The video contains some environmentalists in Kansas who are opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline, but environmentalists all over America are protesting its construction for various reasons. From the fact that the oil comes from a source with almost no environmental regulations, the tar sands of Alberta, to the fact that the pipeline will be traveling over some environmentally sensitive areas of the United States.
It also contains those who argue in favour of the pipeline because of the jobs it will bring to the US. Let’s have a look at who those jobs will go to before getting all excited about the economic prospects. While it is true that the construction of the pipeline will be done across the United States, those jobs will be temporary and are not the kind of jobs that can permanently sustain a family. The oil is being piped to refineries in Texas, a notoriously anti-union state that will give dangerous jobs to the lowest bidders in terms of wages, and potentially even try to use illegals at sub-minimum wage the same way that we’ve seen the meat industry do in Food, Inc.
I’d like to reiterate that I am not personally against the oil sands. I do believe they should be more tightly regulated environmentally as there is an absence of any regulatory framework at all on their emissions, and First Nations peoples have proven that their lands are being threatened by the oilsands, as well as wildlife habitats across Alberta. However, with proper environmental oversight and the buy-in of aboriginals, I’m all for the oil sands. That is not, however, the case that the rosy commercials would have you believe. It is something that will happen in the distant future if the US forces our hand, and only then will you see environmental controls go into place.
I’m against the Keystone XL pipeline for yet another reason. The refining is now being done by highly skilled union workers (for the most part) in Alberta. While the pipeline would be good for distribution, it is most useful for bleeding these jobs to anti-union Texas, thereby increasing the oil company’s profit margin. Make no mistake, they are not out to create sustainable jobs for Americans. They’re out to make themselves rich.