Keystone XL: Some Americans Are About To Get Filthy; Some, Filthy Rich

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Hey, you want to hear a dirty joke? TAR SANDS! I didn’t say funny; I said dirty. It doesn’t get any filthier than tar sands. And that’s what the big boys are trying to shove down the throats of unsuspecting Americans for the purpose of making a handful of people filthy rich off this filthy resource.

As you’re undoubtedly aware by now, the Keystone XL pipeline ran into a Senate roadblock recently, missing by one vote, passage without the threat of a filibuster. In the current lame duck session, 14 Democrats joined their oily Republican colleagues in trying to ram approval through the Senate, even through the last weeks of Democratic control.

Be assured of one thing. There will be a Keystone XL pipeline in your future; your very near future. The Republicans want it. The blue dogs want it. The State Department has blessed most of it and the president is vacillating like a football coach unsure whether to replace his quarterback in a close game. The fact of the matter is, the majority of the Keystone pipeline has already been built; 2,600 miles worth. The yucky junk won’t find its way into most of the U.S. until next year, though Texas refineries are already being supplied with light crude. There are 1,200 (well, 1,179) miles to go. The XL pipeline will begin at Hardisty, Alabama, extend to Steele City, Nebraska and fan out after that, ending up on the gulf coast.

With the opening of the 114th Congress, January 3, 2015, the Republican strategy is to put their new Senate majority to good use. They’ll either bulldoze the approval through or they might package it into one bill with something the Democrats crave. I’m betting the Democrat’s segment will be largely meaningless to the population as a whole. I’d demand amnesty and citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and a new minimum wage of at least $9.50 for the entire working population, and then I’d add safety and environmental demands to the pipeline, itself. Prediction: The Republicans won’t need help from across the aisle, so they’ll offer nothing. So, given that within a few months at the longest, the Keystone XL section of the pipeline will begin construction, let’s take another close look at what we’re in for.

Let’s start at the source. Check out “Women’s eNews.” W-eNews is a somewhat obscure, but very informative, website. It features highly personal stories of what it’s like to be at the epicenter of the actual extraction and pipeline sites in Canada where this rancid crap originates and owning land in the U.S. coldly appropriated by TransCanada. I’ll let those most affected tell you at W- eNews.

If there’s one word to describe the TransCanada Keystone project, it’s exploitation; pure exploitation of the have-nots by the haves. That is, after all, the working definition of our culture. Greed, power and wealth in the hands of a few, enabled by the ridiculously uninformed, who will believe anything that comes from a core of racism and homophobia. Most of them are Republicans, and they vote in numbers sufficient to keep the right-wing political train running down the track.

Keystone is largely a pass-through to get the refined heavy crude product to the gulf coast, then to overseas markets with the major players escaping tax obligations along the way. Our population benefits nada. Gas prices won’t be impacted. Unless you work in the industry, you’ll see not a single additional penny in your pocket. What you will see, feel, hear and occasionally mourn, is listed in a collection of incidents of explosions, leaks, spills and assorted other accidents involving mostly oil and natural gas pipelines.

There was an oil and gas platform explosion 12 miles off the coast of New Orleans, Thursday, November 20th. A man was killed, 3 were injured, 1 seriously. In southwestern Weld County in Colorado, a Halliburton fracking accident claimed the life of Matthew Smith on the morning of November 13th, severely injuring two fellow workers. Smith took a blast of water measured at an estimated 3,500 – 4,500 psi. A fire hose averages 50 – 100 psi.

A Halliburton spokeswomen told the media, “Our thoughts and prayers are with our employee’s loved ones.”

Wiki has compiled a well-sourced roster of additional accidents from January 10, 2002 to October 28 of this year. The site goes back even further to the years from 1990 to 1997 to track Koch Industry fines of $35 million covering 300 separate Koch Industry pipeline leaks over that period.

Deaths (ranging from 4 and 5-year-old sisters to age 73), injuries, destruction of the environment and wildlife, sometimes irrevocable, huge property damage and displacement from homes; they’re all on the list that you can access here.

Another joy of tar sands, also known as bitumen or dilbit when it’s diluted, is its corrosive nature and peanut butter consistency. In its original form, it won’t flow through pipes. Therefore, it has to be diluted. Even in that altered state, it’s pure hell to clean up when it spills. A real life example goes back to July of 2010. A million gallons of diluted bitumen spilled into Talmadge Creek, which feeds into the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Michigan. Much of the bitumen separated and sank to the bottom. It took over two years to basically clear a 35 mile section of the river of this dilbit obscenity. Parts of the river are still compromised. A new pipeline has been built, but oil deposits are STILL being cleaned up on the bottom of the Kalamazoo, nearly 4 -1/2 years after the fact.

An alleged positive result, oft-cited in defense of the pipeline, is the massive job totals that would accrue from XL’s construction and existence. Once built, few are able to refute the miniscule State Department figure of 35-50 jobs to keep the thing intact. As far as the two-year construction timeline is concerned, estimates range from 2,000 to 500,000 jobs. The most accepted figure originates from, again, the State Department. State’s number is 42,100, mostly temporary jobs. Only 3,900 construction jobs are included in that total with most other positions being support services. Will the pipeline be built in a year? If so, that would cut the 42,000 figure to tens of thousands of fewer jobs.

For final permission to build, a Presidential Permit is required. Congress challenged the president some time ago and he simply refused to sign it. In response, H.R.3 (the Northern Route Approval Act) was introduced in the house, eliminating that requirement. It passed by a large margin. Not a single Republican dared vote no. The whole process is now awaiting a Nebraska Supreme Court Decision to determine whether the Nebraska Public Service Commission must check out the pipeline before it can snake across the Cornhusker state. This, after a negative appellate District Court Decision. Once the Nebraska Supreme Court rules, President Obama has promised to either sign on or reject. There’s already a stretch of Keystone in the state.

