Americans who follow politics understand that Republicans have no conviction except enriching the wealthy and their favorite special interest group, the oil industry. For the past few months, Republicans have pushed the Keystone XL pipeline with outrageous claims of hundreds-of-thousands of jobs, unlimited oil for American consumers, and a perfectly safe pipeline running from Canada to the Gulf Coast. Last week in the Senate, Republicans attempted to amend the MAP-21 transportation bill by mandating immediate construction of the pipeline despite President Obama’s refusal to grant a permit after the GOP attached a 60-day demand for a decision to December’s payroll tax cut extension. The Republican outrage at the President’s refusal to grant a Keystone XL permit was predictable in January, and after the Senate blocked the Keystone amendment on Thursday, Speaker John Boehner absolutely went ballistic.
Boehner and Republicans are using the Keystone XL pipeline debate to assail the President’s energy policy with misinformation and blatant lies about the number of jobs it will create, and the amount of oil Americans will lose if the pipeline is not built. Republicans claim the pipeline’s construction will create 20,000 American jobs, but that is much less than Boehner’s previous claim of hundreds-of-thousands, but even 20,000 is a stretch according to TransCanada, the pipeline’s owner. A complaint sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in January accused TransCanada of using “false or misleading statements about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline,” and “consistently used public statements and information it knows are false in a concerted effort to secure permitting approval of Keystone XL from the U.S. government” with claims the pipeline will create American jobs “at a rate that is 67 times higher than job creation totals given by the company to Canadian officials for the Canadian portion of the pipeline.” TransCanada admits the pipeline’s construction will create at best, a few thousand temporary jobs, and that the Canadian oil will be sold to China and Europe on the foreign market.
TransCanada also reported that instead of reducing fuel prices for Americans, it will increase them because the pipeline will drain off oil reserves as it passes over the Ogallala Aquifer that supplies drinking water to 2 million Americans and is the primary source of groundwater for 20% of America’s agriculture. The potential for environmental disaster is immense because another TransCanada pipeline spilled 12 times in one year, and two years ago in Michigan the Lakehead pipeline system ruptured; crews are still cleaning up the mess because instead of floating, tar sand oil sinks. Those are indisputable facts about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, and still, Boehner continues assailing the President for not granting an immediate permit.
On Friday Boehner accused the President of “personally lobbying against the Keystone pipeline,” and “it means the president of the United States is lobbying for sending North American energy to China and lobbying against American jobs.” Boehner’s remarks are a smokescreen to fool the American people, because he is aware that none of TransCanada’s oil will reach American consumers. One might think that Speaker Boehner has a personal stake in the pipeline the way he assailed the President, because he does. Boehner said he was disappointed in the President and that “if we’re going to have bipartisan action on energy, the Keystone pipeline is an obvious place to start, the White House owes the American people an explanation.” Wrong Mr. Boehner; you owe the American people an explanation.
It was reported here, here, and here that Boehner owns stock in seven Canadian tar sand companies and stands to make financial gains if the pipeline is built. Boehner’s financial disclosure shows he purchased stock in Canada’s tar sand companies in 2010, so it is no stretch of the imagination to assume he bought stock in time to profit from the pipeline’s construction, and it explains his rabid push to get it started.
The pipeline is nearly half-way completed in the Southwestern United States and last week, trucks carrying Keystone XL pipeline equipment illegally entered sovereign Lakota Indian territory to hasten the Northern portion without approval from the President and before environmental and State Department studies are completed. When Lakota Indians blocked the Keystone XL pipeline trucks from passing over reservation land, the trucks refused to turn around claiming they had “corporate rights that supersede any other law” and five protestors were arrested. According to papers from Keystone truck drivers, the corporate office in Alberta made a deal with South Dakota to save the oil company $50,000 per truck and they were allowed to trespass without incident. The oil industry is allowed to have influence that “supersedes any other law” because they have powerful allies in the United States Congress, and Boehner needs to explain to the American people how much cash the oil industry is funneling to Republicans in exchange for circumventing the State Department, Environmental Protection Agency, and Native American sovereign territory.
John Boehner and Republicans pushing the pipeline must admit they are lying and cheating to enrich big oil and for personal financial gain. Boehner’s claim that the President is sending North American oil to China is the Keystone XL pipeline’s purpose and Boehner knows it. There is a petition calling for Boehner to resign immediately and confess he is a liar to save his family the embarrassment of the SEC investigation that will surely expose his alleged share manipulation scheme. Boehner has a history of untoward special interest activities that he promised he would never do again.
It is not just Boehner who must be held accountable for lying to the American people. Senate Republicans who voted to mandate the pipeline’s construction knew the refined oil is destined for China and when Democrats attempted to pass an amendment that prohibited sending the refined tar sand oil out of the country, Republicans successfully blocked the measure. Republicans are not concerned about high gas prices or a comprehensive energy policy, but with enriching their oil industry donors at the expense of the environment and higher fuel costs for American consumers. Since Boehner or his Republican cohorts will never admit to lying or their oil industry malfeasance, President Obama needs to address the nation and report the truth about the Keystone XL pipeline and Boehner’s involvement in the sordid affair. The people would respect the truth and join other Americans in demanding that Keystone XL proponents are evicted from Congress, and the place to start is signing this petition against John Boehner.