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Henry Waxman and Bobby Rush, the top ranking Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, had the audacity to question the relationship between Koch Industries and the massive new Keystone XL pipeline under review by the State Department. The Republicans and Koch Industries were not amused.

“We are writing to request that in preparation for the hearing on and markup of this draft legislation, the Committee request documents from Koch Industries relating to the company’s interests in Canadian tar sands and the extent to which it will benefit if the Keystone XL pipeline is constructed,” the Democrats write in a letter sent to committee Republicans Friday.

The Hill, May 20, article by Andrew Restuccia

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is pushing new legislation that would demand that the Obama administration approve the new pipeline project by November 1. Never mind that the legislation can best be described as the legislative branch of government telling the executive branch what to do. This is laughable irony after the Bush administration's attempt to expand executive authority into an imperial presidency.

When Democrats on the Committee requested information about the footprint of Koch Industries in the tar sands oil market and direct benefit from the Keystone XL project, they were stonewalled by Koch Industries.

A Koch representative told Democratic staff that Keystone XL has “nothing to do with any of our businesses.” The company also noted that Koch has “no financial interest” in the project.

But the letter says the company would not answer broad questions about its involvement in the oil sands industry.

The Hill, May 20, article by Andrew Restuccia

Other major oil companies were willing to provide details of their tar sands oil extraction, transport, and refining operations.

Koch Industries is a big fish in the tar pit

Koch Industries is a proverbial big fish when it comes to bringing tars sands oil to American transportation fuel pumps. It is hardly a secret.

A SolveClimate News analysis, based on publicly available records, shows that Koch Industries is already responsible for close to 25 percent of the oil sands crude that is imported into the United States, and is well-positioned to benefit from increasing Canadian oil imports.

Koch Industries own literature also highlights the scope of their operations.

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Flint Hills Resources is among Canada’s largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters. To meet the needs of its more than 90 Canadian crude oil customers, the Supply Group operates a fully integrated marketing and customer service desk in Calgary and operates a crude oil terminal in Hardisty, Alberta. The group also coordinates crude oil supply for the company’s Pine Bend Refinery in Minnesota.

So why would Koch Industries refuse to answer basic questions? Simple. It would focus attention on how much the company has benefited from another pipeline bringing Canadian tar sands oil into the U.S., namely the Alberta Clipper. Flint Hills Resources (a Koch subsidiary) controls much of the oil passing through the Alberta Clipper pipeline, which feeds oil from the company's terminal in Hardisty, Alberta to its Pine Bend refinery in Minnesota. Koch also owns a heavy oil refinery in Texas, so it is not unreasonable to assume it will also have some stake in tar sands crude moving through the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Koch Republic

Since the Koch brothers are among the biggest contributors to the Republican Party, even creating the astroturf Tea Party movement to agitate for an end to government regulation and taxation of corporations, it seems only fair to demand a little transparency. Transparency is particularly important when policies are being pushed that may directly benefit Koch Industries.

Fred Upton, chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, had a hissy fit over questions about Koch. Methinks he doth protest too much.

Upton attacked the “outrageous accusation from the minority that this pipeline deserves even greater scrutiny because one company might or might not benefit from its construction.”

“This blatant political sideshow is simply a distraction that, in the end, underscores the desperation of those who want to stand in the way of this common sense project,” Upton said.

The Hill, May 23, article by Ben Geman

The pipeline deserves intense scrutiny for many reasons - necessity, environmental impacts, property right infringements, and financial benefits beyond a handful of corporations. There is nothing about this pipeline that qualifies as common sense.

Upton and the Republicans held the hearings with the intent of pressuring the Obama administration to ignore potential negative impacts from the pipeline. Waxman decided to delve into the corporate interests driving the project because there is little evidence that the pipeline is needed to serve the American public. While other companies were willing to discuss their oil sands operations, “Koch has refused to answer basic questions.”

Is Waxman asking the right questions?

As much as I enjoy watching Waxman calling attention to the tar sands oil operations of Koch Industries, I am not sure it is the most important set of questions to ask.

Did you know that the U.S. is a major exporter of oil? In fact, our exports reached a record 2.3 million barrels per day in 2010.

At the same time, U.S. exports of petroleum products more than doubled to a record 2.3 million bpd last year from 1.1 million bpd in 2005.

"Nowhere have U.S. product exports increased more than in the Americas, including Mexico, Canada, Central and South America and the Caribbean, thanks to economic and population growth and inadequate refining capacity in those countries," the EIA said.

Reuters, May 25, article by Tom Doggett

The petroleum we export is not crude oil, but rather refined transportation fuels. When the Center for American Progress published a story about American oil exports last year, energy analysts at Platts were quick to criticize the story for not focusing on refined products aspect of the exports. Actually, the refined products angle should be our focus.

Most of the refined transportation fuels we are exporting is going to countries (e.g., Mexico, Canada) that have significant refinery capacity. What these countries do not have is the ability to refine heavy crude oil like that produced from tar sands. ExxonMobil, ConocoPhilips, or Koch Industries cannot sell tar sands crude to these countries, but can sell them refined products from that crude.

We have heard a great deal over the past 5 years about the refining bottlenecks contributing to the rise in oil prices in the U.S. market. Those bottlenecks are not because we are importing more oil or using more oil. Our imports and consumption have been stable for several years. What has changed dramatically is the capacity of American refineries being diverted to produce petroleum products to sell to our neighbors and other foreign markets. Much of those exports are shipped from the Gulf Coast refineries, particularly those in Texas.

