The emotion of lust for inordinate wealth and power, with the intention to keep it for one’s self far beyond the dictates of basic comfort is greed and it drives human beings to commit atrocities of the highest order. There are politicians who lust for the wealth of their donors, and with a steady supply of special interest cash comes power that fuels their greed and perpetuates a cycle of pandering that never benefits the people they are elected to serve. One of the greatest sources of special interest money comes from the fossil fuel industry, and after the President specifically cited his intention of responding vigorously to the devastation of global climate change in his Inaugural Address, one wondered how Republicans drenched in dirty oil money would respond. Within three days of the President’s speech, 44 Republicans responded by sending a letter to the White House demanding immediate approval of the Keystone XL pipeline; they were joined by 9 Democrats.
The oil industry shills decided the time was right to pressure the President to enrich the oil industry and Republicans like speaker John Boehner’s stake in Canadian tar sands after Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman approved a revised route through his state that guarantees spills will despoil the Ogallala Aquifer that supplies drinking water to 2 million Americans, and is the primary source of groundwater for 20% of America’s agriculture. Of course, no Republican promotion to enrich the greedy oil industry is complete without the requisite lies and deliberate misinformation meant to garner support from Americans ignorant of volumes of data proving the Keystone pipeline will not produce one drop of oil for consumption in this country.
The letter said, “We urge you to choose jobs, economic development and American energy security,” adding that “the pipeline has gone through the most exhaustive environmental scrutiny of any pipeline. There is no reason to deny or further delay this long-studied project.” Actually, there are myriad reasons to permanently reject plans to build the pipeline besides preventing lawmakers who own stock in tar sands companies from earning dirty money on the way to enriching American oil refineries for processing Canada’s tar sand and exporting the refined oil products to Europe and Latin America.
First, the exaggerated job creation myth has been debunked ad nauseum, and prompted the Securities and Exchange Commission to consider an investigation into share price manipulation by Speaker John Boehner and the pipeline’s owner, TransCanada, for claiming hundreds-of-thousands of jobs are on the line if the pipeline was not approved for immediate construction. At best, according to the pipeline’s owners, TransCanada, the pipeline will create approximately 1,200 temporary jobs for two years. In fact, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) both oppose the pipeline, and stated that “We need jobs, but not ones based on increasing our reliance on Tar Sands oil. There is no shortage of water and sewage pipelines that need to be fixed or replaced, bridges and tunnels that are in need of emergency repair, transportation infrastructure that needs to be renewed and developed,” but the oil industry will not reap the benefits of rebuilding and repairing the nation’s infrastructure that Republicans oppose as “wasteful stimulus spending.”
Now, for two years Republicans have pushed the filthy lie that allowing TransCanada (a foreign corporation) to build the pipeline through America’s prime agricultural land will guarantee “American energy security” for now and all time, and prompted Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) to warn the President that “tar sands oil will be produced whether or not the U.S. approves the project. Our choice is, the oil comes to us or it’s going to China.” According to presentations to investors, Gulf Coast refiners (primarily ConocoPhillips) plan to “refine the cheap Canadian crude supplied by the pipeline into diesel products for export to Europe and Latin America,” not America or China. What Hoeven failed to report was that according to TransCanada, the pipeline will increase the cost of gas for Americans by draining Midwestern refineries of cheap crude oil, and independent analysis found this will increase per-gallon prices by 20 cents/gallon in the Midwest. TransCanada’s 2008 Permit Application states “Existing markets for Canadian heavy crude, principally in Midwestern United States, are currently oversupplied, resulting in price discounting for Canadian heavy crude oil. By granting access to the Gulf Coast and removing this oversupply, the price of heavy crude will provide an increase in annual revenue to the Canadian oil industry in 2013 from $2 billion to $3.9 billion.” Republicans will never tell the people that to increase revenue for a foreign oil corporation, Americans will pay more at the pump because the pipeline gives the industry a means to artificially hike the price of oil by draining oil reserves that keep prices within reason for American farmers and the transportation industry.
Lastly, the letter said “the pipeline has gone through the most exhaustive environmental scrutiny of any pipeline,” and regardless which agency, or country, studied the effects of building the pipeline, there is nothing but disastrous environmental catastrophes on the horizon now and the foreseeable future. To start with, the U.S. Pipeline Safety Administration has not yet conducted an in depth analysis of the safety of diluted bitumen (raw tar sands) pipeline, despite unique safety concerns posed by its more corrosive properties. One tar sands leak in the Lakehead pipeline in Michigan two years ago has cost taxpayers over $800 million so far, and engineers still are unsure how to clean up tar sand crude that sinks making cleanup all the more difficult if possible at all as crews are still attempting to clean up the Michigan spill.
TransCanada predicted the Keystone pipeline would only spill once every 7 years, but thus far there have been 12 spills in 1 year and the company was ordered to dig up 10 sections of pipe after government-ordered tests indicated defective steel was the culprit. KeystoneXL will use steel from the same Indian manufacturer constructing the pipeline across America. Besides the pipeline crossing over the nation’s agricultural heartland, the Missouri and Niobrara Rivers, the Ogallala aquifer, sage grouse habitat, and walleye fisheries that all face disastrous environmental damage, increased pollution in distressed communities where the crude may be refined, or increases in carbon emissions, will exacerbate climate change the President promised to vigorously respond to during his inaugural address.
In a study funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, a group of retired four-star generals and admirals concluded that failing to immediately address climate change will be the greatest threat to national security America faces, and that the heat-intensive process to extract and refine tar sands uses more energy and produces more heat-trapping gases that contribute to global warming. According to NASA climate scientists, developing Canadian tar sands releases so much carbon that “fully exploiting this resource would mean game over for the climate. If developed and burned, the tar sands contain enough carbon to increase global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations more than humans have increased global carbon dioxide concentrations since the start of the industrial revolution.” The 53 Senators demanding immediate Presidential approval of the KeystoneXL pipeline are more interested in the potential for profits from their investments in Canadian tar sands, enriching Gulf Coast refineries, and boosting revenue for a foreign oil corporation than the climate, but that is the price they are willing to make the American people pay for their lust for campaign donations and political power.
There are insufficient words to describe the 53 Senators, Republicans and Democrats, who are demanding the President approve a foreign oil corporation’s greed that will destroy the Earth’s climate, drinking and irrigation water for the Midwest, and American citizens health for campaign contributions and their personal stock portfolios. If the mounds of data decrying the imminent dangers and threats to humanity were concealed from view, one might understand the drive to increase TransCanada’s profits selling their oil to Europe and Latin America, but the information has been available for well over three years that constructing the pipeline means certain doom for this country’s people and its national security. Lust for power and money can transform even decent human beings into vile, despicable criminals, and by demanding the KeystoneXL pipeline’s construction begin immediately, 53 Senators informed that they are the dregs of humanity, liars, and guilty of collusion in the impending death of Americans and the climate they depend on for basic survival.