We all agree that President Barack Obama is no fool. Harvard educated, a Constitutional law professor... no, this is a man who is sharp, and knows exactly what he’s doing.
That is why what his administration is doing with the Keystone XL pipeline is completely inexcusable.
The State Department is currently working on the matter of TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline. To brief those of you new to this project, it is a pipeline that, once constructed, will take tar sands bitumen, the filthiest, most carbon-producing form of crude oil known, from Alberta, Canada down through the United States, crossing ecologically sensitive aquifers and rivers that millions of Americans depend on for clean drinking water. Oil pipelines leak - it’s simply a fact of oil pipelines. Phase I alone will have it crossing the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
The bitumen will be extracted with processes that are much more complicated than pumping conventional crude oil out of the ground, requiring steam-heating the sands to produce a petroleum slurry which is then further chemically diluted. The result of this process is that greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector as a whole will rise catastrophically. Then, when the majority of the sludge finally makes it to the refinery, extra processes above and beyond what it takes to refine normal crude cause yet more carbon to be released into the atmosphere.
Despite all of the concerns around water toxicity and the exponential increase of carbon released into our warming atmosphere, Obama’s State Department has issued a report that completely ignores or downplays these problems, giving the President political clearance to okay the pipeline. Last month, Tar Sands Action went and peacefully protested in front of the White House to try and sway President Obama to reconsider the headlong rush he’s in towards approving this project. Over 1,200 arrests later, the only action from the Obama Administration was the release of the above-mentioned report.
Before you shake you head in wonder at Liberal protesters bothering the President on this when Congress has been the consistent supporters of everything pro-Corporate, let me be clear: this pipeline is completely out of the hands of Congress. President Obama is the only one who can approve or deny this project, and he must do ONE of those two actions, as it crosses the international boundary between the USA and Canada.
So why is the Obama Administration working to help make this preventable environmental disaster a reality? The answer may lie in the relationship that Obama’s State Department has initiated with the oil company TransCanada, the very corporation that wants to build (and own) this giant pipeline which will, when complete, span all the way to the Texas Gulf Coast. You see, a contractor for TransCanada, “Cardno Entrix” is running the Obama State Department’s public hearings on the pipeline approval, as well as also managing the department’s Keystone XL website. In addition, Cardno drafted the department’s environmental impact statement - the report that completely sidestepped all the known dangers of the proposed pipeline. Interestingly, comments from the public about the pipeline go not to the government, but to a cardno.com email.
In fact, the entire history of the review of the Keystone pipeline by the State Department has seen the work being conducted not by the Department itself but by representatives of the TransCanada. The Department of State appointed TransCanada “and its subcontractors to act as its designated non-federal representatives” to assess the potential impact of the Keystone pipeline on endangered species.
So, the Obama Administration has completely abandoned its responsibility to protect We the People from the horrible impacts that TransCanada wants to visit upon us for its own profit. But wait! It gets even more interesting.
Having this pipeline go through will not only benefit TransCanada. Over 25% of the Alberta tar sands deposit is owned by the Koch Brothers. By allowing TransCanada to run the entire show as far as getting this pipeline approved, President Obama is pumping billions of dollars directly to the Koch Brothers, his deepest political foes.
Or are they? From this, it can be truly hard to tell.
If this were my decision, I’d have purged the Department of State of these Big Oil contractors as soon as I took office. I’d then have ensured that true and accurate environmental impact studies made their way to my desk as soon as possible, so that when the time came to sign this project into oblivion, I could simply look TransCanada in the eye and say, “you clearly don’t have the best interests of the American people in mind with this pipeline. It will not be allowed to cross into this nation. Oh, and tell Dave and Chuck Koch I said, ‘nice try’.”
America Changes Today,
Aldous C. Tyler