What the Keystone XL pipeline does is bring tar sands oil to refineries in Texas. So, the question someone should be asking is whose interests are being served by the pipeline. Does it serve the energy needs of American consumers as claimed by Republicans like Fred Upton?  Or does it serve to move tar sands crude from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries where petroleum products can be produced for export?

If we can export 2.3 million barrels of petroleum products per day, then why do we need the Keystone XL pipeline to bring in 900,000 barrels of tar sands crude per day? The EPA noted that the State Department's Environmental Impact Statement did not make a compelling case why the pipeline was needed for our energy security. One can also ask what impact diverting our refining capacity has on U.S. energy costs. Are we paying more at the pump so the oil companies can export more of their products on the global energy market?

While the energy needs of the U.S. may not be served by the Keystone XL pipeline, we will suffer the environmental impacts from the greenhouse gas and toxic emissions from the refineries processing the tar sands crude. Texas has refused to comply with the air quality standards of the Clean Air Act, leading to a battle with the EPA. Increasing the handling of tar sands oil in Texas refineries will further degrade air quality in the state.

Robert Greenwald's Brave New Foundation has a new video that argues the Keystone XL pipeline should be rejected because of a potential connection to Koch Industries.

There is a risk of focusing too much attention on Koch Industries as a reason to reject the Keystone XL project. Their interests in the other tar sands oil pipelines, including the Alberta Clipper, are likely to be greater than in the Keystone XL project. It never hurts to demand transparency and remind people of the Koch connection to tar sands oil, but it may not be the strongest hand to play in stopping Keystone XL.

There are many reasons to say no to Keystone XL. If we can divert more and more of our refinery capacity for oil exports, we do not need it for our energy security. It will contribute to air pollution and climate change, particularly since Rick Perry and Texas refuse to enforce environmental laws. A pipeline spill, particularly in Ogallala aquifer, would have potentially disastrous consequences for water access in Plains states. Property rights are being trampled. The Koch connection is a fly on a steaming cow pie.

Originally posted to DWG on Fri May 27, 2011 at 05:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by J Town and DK GreenRoots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (170+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sceptical observer, mollyd, theKgirls, Burned, grannyhelen, RLMiller, Great Lakes Liberal, Roadbed Guy, kdub, Marjmar, bgblcklab1, MartyM, semiot, aoeu, JimWilson, deben, snoopydawg, Orinoco, temptxan, lzachary, belinda ridgewood, TracieLynn, high uintas, squarewheel, magicsister, bronte17, madgranny, WoodlandsPerson, DEMonrat ankle biter, BobSmith415, ItsSimpleSimon, eeff, Tinfoil Hat, ask, dougymi, DBunn, vacantlook, JanF, BigOkie, annrose, janmtairy, Gowrie Gal, createpeace, wader, obiterdictum, myboo, Tookish, ericlewis0, westyny, blueoasis, confitesprit, Statusquomustgo, zerelda, barbwires, xanthippe2, surelyujest, GrannyOPhilly, DiegoUK, eru, asterkitty, jhb90277, happy camper, Actbriniel, paul2port, chimpy, Ace Nelson, ParkRanger, Cedwyn, jamess, karlpk, flowerfarmer, kerflooey, middleagedhousewife, roses, AllanTBG, beefydaddy18, zukesgirl64, alasmoses, mungley, gulfgal98, revsue, Ivan, legendmn, RJDixon74135, lineatus, Nica24, oysterface, Catte Nappe, mawazo, Lorikeet, angelajean, Magnifico, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, IL clb, roystah, greengemini, marleycat, lissablack, gundyj, Lefty Coaster, DvCM, childrens DO learn, OHdog, dirtfarmer, PeterHug, Xapulin, Mimikatz, Flint, dewtx, dlemex, millwood, alyosha, frisbee, SoLeftImRight, jack 1966, Bule Betawi, marina, where4art, Hedwig, Wood Dragon, Got a Grip, mikeconwell, maxzj05, greenbird, worldlotus, highacidity, mzinformed, maggiejean, MsGrin, jazzizbest, bleeding heart, opinionated, RantNRaven, arpear, ewmorr, carpunder, GAladybug, jay23, Betty Pinson, peggy, Yogurt721, frisco, MKinTN, ramara, WheninRome, walja, nklein, bluebuckaroo, NJpeach, kaliope, ej25, anyname, rage, Simplify, jim d, SeaTurtle, elwior, porchdog1961, rivamer, RJP9999, AuroraDawn, thatvisionthing, Leftcandid, Unduna, chuckvw, Mary Mike, buckstop, terabytes, KenBee, Larsstephens

    Be radical in your compassion.

    by DWG on Fri May 27, 2011 at 05:53:17 AM PDT

  •  I think this is an important diary (33+ / 0-)

    I just have nothing to add. But hoping it will get more attention before it disappears into the ether.

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Fri May 27, 2011 at 06:11:52 AM PDT

  •  Fantastic -- I hope this question gets asked (27+ / 0-)

    on all legislation -- how will the Koch brothers benefit? If the journalists won't ask, I'm thrilled that the Democrats finally are asking and having it entered into the records! Good for them.