The Presidential promise notwithstanding, if the decision goes against TransCanada, there would most likely be an appeal process that could go on and on.

So for now, progressives are essentially Pips, jumping ship (as in failing to vote) only to be rescued by Ahab “Bernie” Sanders before descending into impotent political madness and deeding all power to the “Great WHITE right-wing Whale.”

19 Replies to “Keystone XL: Some Americans Are About To Get Filthy; Some, Filthy Rich”

  1. Dennis, I hope you are wrong. If the democrats cave on keystone, I will abandon the party. Our President just meant with China and came to a historical agreement on climate change. The Native Americans in Nebraska and South Dakota say this pipeline they consider a act of war. I’m not sure how anyone can look into their eyes and mow them down. It’s their protected lands under our treaty/laws.

  2. You do know that Boehner promised the Koch’s and oil companies that it would pass and he was so sure he could get it done he invested in 5 of the companies involved in it.

    Conflict of interest?????

  3. There is NOT a spot of this United States that the KOCH BROTHERS believes belongs to anyone but them for they have bought it all.. IF the Native Americans in Nebraska and South Dakota think this government will take their side in an ownership showdown with the KOCH thugs they need to resmoke the peace pipe and grab their bow and arrows because the KOCH thieves have already paid the price to the REPUBLIE-CONS and the war will be on. Which side will YOU be on when the shooting starts?

  4. Not seein’ it. I think O tanks KXL, if not outright, then defers it until the Hilary takes over with a Blue senate in ’16. O is feeling very bold, not in the mood to give away anything the right wants. If crude prices continue to decline as predicted, then tar sands become economically unviable anyway. I’m actually hopeful that KXL is dead. TransCanada fears it might be as well, as they’re looking into building a pipe through southern Canada to the east.

  5. I hope the KXL is dead.

    The bounties from it will only be for the select 1%, and the damage it will/may cause will be around for centuries.

  6. I think it is definitely a conflict of interest for all of those Senators and John Boehner who are so heavily invested in the Keystone pipe line. And a handful of Blue Dogs too. This just fuels Boehner’s hatred of our President that much more.

    While the Republicans are spending all of their time hatching plots to create a frivolous, worthless suit against the President, no one is investigating the
    ethics of people like John Boehner but I think they should!! If they are going to spend my tax dollars on these investigations, they are going after the wrong man.

  7. If Democrats in Washington decide to turn their back on their faithful voters like me, I intend to turn my back on them. That is why I voted for Sanders and I never looked back.

    Sanders may be independent but he is far more truer Democratic candidate in 2016 than any of Democrats are having right now.

  8. Boehner got 7% stock stake in Keystone. It was given to him for free by TransCanada after under pressure by Koch brothers to make it happens. 7% stake which is pretty alot, he would be easily Mr. $40-80 million man.

  9. Wonder if Boehner will be bold enough to pass out the checks from the Kochs on the house floor? He did with the illegal tobacco company checks and no ethics or FEC investigation happened. I read the article on here, but already knew about it in the 90’s when the GOP house and Senate was causing strife.

  10. There is NO reason to believe this will pass with this president. NO reason to have it pass if people vote in 2016 not just for president but for Congress.

    Hair on fire upsets are preventable by one damned thing – democracy. You don’t want it? Elect good people and then spend one day a week or more phoning, emailing, Faxing them to demand they stop Keystone.

    If all we do is rend garments and gnash teeth, then it WILL happen. If we WORK it will not. The Right gets it – they are totally dedicated. What the HELL is the matter with liberals and progressives that we cannot be bothered to do the SAME?

  11. Great post!

    You are absolutely correct that Canada is considering its southern border as the alternate route to transport this poison.

    The KXL must be stopped! Not only will the damage be for centuries plus there will be another broken treaty with Native Americans proving once again that the American government cannot be trusted.

    It’s true that “the love of money is the root of all evil” and “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

  12. It cannot be legal for Boehner to be pushing
    this pipeline down americans throats when he is heavily invested in it. Has anyone
    ever petitioned him to stop pushing it and recuse himself from the conversation.

  13. Pipelines are obsolete. If we had a Congress focused on infrastructure, rather than lifestyle coaching, we’d know that.

  14. I would not be surprised if there was a ‘secret contract’ between Transcanada and the Koch Bros.

    Transcanada’s name to appear for the public to see as the corporation heading the Keystone pipeline and Koch Bros being the silent partner.

    Why you ask?? It’s so rarely mentioned that Koch Bros are the LARGEST land owners of Canada’s Tar Sands. YUP — they are. It’s unreal how articles written and published appear to go unnoticed by so many. It’s like a roadmap to the secret which they would deny of course but if we had credible investigative journalists/reporters – they should be investigating.

    If this happens to be the situation, the Kochs profits would soar higher than they do now as they want to get their dirty oil out of Alberta to market and Keystone is their answer. Pipeline to Texas & shipped to market. Kochs are secretive about their $$ and meetings in politics – why wouldn’t they be the same about this? They’ve never been trustworthy before – why would th…

  15. Wouldn’t be surprised if Koch Bros ‘enriching’ Boehner for pushing Keystone.

    See my posts below as Koch Bros are the largest land owners of Canadian Tar Sands.

  16. Obama will NEVER approve the pipeline. Its stupid. It does not do anything for America except pollute. 35 jobs. Joke. Dirtiest oil on planet to be sent overseas, not for America.

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