THE RISK VERSUS ECONOMIC BENEFITS FOR THE ALTERNATE ROUTE OF THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE IN THE NEBRASKA REGION
Young, Matthew Robert
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Keystone is a project that extends from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast in Texas. It crosses an international border and is divided into two segments with the first segment extending from Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Nebraska and the second segment from Steele City, Nebraska to the Texas Gulf Coast. Lots of controversy has been raised about this project especially in the Nebraska region where it crosses endangered species, the Sandhills, and the Ogallala Aquifer. Thus, opposing sides were created involving environmentalist and “oil people” with both arguing whether or not the risk is greater than the economic benefits or vice versa. A GIS helped answer this question by using geoprocessing tools and combining several different variables for a risk assessment in order to create a map showing the overall risk using risk classes along the pipelines corridor. Percentages of the risk classes were then able to be compared to economic information involving county benefits such as taxation and spill cost. Although, with Nebraska being a Republican state the economic benefits received a higher weight in the comparison. Rankings were made for the counties but became subjective in which, risk assessments become subjective at some point. Additionally, spill cost was observed in comparison to the risk assessment and analyzed using a formula that was created specifically for finding the total economic risk of TransCanada. Other risk factors such as terrorism and pipeline diameter are mentioned in stating that the pipeline is prone to other factors.