    I hope this becomes a talking point as well. Every single time a Republican proposes legislation, a Dem should be in front of the cameras asking where the Koch brothers fit into this equation. Let them expose the Koch brothers for the money grubbing, freedom hating weasels they are...

    “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein

    by theKgirls on Fri May 27, 2011 at 06:12:40 AM PDT

  •  The connections to Koch make good sound bites (22+ / 0-)

    So I'm all for focusing on that in the short term, ALONG WITH educating the public on why the pipeline is dangerous and unnecessary for the long term.

    Education is too big to fail. Truth is too big to fail. Justice is too big to fail. Peace is too big to fail.

    by Burned on Fri May 27, 2011 at 06:13:56 AM PDT

  •  OK, I'm confused here . . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk

    This is a good thing, right?

    Most of the refined transportation fuels we are exporting is going to countries (e.g., Mexico, Canada) that have significant refinery capacity. What these countries do not have is the ability to refine heavy crude oil like that produced from tar sands. ExxonMobil, ConocoPhilips, or Koch Industries cannot sell tar sands crude to these countries, but can sell them refined products from that crude.

    At least insofar as there are almost daily wringing of the hands, gnashing of the teeth diaries right here at DailyKos about how this type of job (i.e., high wage, manufacturing, value added job) is bleeding out of the country.  So why are we upset about this?

    •  It's using eminent domain to go thru (27+ / 0-)

      underground water that affects American agriculture (you know, our other big export). Drinking water is also affected, and TransCanada's business practices in trying to secure permits from landowners have been...well...slimey, to say the least.

      All to benefit a handfull of people.

      "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

      by grannyhelen on Fri May 27, 2011 at 06:36:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This seems to be a major problem with (0+ / 0-)

        this country - exemplified with this very site.

        On one hand, concerns like that keep anything from being done - jobs go to China.  People complain.

        But OTOH if the jobs were kept here, a whole new set of people become less gruntled . . . .

        •  My major beef w this process is that it's been (22+ / 0-)

          an experiment in cost cutting and what the corp can get away with. They've used cheap steel from China (instead of US steel) to build the 1st pipeline, which is now leaking. They've not listened to local concerns, their routes have gone thru high consequence areas (even tho they have stated that they have not), and there is no plan - as far as I can tell - to require baseline maintenence be done on this thing up and down the route. So...if it gets sold to BP and BP doesn't want to do a stellar job monitoring it (as happened in Prudhoe Bay), well, them's the breaks.

          If it affects the drinking water of some of these towns, thems the breaks.

          If it affects fragile ecosystems like the Sandhills, thems the breaks.

          But we must, must, must push this through as quickly as possible, donchaknow...cuz that's they way to ensure it's safe.

          Trust me - this whole thing smells to high heaven.

          "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

          by grannyhelen on Fri May 27, 2011 at 06:48:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your comment about "cheap steel from China" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            grannyhelen, chimpy

            is somewhat amusing - steel making is one of the most environmentally egregious things human do.  And we've (yay!) been able to send most of that out of the country.  something that both environmentalists and RW economists agree is the right course of action (for vastly different reasons, of course).

            But there turns out to be a downside - who'd every thunk it?  

            In any event, if we don't buy the oil from the oilsands, the Chinese will. And this link shows the ends they'll go through to get it shipped over there - with all that, the global environment impact is going to be worse than if we use it here in North America.

            Plus again, a few thousand more high paying American jobs will be outsourced . .. . (for those who care about that type of thing)

            •  My point is to make.it.safe. (13+ / 0-)

              ...if you listen to the concerns of the locals up and down the route, their concern is to make it safe. That is - allegedly - Johanns position, even tho trying to fast track this thing and take away from the State Dept ability to manage the Prez permitting process really contradicts that stance.

              These agreements w local landowners are in perpetuity, yet there is no legislated baseline standard for pipeline maintenence.

              The first pipeline has gone thru at least 1 municipal water supply. TC was counting on the fact that it's going thru conservative small towns where folks might not be inclined to organize or question what they're doing. They were suprised they got pushback, so now they're doing the Washington-smoke-filled-back-room thing to ram this thru in spite of the concerns of the folks who would be affected in the event of any major problems w the pipeline.

              (major snark ahead - don't take it personally :-)

              Then again, there's a whole lotta jobs that can happen when a major pipeline leak needs to be cleaned up...I think I've finally understood the Republican "path to prosperity".

              "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

              by grannyhelen on Fri May 27, 2011 at 07:17:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Did you know that each year Americans (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                grannyhelen

                deliberately pour or otherwise unlawfully dispose as much oil into the environment as Deepwater Horizon spilled?

                And that doesn't even count the amount that inadvertantly leaks out of cars, trucks, etc (which could be about 10x greater . . .. ).

                link that discussed that

                So, while I am of course not advocating for shoddy pipelines, they are a rather minor irritant in the "big picture" . . . .

                •  Shoddy pipeline that go thru the Ogalala (12+ / 0-)

                  aquifer are a different thing entirely. Many of the communities out there have well water as their only source of drinking water. There is simply no other alternative, esp when you're talking about the Sandhills.

                  Put it another way: if an oil company wanted to put a pipeline directly in the path of New York City's drinking water, folks would be up.in.arms. But an oil company wants to put a pipeline in the path of York, Nebraska's drinking water? Well, haven't heard of the place, so that's okay.

