The People Behind the Issue #1

Two Opposing Views

My news feed is full of details about the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. When I went to examine the issues, I found so much information that it felt like being blasted with a fire hose.

Kinder Morgan summarized their plan—more than a thousand pages—into a convenient infographic, “By unlocking access to world markets for oil, the Project will result in increased tax dollars and years of employment.”

Conversations for Responsible Economic Development (CRED) published their own risk assessment of the expansion project. The two camps disagree strongly on the many issues. Here are a few that stand out:

  • The historical spill count is either acceptable or significant.
  • Expansion will either create many high-paying jobs or potentially cause widespread unemployment.
  • Tax revenues will either be a significant or insignifcant contribution.
  • In the case of another spill, either Kinder Morgan or the taxpayer will pay for the cleanup.

How may I decipher these well-presented arguments without becoming an expert on pipelines and oil spills? If I decide to focus environmental issues, I won’t have time or energy to decipher the dozens of other important issues of our day. I have listed a few examples of complex issues below. What complex issues perplex you?

  • Healthcare privatization
  • Foreign aid, including medical and military
  • Pensions and welfare

Kinder Morgan wants me to focus on The People Behind the Pipeline. In my next post, I will do just that.

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