Associated Press
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, meets with reporters on Capitol Hill Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, after the Senate passed legislation to extend Social Security payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for just two months. The action also requires President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

While the Keystone XL pipeline does have the ability to create new jobs and provide easier access to oil for our country, this alone cannot dissuade people from looking into its many negative environmental aspects. Tar sands oil (the kind carried by the pipeline) is one of the dirtiest fuels in the world, it is extremely difficult to access and during production levels of carbon-dioxide emissions, is three-times higher than those of other oil. After the oil is extracted, the leftover water is dumped into human-made pools full of toxic sludge which has, in the past, made its way into the clean water supply.

Because this oil is more corrosive, spills are more likely. In the last year, TransCanada's Keystone I pipeline spilled 12 times. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would cross major rivers and aquifers in the U.S. — areas that provide water for thousands of communities. Just one spill in any of these areas would be a disaster.

My hope is people on both sides of the argument will step back and take a closer look at all of the consequences that building this pipeline would have before making a decision that could negatively impact millions of people.

Rebekah Wilbur