                  "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

                  by grannyhelen on Fri May 27, 2011 at 07:48:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If you look at pipelines, they're (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    grannyhelen

                    basically everywheres . . . . including through the NYC drinking water watershed

                    And most of the time, they operate efficiently and safely -of course, they occasionally the leak - like the MI leak of last year that cost Enbridge hundreds of millions of dollars and huge negative publicity.  Seriously, don't you think than even a very evil oil company is going to try very hard to avoid that?

                    With all that said, that leak involved something like 800,000 gallons - compared to the 180,000,000 gallons (225X more!) that consumers deliberately "spill" each year.  

                    My point here is that sure Big Oil is evil - I have no problem with that characterization.  However, in reality they are a very small part of the overall problem . . ..

                    •  There's "pipelines" and then there's crude oil (7+ / 0-)

                      pipelines - pretty funny that that's one of TransCanada's talking points you used right there ;-)

                      So there's a crude oil pipeline going thru NYC's drinking water watershed? Who knew.

                      I understand the very, very, very large picture you're looking at. That doesn't detract from the fact that that very large picture is a sum of its parts, and this is one of those parts. If this issue can be raised to make pipelines safer and help start a wider conversation about energy policy in general, I say that's a good thing.

                      "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

                      by grannyhelen on Fri May 27, 2011 at 08:16:45 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  This is at least the second time you've claimed (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior

              that if we don't buy the tar sands oil, then the Chinese will. The Chinese will get oil from the tar sands in any case. By the end of this year Chinese investment in Canadian tar sands will be nearly $15 billion. So no matter, the Chinese will get their bitumen anyway.

              Opposition to a westbound pipeline in Canada has prevented one from being built to the Canadian west coast. Instead, it looks like some of the bitumen from the Keystone XL pipeline will be shipped to China.

              So stop already with the false  if-we-don't-use-it-the-Chinese-will argument.

              Next, you cheer the demise of the steel industry in this country as a good thing and then bemoan the loss of a few temporary construction jobs for the pipeline if it's not built.  Think maybe the demise of an entire industry cost this country a few more jobs than the number involved in a temporary construction project?

              Downthread you give numbers that show that the yearly discharge from deliberate and accidental small personal discharges dwarfs the Gulf disaster. That may be, but it ignores the fact that these are millions of small, separate discharges. While they are environmentally damaging they don't totally lay waste to a specific area as one pipeline rupture did in Michigan last year and a rupture of the Keystone XL over the Ogalalla aquifer certainly would.

              This pipeline won't do anything to lower fuel prices either. It will likely raise them in the midwest.

              DWG's diary is spot on.

              •  Umm, you post a link that basically (0+ / 0-)

                agrees with me about this:

                So stop already with the false  if-we-don't-use-it-the-Chinese-will argument.

                The only thing that remains to be decided is exactly how the proportions are divided up that go here versus going there.   And if not's brought here - jobs will be lost - there is no doubt about that.

                I'm a member of the American Chemical Society and have been for decades - every week they send out a newsletter detailing the number of jobs in Petrochemicals (i.e., the kinds that will be maintained in this country through refining the crappy oil that's coming down from Alberta) and the salaries involved

                Over the past 15 years that number has dropped by about 300,000 (to about 800,000).  And these are really high paid jobs - seriously, if 300,000 families go from being supported by a $100K job to $27K jobs at Walmart - that is not good for the economy no matter how much you try to minimize the impact.

                •  My links explain that China will get oil from the (0+ / 0-)

                  Canadian tar sands whether or not we use a glob of it. China will get its share regardless of what we do. The tar sands are an environmental disaster for Alberta and the rest of the world as well due to increased  greenhouse gas emissions, the destruction of the northern Alberta forests and the pollution of the Athabasca River.

                  Because the Chinese are willing to go this dirty route doesn't mean we should. It's insane to pipe this crap almost 2,000 miles and in the process put the largest reservoir of groundwater on the continent, the Ogalalla aquifer, at risk.

                  I'm a member of the National Farmers Union and have noted the serious decline in the number of farmers nationwide.  Hell, I've almost lost the farm a couple of times, so I can sympathize with the plight of the refinery workers.

                  But you state that 300,000 jobs have been lost in the petrochemical industry in the last 15 years. That's during a period of rising American oil imports, use, and refinement. What caused the loss of these jobs?

                  Are you seriously claiming that failure to build this pipeline would cause the loss of another 300,000 jobs in the petrochemical industry or have I misread your comment?  

                  •  The loss of jobs has taken place (0+ / 0-)

                    over 15 years, if you do the math, it's about 20,000 per year - no big deal, right?

                    The decline began big time after Bhopal, which was 25 years ago I believe,  since then no petrochemical facility worth more than $1 billion has been built in the USA (and may never again).  Partly this has been due to the general outsourcing craze and partly it is because large projects take long enough that opposition can mobilize and block them..

                    Well, the chickens started coming home to roost a decade or so after that moratorium - demand kept increasing, and couldnt' be met domestically.  So it when offshore - for example foreign companies (both US and European) have built tens of billions of dollars of facilities in Thailand that now acount for upwards of 10% of that country's GDP (up from about 0% not so long ago . . .).

