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View Diary: Grijalva and 23 colleagues seek delay in Keystone decision until conflict of interest probe is done (75 comments)

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  •  you mean this (8+ / 0-)


    That Podesta would publicly extract himself from the administration’s pending Keystone decision before starting his advisory job may be evidence he knows what lies ahead, and wants to be seen as divorced from the final call. It could preserve his maneuvering room with members of both parties, within the West Wing, and with Hillary Clinton, who made remarks perceived as supportive of the pipeline during her tenure as secretary of state.

    “I assume that it means the president has already made a decision,” Manley added.

    •  Rick Perlstein published an article in the Nation (14+ / 0-)

      last month that received very little coverage, but is extremely important to the Keystone XL debate. If you haven't read the article, it's an eye opener.

      You know something about tar sands, those petroleum deposits sedimented within mineral layers, concentrated in the Canadian province of Alberta. They can be converted into crude oil via a highly disruptive refining process, then transported to market via a process that is even more disruptive: overland and underwater pipelines. You know about tar sands, no doubt, because of the Keystone XL controversy. At Bioneers yesterday I attended a strategy session led by tar sands activists who were glad that the Keystone XL controversy has focused attention of the whole ghastly business; XL, because it crosses an international border, requires presidential action, which has provoked activists to launch a highly visible pressure campaign aimed at the White House. But they were worried about that attention, too—because “XL” serves a distraction from other, more proximate pipeline crises unfolding now, today, perhaps beneath a waterway or across a county near you, that you might be able to help stop now, through grassroots action.

      It’s not just the record number of pipelines that are being built. There is also the newly flourishing and massively risky practice of reversing the directional flow of existing pipelines, often in conjunction with massive increases in pressure that the pipes were not designed to withstand (here’s a story about a pipeline reversal in which the volume will almost triple). That was almost certainly a major reason for the disastrous rupture of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline last March in Mayflower, Arkansas, which you may have heard about—or which you may not have heard about, given that the Federal Aeronautics Administration, in a suspicious move made in cooperation with ExxonMobil, immediately banned flights above the spill from descending below a floor of 1,000 feet, while inquiring reporters on the ground were told by local sheriff’s deputies, “You have ten seconds to leave or you will be arrested.”

      The Army Corps of Engineers is enabling TransCanada to lay a lot of the pieces in place, while Obama pretends to be studying the pipeline's potential impact on the environment.
      The clever lawyers for the pipeline company TransCanada, you see, had devised a shifty way to get pipelines reversed, built or both, before opposition can have time to gel. They get a special kind of expedited permit from the Army Corps called “Nationwide Permit 12,” which is supposed to be limited to projects that disturb less than a half-acre of wetland in a “single and complete project.” But companies claim, in clear violation of the intent of the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, that each crossing of a body of water (there are more than a thousand for the project in question, adding up to 130 acres of high-quality forested wetlands) is a “separate” project, each falling below the threshold of scrutiny. That way they can avoid public hearings, avoid filing a environmental impact—can avoid any accountability at all, really. “It’s not a public process,” explains Hatley. (Nope. Only the lands are public.) Or, actually, processes—for what the NWP 12 scam allows is for pipeline companies to overwhelm the system, as the legal complaint from the Sierra Club and Clean Energy Future Oklahoma explains, by “piecemealing” what is obviously a single project (even though you obviously can’t have a pipeline if it’s in pieces), “into several hundred 1/2-acre ‘projects’ so as to avoid the individual permit process.” So it is that Army Corps of Engineers, the named defendant in the suit, gets to mete out little chunks of permission every eleven miles or so, in secret, the public and the planet be damned.
      I don't think we're going to influence the president's decision, no matter how much we protest. The whole thing is taking place in small increments while we cling to the hope that Obama will do the right thing.

      On a similar note, Bloomberg is reporting that the TPP has been approved by the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee, which opens the door for it to be pushed through congress as soon as they return from vacation.

    •  Yeppers (5+ / 0-)

      Its a done deal and has been long before President Obama got elected or Hillary Clinton came on board. The money and forces for it are just to huge and the last person who even tried to stand up to them was Jimmy Carter and we all know how that worked out.

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