By Michelle Eigenheer–
The recent decision to go ahead with the Keystone XL pipeline has environmentalists across the continent in a frenzy to fight back. Most notably, the White House has been fighting back over a thousand protestors at a time, including surprising figures such as actress Daryl Hannah and former Obama campaign writer Elijah Zarlin.
These activists are standing up against a long-considered pipeline that would stretch from Alberta, Canada to Texas’s Gulf Coast. Environment groups are fighting this structure because they feel that it would greatly endanger the environment.
While stretching a pipeline across an entire continent and shooting crude oil through it does sound like a dangerous thing, it really won’t effect the environment – assuming that TransCanada doesn’t pull a BP blunder. As long as the company follows the strict regulations that will be required, the oil should pretty much stay in the pipeline where is poses no threat to nature or our drinking water.
Another issue that these activists have been screaming over is the American dependence on oil – yes, Americans depend on oil, and yes, that’s probably really bad for the environment, but it’s not something that can be changed overnight, if ever. It’s naïve to expect the entire world to go green. Right now, the best way to handle the situation is to move away from a dependence on foreign oil.
This pipeline creates a source of domestic oil which will be taxed less while also creating jobs. If anything, the construction of the Keystone XL will stimulate the economy and strengthen economic ties between the U.S. and Canada. Excess oil can be sold to other nations who would also like to end their dependence on Middle Eastern fuel sources.
As for the protestors themselves, anywhere from 64 people to1,252 people were recently arrested for protesting outside of the White House, depending on which source you believe. These presumably peaceful protestors were exercising their first amendment rights when police stepped in. This issue alone has people screaming about civil liberties.
However, being the White House, there are certain security measures that the government takes to protect the leaders of the United States. These protestors were asked multiple times to remove themselves from the premises. After refusing to comply, several were taken into custody and relocated. They were not apprehended for protesting, but for breaching the security of a government facility and then ignoring orders to vacate.
The Keystone XL pipeline has been announced, but there are many things that can happen between now and the actual construction. With the upcoming election, the issue is definitely one to watch.