With Veto Threat, Obama and Congress Head for Collision Over Keystone Pipeline

by: Ms. Purner

1. Article MLA Citation

Davenport, Coral. "Senate Panel Approves Keystone Pipeline Bill." New York Times. 8 January 2015. web. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/09/us/senate-panel-...

2. Summary Paragraph (Be sure to indicate whether this is a news event or if it is an editorial / opinion piece.)

This article was a news brief reporting an event. The Senate Energy Committee passed a bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and in doing so set the Republican controlled Congress up in a clash with President Obama who might veto the bill. It is expected that the House will also pass a version of the bill to send to the Senate next week. Obama has said that he will wait to make a final decision until a court case in Nebraska is resolved. The court case involves the pipeline's route through Nebraska. Both parties are preparing for a lengthy debate over the pipeline. The issue has become a "political lightening rod" in the larger political debate over energy, climate change and the economy. Some see the pipeline as an opportunity for the United States to emerge as a global energy superpower. Some oppose the pipeline as a further threat to climate change. Senator Bernard Sanders, an independent from Vermont, stated that if the pipeline is approved, future generations will ask, ""'Did you not hear what the scientific community all over the world is saying - that climate change is the most serious environmental crisis facing this planet?'" Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky pointed out that this infrastructure project would increase peoples' wages by $2 billion and support many thousands of jobs.

3. What ethical issue does the article raise? What makes the event / action just or unjust?

It is clear from this article that the pipeline is extremely controversial with people having different reasons for supporting or opposing it. Some arguments are political; some are economical, and others are environmental. Whatever decision is made regarding the pipeline, it will impact present and future generations as stakeholders as well as the environment. Sustainability needs to consider environmental protection, economic development, AND social equity, so no single one of these factors should solely dictate a decision. It is important to listen to the voice of the scientific community and consider all stakeholders present and future, acting in the common good. The ethical principle of precaution and responsibility is relevant here. It is important to gather factual information, to listen to all stakeholders, and to make sure that decisions made are accountable to future generations. Many questions need to be addressed: What would be the probable impacts on the natural environment, wildlife habitats, plant life, etc. along the 1179 mile pipeline? How would building the pipeline affect the communities situated along its route? How might building the pipeline further contribute to climate change?

4. Discuss your position, and pose a question for reflection and discussion.

This should be a paragraph! End with a thought-provoking question for class discussion.

My position on this is....... because..... In order to make the ethical decision, I believe we would need to..... I don't think that..... Do you have any ideas for a strategy to resolve this controversial issue that consider the three Es of sustainability - social equity, economic development, and environmental protection?