeline due to the more corrosive substance, the creation of waste ponds and strip-mining operations in Alberta.

But advocates say with instability in oil-producing nations in the Middle East, the pipeline would provide a more reliable supply.

Explore a map of the proposed pipeline below. We’ll have more on the debate around the project on Monday’s NewsHour: