Big Oil and the Koch Brothers Have Hijacked Our Government and Trampled Liberty

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Over the past five years Americans may have taken note that Republicans have never accepted, or acknowledged, the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency and sought every means under the Sun to supersede his Constitutional authority. If they were not blocking the President’s judicial, cabinet, and agency nominees, Republicans have obstructed this President’s agenda; including seeking to sue him for using executive orders nearly every president since George Washington has issued. As the oil industry’s legislative arm, Republicans have went to great lengths to give the Koch brothers, oil exporters, and a foreign corporation a gift that climate scientists say is “game over for Earth’s climate” regardless it is President Obama’s sole purview to approve construction of the KeystoneXL pipeline.

Republicans in Congress have passed laws approving the foreign corporation’s permit to begin construction of KeystoneXL, attempted to attach immediate construction approval to raising the debt limit, and lied copiously about the economic benefits and jobs associated with the pipeline’s construction. President Obama has not given approval for the foreign corporation to begin constructing its dangerous pipeline, but Nebraska Republicans took matters into their own hands and passed a law granting the Republican governor sole authority to approve the pipeline’s construction. Fortunately for Nebraskans fearful of illegal land grabs and the safety of the Ogallala Aquifer, a Nebraska judge ruled that the law, and the governor’s approval, is unconstitutional and effectively put the construction and the route of the entire KeystoneXL pipeline in limbo.

Before 2011, Nebraska gave oil pipeline companies free rein to seize private and public land even if they were foreign companies like TransCanada. In November 2011, the state passed a new law, the Major Oil Pipeline Siting Act, adding requirements for the pipeline approval process that included public hearings, a requirement to establish how a pipeline serves the public interest, and approval reports from a plethora of agencies. However the new law was prohibited from affecting TransCanada’s construction of the Keystone XL pipeline because any legislation that delayed KeystoneXL would be unconstitutional.

The new law’s only requirement was that eminent domain to seize private land could be used if future pipelines were approved by the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC). That did not sit well with a Republican state senator. The Republican, Jim Smith, introduced a new law, LB 11161, which allowed pipeline companies to bypass appropriate agencies and approval requirements except for Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality that lacked standards or authority to evaluate the pipeline’s impact. LB11161 allowed approval to go straight to the Republican governor, a rabid Keystone booster, to approve KeystoneXL and give TransCanada free rein to seize all private land along the pipeline’s route. The judge hearing the lawsuit against the Republican governor agreed with the plaintiffs and ruled the Republican governor’s route approval was unconstitutional.

It is noteworthy that after Republican state senator Smith’s law was signed by the governor, he received an all-expenses paid trip to see the Alberta Tar Sands courtesy of the Koch brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Within a couple of months Nebraska’s Republican governor approved TransCanada’s new pipeline route and gave the foreign company permission to seize private land and begin constructing KeystoneXL across Nebraska. The three Nebraskans had already received letters from TransCanada informing them they would use imminent domain and seize their land that precipitated the lawsuit against the governor, the “acting” director of the state department of environmental quality, and the state treasurer on grounds the new law was unconstitutional; on February 19 the judge agreed the governor and Republican-dominated legislature overstepped their authority.

Unlike in Nebraska, an oil industry pipeline is already being built between Illinois and Oklahoma due to the oil corporation’s use of a loophole in the law. The corporation, Enbridge, has already amassed a disastrous record of environmentally devastating tar sand leaks. Enbridge is the corporation whose pipeline ruptured in 2010 and dumped 3.3 million litres of tar into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. The Environmental Protection Agency had to order Canada’s largest pipeline company to return to the river last September to cleanup areas where at least 684,000 litres of tar still remains in the river. Once completed, the Enbridge project carrying tar sand that began construction last fall will cover 589-miles, pass over 1,950 wetlands and waterways, including the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, with an initial capacity of 600,000 barrels per day from Canada, North Dakota¸ and Montana.

According to one of the founders of Tar Sands Free Midwest, Debra Michaud, the alarming aspect of Enbridge’s tar pipeline is the ease and speed by which it was approved using a tactic she and the Sierra Club says allows the oil industry to bypass environmental protection laws to fast-track pipeline projects. Michaud said, “This is one of the most important fossil fuel issues of our time. This is really laying the groundwork for the way they’re going to take over this country with pipelines.” Apparently, Michaud’s concern is not unique. In its current issue, Bloomberg Businessweek says “The Keystone XL pipeline should be an open-and-shut case from a climate perspective. But it’s difficult, even for a president, to take on Big Oil. Obama can only do so if he is given political cover by a large, insistent, popular movement.” That movement, and any concerned American, has until Friday, March 7 to weigh in and express their disgust and outrage that Republicans, the Koch brothers, and a foreign corporation are pushing an oil export pipeline carrying Canadian tar to enrich the oil export industry, the Kochs (between $100-250 billion), and it isgame over for the planet’s climate.”

