In this unit we studied the Keystone XL Pipeline, a proposed project by TransCanada. It would be a 1700 mile pipeline that would transport tar sands oil from Canada to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico in the US. However, many people oppose the pipeline's construction because of concerns regarding the environmental damage it may cause. It has not been decided yet if it will be built, it is awaiting approval from President Obama. It is up to him if it will be passed or not.
To better understand the issue, it is essential that the following is known:
- The pipeline is international, thus TransCanada needs President Obama's approval to build it (NeedtoKnowPBS).
- The construction of the pipeline would significantly decrease the US dependence on foreign oil. This has been a goal of the country for a long time. (NeedtoKnowPBS)
- Movements and protests against the pipeline have sparked all across the US due to the threat it may impose on the environment. Many people are against it. (350.org)
- It is speculated to create many jobs. However, people believe that it will get rid of more jobs than it creates due to the jobs lack of sustainability (NeedtoKnowPBS)
- “Prominent scientists have called the Alberta tar sands ‘the most environmentally destructive project on the planet.” -Montana Environmental Information Center
Addressing the Senate
(Republican congressman John Kligman prepares to address the senate about the issue of the Keystone XL pipeline. He is in his office in Washington, DC, preparing for his address to the senate tomorrow morning)
(Senator Kligman sits down at his desk in his office. He removes his coat)
(to self) “So I’m addressing the senate tomorrow, on the Keystone XL Pipeline, hm? (takes out a $20 pen and a pad and begins to write)
“Fellow senators, colleagues, people of this senate. My name is John Kligman, Republican from Georgia. Today I will be addressing the pivotal issue of the Keystone XL Pipeline that is awaiting President Obama’s approval to be built.
(Pauses and lifts up his pen)
“So far so good”
I was elected to Congress by the state of Georgia solely on the grounds of reducing our massive dependence on foreign oil, and to create more oil stability here on our soil, and create a sound and strong infrastructure. Upon election I promised my fair state that I would do everything in my power as senator to do so.
(writing ceases momentarily as he gathers his thoughts)
Regarding the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, I believe we have been pitched a slow, underhand softball to slug out of the park (smirks to self). I believe that the oil stability and financial infrastructure that we desire have been practically handed to us on a silver platter. We are basically being given a freebie: no financial drawbacks with many benefits that stack up and up. Tax revenue, job creation, the list goes on and on. (writing flowing easily) As someone who stands for oil independence from other countries, and represents people who stand for oil independence from other countries, in my mind, no, rephrase that, there is really no question that this is something that should happen.
“That part came easily. But what about the environmental ramifications, hm? How should I prepare to answer those questions, and address that side? It’s obviously there.”
(Continues writing) The only major obstacle standing in the way of the Keystone XL is the environment itself. I, no, like many others I realize the harm it could cause to the environment. I realize that the “tar sands” oil it would be transporting is not quite as clean as other oils.
However, I strongly believe that the financial benefits will weigh this out. With our struggling economy, (to sef) “growing, no large, no astounding” astounding unemployment rate, and desperate need for oil independence, this pipeline needs to be built.
(pause in the writing)
(smiles to self) And I know a way in which we would have the best of both. I know a way in which we would be able to build the pipeline, and benefit from the economical boosts that it is certain to provide, while keeping in mind the protection and health of the environment. I propose a solution that would consider and satisfy both sides.
(pauses) You see, the pipeline will generate millions of dollars in revenue. What I propose we do is dedicate a large portion of the capital that the pipeline generates towards environmental protection, specifically where the pipeline may cause harm. What I’m proposing is we build the pipeline, then invest a part of what it generates to balance out its faults. It can be the solution to the problems it may create. In this way, it would always be fixing itself with the massive amount of revenue it generates. This is how I propose we address this issue. This is what I, John Kligman, think we should do.
(puts his pen down and looks up.)
(to self) “And the rest will go from there. I guess”
From the Other Side of the World
(Two oil drillers are talking on a rig in Saudi Arabia.)
