Pipeline Monologue Project


Our assignment for this project was to create three monologues portraying three different views on the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Keystone XL Pipeline is a pipeline that’s going to travel from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska carrying Tar Sands oil, an unconventional petroleum deposit. This has sparked a lot of controversy regarding the environment and climate change. Even the presidential candidates have taken sides on the issue. My monologues are in the views of the Tar Sands oil, the Keystone Pipeline being built, and a regular man living in New York. The Tar Sands is at first excited to be used, but when they hear about her being mixed with water that could be possibly used, it gets upset and changes it's mind. The Pipeline is not excited to be built at all. She doesn't like the way she's being built and think she's going to be used for horrible purposes. And the last monologue focuses on Dave, a man with a newborn baby girl, worried about what her future holds with the Pipeline.

I learned that this pipeline can really impact the 2012 election. Many people are for it and against it. Both candidates are on opposite sides of this debate and their decisions regarding the pipeline can increase their votes or decrease their votes.

Like, Keep Your Water !

Phew ! Like, I’m getting so bored over here. I swear there is nothing to do ! All I do is sit here in this pit and just wait to be used. And I haven’t been used in like, sooooo long. I’m like, so lonely and I don’t have any friends here but like, me, myself, and I. And like, trust me, that’s not the greatest company in the world. I’m barely used for like, anything and it sucks. I’m bored, tired, and I feel like, absolutely worthless, like no one wants me --- Wait ! A visitor !

(pauses) ... Pipe ... line ? A pipeline ? Like, leading to America ? And like, me being used ?! Are you like, serious ? This is great ! This is like, exactly what I’ve been looking for. I was getting tired of like, sitting on my butt, doing nothing for the past ... who knows ? Took them long enough to get off their butts and make me useful. I thought I was going to like, waste away and not be useful for anyone. But all that matters is like, that I’ll finally be used and change people’s lives ! I’ll probably give people like, more jobs and everything ! Wow, this is nice ... Oh my gosh ! My visitors are saying more !

(pauses) .... Like, wait a second. Did they just say I’m getting like, mixed with water? Why do I need that ? I know I’m a little chunky and all, but I don’t need to be all ... watery. I think I like the way I am. I don’t need some stupid water. It’ll downgrade my quality and make me all gross. Plus, I like being by myself. I bet water is like, super annoying and everything. They’re probably a talk-a-lot and won’t know when to like, shut its mouth. I don't like, imagine being with something like that ! And don’t the humans need like, water ? Like don’t they drink it or something ? I always see the bottles that the humans carry and they always have like, water in it. I would like, think they need all that water that they’re trying to use on me. They can like, keep their water ! If water has to be infused with me for me to be sent down south, then I don’t think I want to move ... (pauses) Plus I’ll be moved down in America, which is like, really far from home ... (pauses, hears people talking more) ... Toxic waste from the water ? Gross ! Like, I told you that it’s a bad idea ! Water like, ruins everything. I really think I should like, stay ...

Don't You Know How To Treat a Lady ?

(southern accent) Ow! Watch it will ya! I’m fragile y’know --- OW WILL YOU STOP IT! That screw doesn’t go there and you know it! Do any of you workers know how to treat a lady with respect ? I understand you need to get your job done, but jeez ! That doesn’t mean hurt me in the process. It’s not like I really want to be built for this anyways. (sighs) Oh, you’re all done now ? I guess it is the end of the day ? Well go on then, shoo. (pauses, sits down) This is ridiculous. I mean, I appreciate not being separate parts anymore and actually becoming a whole, but its not like I’m bein’ built for a good cause. As parts, I was clean ! I was everywhere, in different countries and different communities. There was no dirt on me at all. I wanted to be built, because I was sick and tired of bein’ just ... parts !

And all I’m hearin’ from these workers is that even though buildin’ me is giving ‘em jobs, I’m actually bad for the environment. Or at least, the oil is. But I’m still bein’ used to transport it. The workers keep saying that the oil is dirty and crude. Yes, I’ve seen oil before, and let me tell you it does NOT smell or look remotely decent. I bet it’s disgustin’ too. My insides will be absolutely filthy. Especially if they’re mixin’ all the oil with water ! It’ll spread and such. (rubs sides a bit) And by the way they’re building me, I’ll break apart and the oil will probably leak everywhere ! I don’t care that they’re gonna be watchin’ over me twenty-four seven. It ain’t like they gonna get the leak under control in time ! I’m gonna end up like that oil rig out in tha’ gulf, explodin’ and causin’ all types of trouble. And I ain’t the one for trouble now am I.