Although there are several issues Americans should be mortified over with one tar sand pipeline already under construction and one in Nebraska  shut down by a judge’s ruling, it is the audacity of Republicans and their oil industry masters to flout the law with veritable impunity. Republicans have allowed a foreign corporation, TransCanada, to seize Americans’ private land under eminent domain, passed a law giving Nebraska’s Republican governor authority to approve construction of KeystoneXL, and ignore environmental laws with no regard for the health and safety of American citizens.

Something is wrong with this country that American citizens have become so timid that they sit idly by while Republicans assist the oil industry to have its way with Americans’ air, water, and health. Americans will never have to worry about a foreign nation seizing their land, poisoning their water supply, or taking control of the government  because although Christian extremists and Wall Street pose an existential threat to this country, America is firmly under control of the Koch brothers, ALEC, and their allies in the oil  industry. One never thought Americans would allow a foreign corporation serving the interests of the Koch brothers to accumulate unchallenged power over the people that TransCanada and the oil export industry have amassed, but with Republicans providing legislative muscle and American apathy, it was just a matter of time before the oil industry seized controlled of America.

7 Replies to “Big Oil and the Koch Brothers Have Hijacked Our Government and Trampled Liberty”

  1. yesterday we had a person comment that the Keystone pipeline would create millions of jobs. Now we have people in Nebraska who could care less about their own state giving people the right to take their property.

    This indicates to me a horrifying lack of education and a complete inability to think for themselves. The people in Nebraska voted in people who are giving their state away for their own profit. Any oil in Nebraska will leave that state and go to Texas. the people of Nebraska are probably being told of the hundreds of thousands of jobs and how the price of oil will drop. It will not. The price of oil will go what do to their own oil been shipped out of state.

    I think we need a new classification of treason. Any representative who would vote to give the right of a foreign corporation or any corporation to take your property needs to be in prison. This is something Ron Paul would do. This is something the GOP has done

  2. Oh but they do buckeyewill they do most heartedly! BUT ONLY if it is THEIR property or property that THEY WANT or has claimed that GOD told them to take. The simple solution is to build the refineries at the border so that it straddles the Border so that both Canada and the U.S. share equally the profits and clean up if the worst happens AND ALL of the fuel and petroleum products stay in the North American continent.

  3. And of course when Harry Reid announced the Democrats plan to bring the evil nature of the Koch Bro’s to the forefront as a campaign procedure, Joe Scaborrow went to the defense of the brothers Koch and flat out lied and claimed that the Dem’s do it also but with no REAL substance. What Joe and his Anti Reality party don’t want to realize or even admit, is that the Koch Bro’s and their evil theocratic minions are forcing on Americans something that they DO NOT WANT!! He even went so far as to claim in the face of facts is that the American people do not want health care that works (ACA) and that the Koch Bro’s are fighting the ACA because the American people want it. What Pure weapons grade BULLSHIT!! But Joey believes it because he’s weak minded and because he’s been ordered to by the 4th Reich.

  4. Now is the time for every American and resident of this country (U.S.A.) to raise some very distinct and very effective HOLY-Hell with every single one of these dirty, corrupt, evil, insane, government officials both Republicans and Democrats that are now actually selling, as we speak, the U.S.A. and the lives of 99% of its citizens (all of us, pets too) to the “elite” 1% and their corporate slave-masters. A TRUE HELL ON EARTH AWAITS US “ALL” IF WE ALLOW THESE TRULY EVIL DEVILS TOO RULE OVER US. In my opinion. Where do you want too live now folks, Heaven (or as close as we could make it on earth) or Hell? If you picked Hell just be silent and don’t do a damn thing, because you will get it. If you picked Heaven then it’s now GOD DAMNED TIME TO RAISE SOME HOLY-HELL WITH ALL OF OUR GOVT. OFFICIALS WHO ARE NOW SELLING OUT THE ENTIRE U.S.A. Time is of the essence people. Lets square this shit away now. Before its too late.

  5. Mr. President throw these foreigners out of our country and lock up the Koches for treason against the people of the USA! Mr. President Stop this Pipeline!

  6. The cock brothers Alec and the oil industry have gone as far as the gutless cowards have let them. The sadly pathetic fake christians and wingnuts have been used by the rethugs to destroy this country. The delusional are still holding on to the fantasy that the RETHUGS actually care about them

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