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Writing an Argumentative Essay on the Keystone Pipeline Project

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The Keystone Pipeline Project has been a source of heated debate and controversy for years. Its approval and subsequent developments during the Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations have sparked passionate arguments from both supporters and opponents. But what are the benefits and ramifications of the project, and what are the controversies surrounding it?

If you’re tasked with writing an argumentative essay on what the Keystone Pipeline Project means for Americans, you could hire an essay writer to help you write the paper or just start here. You’ll learn how to approach such an essay, from building your thesis to supporting your arguments.

But before all that:

What Is the Keystone Pipeline Project?

The Keystone XL pipeline extension, initially proposed by TC Energy (formerly known as TransCanada) in 2008, aimed to facilitate the rapid transportation of one of the planet’s most environmentally challenging fossil fuels: tar sands oil. This large-scale undertaking functioned as an extension of TC Energy’s already-existing Keystone Pipeline System, which had been running continuously since 2010 and had been moving Canadian tar sands crude oil from Alberta to various processing facilities in the center of the United States.

Keystone XL was envisioned to significantly augment the system’s capacity, providing a conduit for processing the vast reserves of approximately 168 billion barrels of crude oil buried beneath Canada’s expansive boreal forest. The pipeline’s ambitious goal was to transport 830,000 barrels of Alberta’s tar sands oil daily to refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas. It’s crucial to note that the primary destination for this oil was not American gas stations but rather overseas markets. This distinction emphasizes the global nature of the project’s implications.

The Keystone Pipeline Project’s journey and the labyrinth of controversies generated is a testament to the intersection of politics, economics, and environmental concerns.

What were the key milestones and moments of the project?

  • 2005: TransCanada proposes the Keystone Pipeline Project, aiming to transport crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
  • 2008: TransCanada applies for a presidential permit, initiating a process that requires federal approval due to the pipeline’s international border crossing.
  • Obama Administration: The project faces significant delays and controversies during this period, with a strong focus on environmental impact assessments.
  • November 2015: President Barack Obama denies TransCanada’s permit application, citing environmental concerns.
  • Trump Administration (2017): President Donald Trump reverses Obama’s decision and issues a presidential permit, reviving the project amid legal challenges and opposition.
  • 2021: President Joe Biden revokes the Keystone XL Pipeline permit shortly after taking office, redirecting the nation’s energy policy toward environmental sustainability.

One of the key issues that ignited intense debates was the potential environmental impact. Environmentalists raised concerns about the extraction of tar sands oil and its greenhouse gas emissions. They argued that the project was incompatible with efforts to combat climate change. These concerns prompted a rigorous environmental impact assessment.

Crafting Your Argumentative Essay on Keystone XL

Every essay starts with an introduction, and this one is no different.

The Introduction

Begin your essay with an engaging introduction that provides an overview of the Keystone Pipeline Project’s history. What is its significance in the context of American energy policy and the contentious nature of the debate surrounding it?

Before diving into the arguments, provide a clear, unbiased explanation of what the Keystone Pipeline Project entails. Mention that it’s designed to transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

Explain its route, including the federal land sections that gained approval during the Trump administration and the private land portions. Mention that it’s a project emblematic of the tension between economic development and environmental concerns.

Arguments in Favor of the Keystone Pipeline

Proponents argue that the pipeline promises economic advantages, including job creation and increased tax revenue for communities along its route. Highlight that it could potentially generate over $1 million in annual tax revenue for certain areas.

Some supporters believe the pipeline enhances American energy security by reducing dependence on oil from less stable regions.

President Donald Trump strongly supports the project and highlights his rationale, focusing on job creation and energy independence.

Arguments Against the Keystone Pipeline

Opponents, including environmentalists and Native American tribes, argue that the pipeline could go against climate change efforts due to the emissions associated with tar sands oil. They also raise concerns about potential oil spills, especially in sensitive waterways like the Missouri River.

Highlight the oil spill that occurred in North Dakota in 2019 as evidence of the potential risks. Critics argue that a damaging spill is likely given the length and the number of waterways the pipeline crosses.

Mention that the Obama administration rejected the project, citing environmental concerns. This decision put in motion the contentious nature of the project.

Explain that the Biden administration revoked the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline shortly after taking office, signaling a shift in environmental policy.

Thought Process for Essay Structure

As any competent essaywriter will tell you, the best essays stick to structure, no matter how fluid they are.

Here is a potential structure for the essay:

  • Introduction: Present the topic, its significance, and the ongoing debate.
  • Understanding the Keystone Pipeline: Provide a factual overview of the project.
  • Arguments in Favor: Present vital points made by supporters.
  • Arguments Against: Outline the main concerns raised by opponents.
  • Government Role: Discuss the roles of different administrations, including Obama’s rejection, Trump’s support, and Biden’s reversal.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the key arguments and their implications, and offer your perspective on what the Keystone Pipeline means for Americans.

By following this thought process and presenting well-researched arguments, you can craft a compelling argumentative essay on the Keystone Pipeline Project’s impact on Americans. Ensure that you provide evidence and cite sources to support your claims, and remember to read widely on the subject before putting pen to paper.


That’s the Keystone pipeline for you, one of the great American controversies that has been a political hotpot over the last decade. Now, you are equipped to tackle an argumentative essay on this subject.

Remember to thoroughly research your topic, cite your sources, and follow the right essay structure if you want to succeed. Good luck!

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