                    So right now it appears that US refineries have unique capabilities for processing the output of the Alberta oilsands.   If this is not exploited - no matter what you say - China WILL take up the slack and a few thousand more high paid US jobs will bleed to SE Asian over the next several years.  

                    Essentially it's a death by a thousand small cuts scenario.

        •  Look Roadbed... we CAN make jobs in this country (15+ / 0-)

          WITHOUT destroying our water supplies.

          And the "job" creation of these filthy tar sands is a minuscule drop in the bucket.

          The benefits do NOT outweigh the total costs to society and the cleanup costs.

          Why in the hell advocated for the filthy tar sand excavation instead of the clean energy alternative energies like wind and solar?


          I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. --Emma Goldman

          by bronte17 on Fri May 27, 2011 at 07:22:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You know, for fuck's safe where am I (0+ / 0-)

            advocating for destroying water supplies? That's very bizarre.

            If you want to weaken industry in the USA and have it re-locate in China - sure, it's only a few thousands jobs here and a few more thousand there - who gives a fuck?  After all, we can all sell hamburgers to each other, right?

            That's not my major concern.  A much bigger issue is the health of the planet - if we keep the super-awful industry over here, we can at least regulate it to some extent.  Really, what do you think is worse for the planet - making X amount of steel in the USA or in China?

            •  That would be a great argument (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dirtfarmer, elwior

              if we could trust the conservatives to regulate it, but they will not.

              •  No matter how watered down our (0+ / 0-)

                regulations are through the malfeasance of the conservatives, they're still way better than what's going on in China.

                Really, even the Chinese government admits that 750,000 people die there each year from coal.  How embarrasing is that?   By contrast, the "generally agreed upon" figure for the USA ranges from 22-30K (although Wikipedia links to a study that says 500K . .. .).

            •  Not all steelmaking (5+ / 0-)

              creates a lot of pollution.

              Electric arc furnaces that can melt steel scrap for recycling have become more popular.  During the late 70's and early 80's, steel companies began building them in the red states, taking advantage of cheap, non-union labor.  As trends shifted they found it even cheaper to build new, more efficient furnaces and mills overseas, again to avoid unions and take advantage of cheaper labor.  The problem was magnified when China began dumping cheap steel in US markets.

              The steel industry can and has updated existing US facilities to manufacture steel, improving productivity, using more computer technology and reducing pollution.  Anti-dumping enforcement has resulted in renewed steel production in the US at arc furnaces and traditional mills.  Union contracts were renegotiated, owners updated mills and made them more efficient and cleaner.

              Its a myth that steel production had to be sent overseas because of environmental problems.  That really wasn't the case. It began when foreign countries talked them into building new electric furnaces overseas to take advantage of cheap labor, often subsidized by their governments.

               The US can and does produce steel without polluting the environment.  The US should always produce its own basic materials like steel, aluminum, etc. to protect its own economic security, instead of being reliant on foreign sources.  Haven't we learned that from our reliance on foreign oil?

              It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~ Aristotle

              by Betty Pinson on Fri May 27, 2011 at 02:02:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  In other words, BigOil deserves to charge (8+ / 0-)

      high domestic prices for gasoline, hurting families' abilities to buy other products and while receiving taxpayer subsidies from those same families, citing supply and demand, while exporting gasoline.  And the reason they deserve to is because BigOil International is helping the American economy?

      Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

      by deben on Fri May 27, 2011 at 07:25:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  it isn't necessarily a bad thing (6+ / 0-)

      but it does put the lie to the drill baby drill energy independence argument, plus an end to the argument that drilling more will drive down the price.  The markets want the price high to make tar sands oil economical, so it will remain high.

      Not being necessarily a bad thing doesn't take it off the list of things to be heavily scrutinized. We need to watch everything the oilcos or those associated with the oilcos do very carefully and we need to hold they and their stockholders accountable to the nth degree when their risky plans go awry.  Maybe if the costs are high enough, they won't take so many risks.

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Fri May 27, 2011 at 07:55:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The answer is simple (5+ / 0-)

      There is no job creation here. The refineries are not increasing their capacity as much as diverting existing capacity, which will have an impact on fuel costs here. Meanwhile, all of the external costs in emissions will be our problem.

      As for job creation associated with the pipeline, most will be short-term construction jobs. The materials will not be manufactured here.

      Be radical in your compassion.

      by DWG on Fri May 27, 2011 at 08:23:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  DWG - your poll is wrong (0+ / 0-)

        I know you can't change it but the label is not correct as you note in your diary. The USA exports NO oil, we are a big importer and do not export any crude oil. The head of the government's oil information agency was on CSPAN a few weeks ago and was very clear on this point.  I should wirte a diary on some of the information he provided during his CSPAN interview. What we do export is some refined products, but not oil.  

        Regarding the pipeline it should be approved or declined on its merits, the Kock brothers not withstanding. Kock is private and they have no requirement to disclose anything beyond what is required by federal or state laws and regulations. Why would they respond to a Dem inquiry when the Dems would use any information they provided against them?

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Fri May 27, 2011 at 09:10:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Kochs would not be secretive (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior

          with the truth if they believed disclosing the truth would make them money.

          Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

          by deben on Fri May 27, 2011 at 11:37:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  deben - as a private company (0+ / 0-)

            that is certainly Kock's prerogative. Public companies should take the same view, to not release any information that is not required by law or regulation unless it is in the best interests of their shareholders. However, public company disclosures are so detailed and transparent, and rightfully so, that this is rarely an issue. Public companies, with recognizable brand names, also have to factor in the PR costs and benefits, for both consumers and Congress, something that is less of an issue for a private company.

             

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Fri May 27, 2011 at 12:29:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Equating Koch Industries to other private (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elwior

              companies gives them all a bad name.  Nobody is more secretive than Koch.  They are not like other private companies, except Blackwater.  If they wish to run an oil pipe through our drinking water, they damn-well can make themselves available for questions.  Before the leaks happen, or they can take the bad publicity of being bad "citizens" who have much to hide and every other consequence we have available to defend ourselves.  Besides that, a pittance of their profits goes to corrupting our entire political system to the extent that I couldn't care less what Koch wants; I want the opposite.  Koch has plenty of astroturf, paid to make them look good.  A whole Teabagger Party full of them.  It's surprising to find a defender on DailyKos, even in principle.  Is there nothing better in the world to do than to spend a Friday afternoon putting lipstick on this pig of a company?

              Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

              by deben on Fri May 27, 2011 at 12:47:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  deben - do you know Kock's ownership? (0+ / 0-)

                My understanding is that the Kock's are not funding, nor will they own, this pipeline. However, I have spent little time trying to track down those facts and would be interested in seeing other information.

                My guess is that part of the information that the regulators have, as part of their approval process, is who is providing the financing, or other financial commitments, for the pipeline. I think that information should be public and available to Congress. However, as I stated in my first comment this pipeline should be approved, or declined, on its merits.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Fri May 27, 2011 at 12:55:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If a person doesn't know about Koch (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  elwior, chuckvw

                  and Canadian oil sands crude...

                  Obama’s bitterest political enemies already import and refine 25 percent of oil sands crude reaching the U.S., and stand to profit from an increased flow.

                  ...

                  What's been left out of the ferocious debate over the pipeline, however, is the prospect that if president Obama allows a permit for the Keystone XL to be granted, he would be handing a big victory and great financial opportunity to Charles and David Koch, his bitterest political enemies and among the most powerful opponents of his clean economy agenda.

                  A SolveClimate News analysis, based on publicly available records, shows that Koch Industries is already responsible for close to 25 percent of the oil sands crude that is imported into the United States, and is well-positioned to benefit from increasing Canadian oil imports.

                  http://www.reuters.com/...

                  We shouldn't question them?  Because they're "private?"  Koch's purchase of House Energy Committee members exceeds Exxon's:  22 bought Repugs, 5 bought Dems.  That's not a private company; that's a company that owns big chunks of our publicly elected government.  Plus they're proven liars.  I want full disclosure.  Shine all the sun we can into this stinking rats' nest.

                  Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

                  by deben on Fri May 27, 2011 at 01:24:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  deben - do we know about the pipeline? (0+ / 0-)

                    I understand that Koch has a big interest in the Canadian tar sands oil development project. My understanding is that processing oil from tar sands is a legal business in both the US and Canada. Most of us here don't like it because it has a heavy carbon footprint.

                    My question is about the ownership of the pipeline under consideration. Koch has claimed that they have no ownership interest in the pipeline. Do we have any information to suggest that they do? I would think that the ownership, and potential financing arrangements, would be an important part of the approval process to be certain that the owners have the deep pockets necessary to complete the pipeline. I would expect that the regulatory body that makes this decision would have that information and it should be available to Congress. That being said, the pipeline decision should have nothing to do with the involvement of the Koch brothers. It should rise and fall on its own merits, not who the owners might be.  The critical issues seem to be environment in nature and that is where the focus should be. I would be very uncomfortable if any administration made decisions on projects like this pipeline based on the involvement of political friends, or foes, it cuts both ways and is never proper.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Fri May 27, 2011 at 01:53:25 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      chuckvw
                      I would be very uncomfortable if any administration made decisions on projects like this pipeline based on the involvement of political friends, or foes...

                      Surely you remember the eight years of no-bid Bush/Cheney/Haliburton/Blackwater/Koch.  And if it were a matter of slapping the wrist of an imp, I'd agree.  However, we are dealing with a monster and no wrist slap affects it.  Do you have the slightest idea of the activities of Koch Industries and the Koch brothers?  I really don't know where this concern for their well-being is coming from.  Do you have similar affection for Blackwater and Halliburton?  Can you fill me in on where you stand on big, rotten companies in general?

                      Insisting on knowing if Koch would be owner of the pipeline, but then in the same paragraph later not caring whether they are or not is frankly tiresome.  That wasn't Waxman's question anyway.  It was whether Koch would benefit from the pipeline.  Yes, I do want to know the companies and corporations who will benefit.  I want to know their track records on jobs, safety, the environment, obeying our laws, paying their taxes, and most especially on how much they have corrupted the committee overseeing them.  Corruption should be the primary issue, because the worse the corruption, the worse the violations of morals and law that ensue.

