You all know who congress works for when, around Christmas time, they Scrooge-like hold hostage tax breaks for working middle class families, unemployment insurance for those who can’t find a job, and Medicare monies needed to treat the sick.
What ransom did these congressional ne’er do wells demand in exchange? What else? A deal for their rich oil patrons!
The American Petroleum Institute, fronting for Canada and its partners in the United States, wants to build the dirtiest, riskiest, $7 Billion crude tar sand oil pipeline called the Keystone XL.
They want to pump 700,000 barrels of filthy crude every day, along a 36 inch pipe, traveling 1,661 miles from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Texas.
You might think they’d be embarrassed to make such a push only a year after BP despoiled the Gulf of Mexico and then had an oil leak on its TransAlaska pipeline, and after Michigan suffered a million gallon oil spill.
TransCanada says that there is no risk to the underground water along the pipe route. (If you believe that, I can show you where the weapons of mass destruction are hidden in Iraq.)
TransCanada is unconcerned that a forerunner pipeline made of questionable steel leaked oil. TransCanada nevertheless asked the US for permission to lay this steel pipeline across 70 rivers and streams and a huge aquifer, the Ogallala, the source of one-third of all ground water to irrigate farms in the region. TransCanada is going to dig down four feet below the surface for this pipe line. So it will be below the water table in many places, putting the water supply at risk from oil leaks. TransCanada made some limp assurances, telling Texas residents not to be concerned as these pipelines will have a cut-off valve every 20 miles. If true, then you could only be mired in 20 miles worth of inky black muck, rather than the full length of the pipeline.
TransCanada has also bullied landowners telling them if they don’t permit them on their land, then they’ll take it by eminent domain. In some instances, TransCanada began construction of the line without official approval.
On the economic front, some buyers of Canadian crude said there is too much pipeline capacity now so that Keystone is neither necessary nor economical.
Unsurprisingly, citizens from the region have objected on all the obvious grounds, protesters gathered outside Congress and the White House, and the Administration delayed approval of this pipeline for a year.
That’s why Congress demanded as its ransom, the shortening of the government’s decision horizon, from a year to a few months, by February 21, 2012.
In exchange, these oil industry stooges in congress gave a green light to middle class tax breaks, unemployment insurance and Medicare.
TransCanada and its PR machine keep saying the pipeline will create jobs. Not really.
At its peak, the Keystone XL application promised it would hire 3,500 to 4,200 temps for construction. Given that the foreign-built pipe has been stockpiled in North Dakota, the actual temp work force is likely to be more like a third of TransCanada’s original forecast.
As for really helping workers, the payroll tax cut helped 750,000 Americans.
A proposed bill that would really help workers, the American Jobs Act, would create 1.9 Million jobs.
Kill this wrong-headed pipeline and save the farms and homes of people half way across the country because this pipeline has never been about helping us, it’s about making a killing at our expense, about playing us as fools in this latest oil industry con.