“Man can you believe that? A 1700 mile pipeline running through the US?”................”What’s the big deal? I’ll tell you what the big deal is man. We might not have a job, that’s the big deal! We could lose our jobs man! Is that something you want?”....................”How do I figure? I’ll tell you how I figure man! Those morons in the US won’t need oil from us anymore! You heard what the boss said.”................”What did he say? Damn you are such a moron man. You were there! You know, 5 minutes ago when he called in everybody who works on this damned rig for an announcement, man, 5 minutes ago!”............”You really don’t remember? Man you’re such a moron.”.............”Hey now don’t call me a moron man! I’m not the one who forgot what the boss said five minutes ago--”.............”Fine SIX minutes ago at the very important announcement that everybody had to hear!”.............”You weren’t there? Why not?”..................”Busy doing what?”...............”None of my damned business? Is too my damned business seeing as I’m the one telling you that you may not have a job!”....................”Oh that’s real mature, man. Go ahead, just leave, see if I care, you moron!”................”Hey wait come back I’ll tell you what he said”..........”......if you tell me what you were doing first!”..............”Me first? Okay man fine. See if I care. He said that there’s this giganto pipeline being built in the US that’s gonna transport oil, like 800 thousand barrels a day, endangering this rig and our jobs! Well, it hasn’t started being built yet, but if it is, then we’re out of work”............”Why? Because we depend on the business of the suckers in the US, that’s why! Them having their own oil means we have no job!”...........”No not just us, everybody at the rig”...........”Yes even the boss.”..........”Because the rig’ll go out of business you moron!”............”Do I really think so? You know man, that’s just what the boss said, I really hope it aint true because I need this job man. You know I got my wife and boys at home, and I know I’m kind of mean sometimes--”........”--yes I know now shut up! Anyway even though I may seem like this stupid tough guy inside I am just a sweetheart and I actually really need this for my wife and boys. I love em so much, and I sure as hell had to work my ass off to get this work.”..........”That’s just what boss said. But for the sake of my life and my family I hope it isn’t true. Now why weren’t you at the announcement again?”
(A small group has gathered along a river that is threatened by the keystone pipeline. Most of them have grown up along the river and depend on it for their living.)
(Talking gently) H-hello. How’s everyone doing today?
(murmurs among the crowd)
Good. (clears throat) M-my name is Jonah Porter, and I, l-like most of us gathered (pauses and looks to crowd) , grew up along this river (looks out to the shiny blue water). (Stammers) M-my earliest memories take place by this water. Th-this water has helped shape who I am today. It’s part of my identity.
(A short pause to let this sink in)
I remember evenings running along this bank (points outward) with my brother. F-first learning how to fish with my grandpa. My dad hoisting me up high over his head so I could see all the way across to the other side. (daintily) P-precious memories that I hold dear in my heart.
(exhales) Th-this river (points out) has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It was here I met my beloved wife (smiles timidly) It was here where my two beautiful children were born (wipes a tear). I love you both, (sniff) so much, and am (sniff) so proud of you. (composes himself) Out of respect for this sacred place, I have devoted my career to this river, and have become a fisherman. I de-depend on this river for a living and to support my family.
(gaining confidence) But now this is all at stake. These sons of bitches at Trans-Canada think they can get away with polluting and endangering our river (slams finger into podium)? (crowd shouts) They think they can get away with threatening our life and lifestyle? (more shouts) They think they can get away with saying to us, “just find another fishing spot because we’re going to harm your river”? Hell no! We will not find another damned fishing spot! We will not move to another river, away from our homes, our families, our histories because some bastards want to build a goddamn pipeline!
Heh. They say, “our pipelines are the best and they will not leak. It won’t harm the environment”, they say. So that means it won’t be harmful, right?
Well we have news for them: sending oil near and through this water WILL harm it, and therefore we have a problem! Not only are they not allowed to get away with this stupid and careless idea, but we most certainly will not relocate from generations of tradition so they can build their goddamn pipeline!
(crowd starts to get rallied up)
(smugly) Not so easy! We will not stand for this! We, the people of this river, this river right here, will fight to prevent harm to it, and to us, and we will fight for the common decency of us as a community!
(crowd cheers) (smiles confidently)
Thank you and good night.