                      Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

                      by deben on Fri May 27, 2011 at 02:15:14 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  deben, I was equally offended by Bush (0+ / 0-)

                        I was very offended by no-bid contracts to Bush and Chaney's buddies, it was wrong. I think Waxman is headed down the same wrong track, making decisions based on politics. We should be interested in developing policies that require the type of environmental and labor practices and safeguards we seek, and make that part of approving the pipeline (if the pipeline is worth approving at all). There seems to be an opportunity to take the high ground here and set out the requirements for the pipeline that improve important standards. That is an important and legitimate function of government. A focus who might be a customer taints the process and makes it seem that the decision might be made, in part, on the basis of politics. That is wrong. The fact that Bush and Cheney did it does not make it right for us. If the Koch brothers are breaking regulations and laws in their current projects, throw the book at them. Waxman wants to get in a mud fight when there is a chance here to take the high ground.

                        "let's talk about that"

                        by VClib on Fri May 27, 2011 at 02:36:10 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  When Truman found dirty defense contractors (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          chuckvw

                          profiting from taxpayers during WWII, he went after them hard and in particular.  It has never been a matter of just firming up regulations when we've had companies this huge and corrupt writing their own laws and sending them to Congress for approval.  Koch is a dirty player.  They don't belong among decent people.  Doing the right thing is not about being even handed to those who are under our laws and those who consider themselves above them.  It is leveling the field by breaking the backs of those dominating our government.

                          The Constitution, Article I, Section 8.  The enumerated powers:  "The Congress shall have power... to regulate commerce."

                          It is the original intent of the founders.  Koch has no intention of letting Congress regulate them.  They have already bribed most of the committee.  It's like trying to convict a mobster who has threatened the judge and corrupted the jury.

                          I still fail to follow your attitude on big corporations in general.  How about giant health insurance companies?   The handful of banks that are "too big to fail?"  Good?  Bad?  Trying to figure out where you're coming from?  Are all huge businesses worth bailing out, worth protecting, worth honoring?

                          Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

                          by deben on Fri May 27, 2011 at 03:00:24 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  deben - some big companies are good (0+ / 0-)

                            others are not. I don't view size, by itself, to be evil. I also think that for the most part all companies, large and small, should be subject to the same rules, regulations, and laws. I have spent the last 25 years starting companies, often just helping a single person with an idea, and understand the competitive advantage large companies have in our economy. However, my view is that if companies are breaking laws, or regulations, we should pursue and prosecute them. I don't believe in extra-legal pursuit of any company because of their political affiliation or beliefs. I think that is wrong.

                            "let's talk about that"

                            by VClib on Fri May 27, 2011 at 04:40:14 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't agree with extra-legal pursuit either, (0+ / 0-)

                            nor do I agree to milquetoast caving.  There is nothing illegal about Congressman's Waxman's request.  Nor is it improper for citizens to express the opinion that Koch needs to inform us of its activities which affect our lives.  Nor is regulation by Congress illegal.  On the contrary, we expect Congress to protect our interests, to make and uphold laws, protect our environment, maintain their own integrity.  My interests are being stifled by huge companies who are pouring money into our system and bribing my own Representatives.  Koch is one of the very worst.  Only government can possibly stop it now and they know it.

                            We have just dumped our Teasury into the open maws of giant corporations too big to fail, meanwhile dinky companies like mine are suffering through this catastrophe.  Why are companies too big to fail allowed to exist?  Is there a even single one you can name which should not?

                            Why is this difficult to communicate?

                            You help start companies.  I have my own.  Believe me, it is not Koch Industries.  Did you help form a Koch?  I thought not.

                            But an apologist for the most rancid, giant leach on our country:  Koch.  Live and let live.  Complacent.  Chamberlain waving the little piece of paper.  Meanwhile the US House falls all over itself in outrage whenever any brave Dem dares to challenge BigAnythingInternational.  And the US Senate is paralyzed with a rotating list of key Senators owned for every issue.  I get no sense that you comprehend what we're up against.  Truly baffling.  Truly.

                            Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

                            by deben on Fri May 27, 2011 at 05:23:55 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  deben - some thoughts (0+ / 0-)

                            I never suggested that Congressman Waxman's request to the Koch brothers was illegal, I just don't know the regulations well enough to know if he, or anyone else in Congress, has the authority to require the disclosure he is requesting.  I also believe that it is appropriate for Congress to pass laws and regulate commerce and that those acts of Congress should be enforced. I also think it is highly proper for you, and anyone else, to state in the strongest terms here, and in any other forum, your opposition to Koch and everything they stand for.  What I don't believe in is a broad statement that big is bad. I think each situation has its own set of facts and should be judged on a case by case basis. I think the Koch brothers are radicals, but I do not believe that a decision on this pipeline should be decided on the basis that they may be a customer.

                            And no I have never started a Koch.  Most of the companies I help to start are acquired before the reach 1,000 employees and often less than 100. In better times the really successful ones would go public and be able to mature some more before they were acquired. The largest startup that I was involved with is still independent, and public, at one time had as many as 10,000 employees but the recession cut that in half.

                            "let's talk about that"

                            by VClib on Fri May 27, 2011 at 06:02:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  OK, I've asked repeatedly whether (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            VClib

                            there is any too-big-to-fail company, any company or corporation so corrupting to our system that you believe it should not exist.  Clearly Koch doesn't bother you to that degree.  I've been clear that the question wasn't a request for abstract thoughts on bigness.  I asked simply for a name.

                            Without getting that simple answer to a simple question, I'll say good night; but thanks for the discussion.