Shoot, if I had it my way I would be used to transport water or somethin’. It ain’t gonna get me dirty and it’s good for the environment ! But whateva’, it ain’t like that’s gonna happen now will it. I’m only a little ‘ol pipeline, sittin’ here gettin’ built for the worst cause. I don’t wanna hurt the people and run through their properties and hurt the animals and spill the oil everywhere and just UGH. (sighs, stretches) I swear, this is ridiculous ! It sucks ‘cause I can’t even stop myself from being built ... This is just so stupid, I swear. (looks to her side, and sighs, it’s morning already) It’s already mornin’ and I got none of my beauty sleep !

Performance of Monologue: <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/51530756?title=1&amp;byline=1&amp;portrait=1" width="500" height="375" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/51530756">PIPELINE MONOLOGUE</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user14116191">Kennedy C</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

Everything's Gonna Be Alright

(father sets baby into crib, leave room and goes to sit on couch in living room, turning on the tv quietly to the news.) No, not this again. The news is always boring. Lets see if theres any sports on. I think the Steelers might be playing today. (flicks through a couple of channels, adjusts sitting position while doing so and ends up back at the news) ... I guess not then. The news it is ! (says this with a sarcastic chuckle, sits back further into the couch and crosses arms. the news starts to mention the pipeline) Oh, it’s another one of those things. The government is always trying to do something to make the economy better. Same old, same old ... Whoa man, 1700 miles long ? Are you serious ? Why can’t we just import the oil some other way ? I doubt there’s 1700 miles worth of free land to build this pipeline. (shrugs indifferently) Well, it ain’t going through my back yard now is it ? The pipeline isn’t even going near New York. But that’d be weird, having some big pipeline going through my property. Can’t imagine what those people are feeling ... ---

(news anchor starts to interview protesters and people against pipeline, he leans in closer, clearly interested) So this Tar Sands is the dirtiest oil around ? Why would we risk a leak with such crude and disgusting oil ? Even if we’re mixing it with water, it’s still gross. I think the water makes it even more nasty. (pauses to hear more) ... So the government’s stealing the land from the people too ? People have lives to run, things to do. No one should have the right to take someone else’s land, even the government. Those people paid fair and square for each inch of the land they live in. Most of these people are farmers and they have children and they just ... they just kick them out ! (getting a bit angry, voice raises slowly with each word) I can’t imagine getting kicked to curb with nowhere to go ... It doesn’t matter if our economy is getting “better”. The government is destroying lives and ruining futures ! Even the future for my child is in danger ! (standing and shouting by now, runs hands through hair roughly, pacing back and forth and looking at the ground) What if she wants to leave here and go to college or move there ? What if this makes our economy worse ? What if ---- (baby starts to cry in the other room from his shouting. he hurries to the room and tries to console the baby) ... It’s gonna be alright, ssh, ssh, it’s gonna be alright.


  • It takes about three barrels of water to extract one barrel of oil. More than 90 percent of this water, 400 million gallons per day, ends up as toxic waste dumped in massive pools that contain carcinogenic substances like cyanide. (Friend of the Earth: Tar Sands)

  • It will cross the Ogallala Aquifer, a major source of drinking and irrigation water for Nebraska and seven other states (The Undead Pipeline Returns)

  • Companies must destroy fragile forest ecosystems, waste enormous amounts of water, and disrupt the lives of indigenous people in the area. The forest is clear cut, the wetlands are drained, and living matter and soil are hauled away to expose the tar sands. (Friend of the Earth: Tar Sands)

  • The Keystone Pipeline System is monitored 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Pumps and valves are remotely started and secured. In the unlikely event of a spill or leak, pump stations and valves will be closed to limit spill volumes. The leak detection system uses a variety of methods to detect a leak of any size. (Trans Canada)

  • It encourages production of a particularly dirty sort of crude from oil sands and would threaten sensitive lands and water sources along its route. (NY Times: Keystone XL)
  • Some pipeline safety experts and environmentalists have raised concerns that the tiny federal agency that oversees the nation’s expansive network of pipelines, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, is ill equipped to oversee a project of Keystone’s magnitude. (NY Times: Keystone XL)


"Keystone XL Pipeline Project." Keystone XL Pipeline Project. TransCanada, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <http://www.transcanada.com/keystone.html>.

"Friends of the Earth." Friends of the Earth. Friends of the Earth, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <http://www.foe.org/projects/climate-and-energy/tar-sands>.

"Keystone XL Pipeline." Keystone XL. New York Times, 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/k/keystone_pipeline/index.html?8qa>.

Ostrander, Madeline. "The Undead Pipeline Returns." YES! Magazine. YES! Magazine, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <http://www.yesmagazine.org/blogs/madeline-ostrander/the-undead-pipeline>.