                            Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

                            by deben on Fri May 27, 2011 at 06:39:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

  •  Here is a juicy little tidbit of news (26+ / 0-)

    T. Boone Pickens on CNBC this morning highlighted Charles Koch as being a hypocrite.

    That's right. The two energy billionaires are having a little cat fight.

     What is there disagreement? Tax Subsidies

     Pickens wants the Govt to jump start a fleet of 18 Wheelers that run on clean fuel. Koch is complaining that Pickens Plan doesn't depend on market forces. The dirty little secret is however, that Koch is the beneficiary of ethanol subsidies, which makes Koch a big fat hypocrite.

    ~a little change goes a long way~

    by missliberties on Fri May 27, 2011 at 07:03:13 AM PDT

  •  Great diary! (9+ / 0-)

    Wish I had more to add than a tip and rec.

    "But much to my surprise when I opened my eyes I was the victim of the great compromise." John Prine

    by high uintas on Fri May 27, 2011 at 07:17:11 AM PDT

  •  with two big spills in the last year in my state (18+ / 0-)

    both tar sands oil pipeline related, this bears close scrutiny even without koch involvement.  Having those slimeballs involved in it, even to the limited extent that they may be (who really knows, since they won't say), makes it all the more important to place a huge magnifying glass on the project.  

    Plus it makes publicans' oily heads explode, so it's a good thing.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Fri May 27, 2011 at 07:48:35 AM PDT

  •  Maximizing Profit$ = Recipe for Disaster (5+ / 0-)

    Faulty Welds

    Corrupt Quality Control

    Inferior Grade Steel Pipe

    Poor-Trained Workers

    Horrendous Mismanagement

    LEAK LEAK LEAK LEAK LEAK LEAK LEAK LEAK LEAK LEAK

  •  Whenever a Republican claims (8+ / 0-)

    something should be done because it's "common sense", you know that whatever they want to do a) doesn't make sense if you look at the details, or b) will result in either themselves or their backers making a truckload of money.

    Upton comes from old money--he's an heir to the Whirlpool fortune--so we know where his sympathies lie, and it's not with the average citizen.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Fri May 27, 2011 at 08:44:31 AM PDT

  •  Loud SNORING Sound>>>>>> (0+ / 0-)

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRIIINNNGGG!

    Waxman, eh? the same toothless guy who (sort of) went after bush crony corporations who walked away with millions of our tax dollars from their Iraq no-bid/no actual work performed "contracts"?

    ZERO was the result of that effort... and ZERO will be the result this time.

    "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

    by Superpole on Fri May 27, 2011 at 09:39:33 AM PDT

  •  Oil theft (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirtfarmer, marina, Betty Pinson, elwior

    The oil industry seems to have lots of ways to steal for profit.

    There's this 2000 60 Minutes feature about the Kochs, Blood and Oil. They settled a lawsuit brought by another Koch brother in 2000.

    In May, 2001, Bill Koch and Koch Industries announced a legal settlement of all their disputes, effectively putting an end to the two-decade family feud. The settlement calls for Koch Industries to pay $25 million in penalties to the U.S. government for improperly taking more oil than it paid for from federal and Indian lands. About a third of it goes to Bill Koch or bringing the lawsuit.

    Koch industries has faced other troubles with the government since the original broadcast in November. In April, Koch’s Petroleum Group was fined 20 million dollars after it released huge amounts of cancer-causing benzene from a Texas refinery and then tried to cover it up.

    So yes I do worry that Koch Industries, might be the major beneficiary of this pipeline. Since they have a history of "improper profits".

    More recently, small Texas energy brokers have another method: Stolen Oil: A Gusher of Cash for Mexican Drug Cartels. At least 5 Texas companies involved, knowingly or not, so far.

    Golly, you might begin to think all oil/energy companies are crooks of various sizes.

  •  Sometimes, when I consider the "The Koch Brothers" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WheninRome, elwior

    I sort of wish I could believe in hell.

    You know. A miserable torturous place of unending anguish. Where evil people go. Forever.

    An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Fri May 27, 2011 at 10:05:53 AM PDT

  •  Probably because we have the catylitic converters (0+ / 0-)

    That breakdown the long chain hydrocarbon molecules in thicker crude, that can then be sent to a refinery.

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Fri May 27, 2011 at 11:16:44 AM PDT

  •  Same with gas drilling (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grannyhelen, elwior, chuckvw

    Some of the Marcellus Shale gas will go to China.  

    I don't begrudge other countries having access to fuels, but at what cost to our land, air, and water?   Shouldn't we be setting a better example?  

    I understand Obama has ordered that new government cars be electric.  It's a start.

  •  I will answer. (0+ / 0-)

    Yes. tar sand oil pipeline will benefit Koch Industries. And that is the extent of the benefit. Also people who hate themselves, and the world. they will benefit. People who like to watch how humanity is eating itself a live. Them too

    A pipe shifted half an inch to the left. A coil rewound itself and began spinning in a counter direction. A piston that had been thrusting left-right, left-right, for millennia suddenly thrust right-left. Nothing broke, but everything changed.

    by kamrom on Fri May 27, 2011 at 02:44:23 PM PDT

  •  This brings the lie to the "drill (0+ / 0-)

    baby drill" mantra. And it shows how KELO was a very bad decision. I can see eminent domain for the common good, as in maybe we allow the pipeline for our own consumption. Refining is limited and also a national security issue. If the pipeline were to ensure the strategic reserves, sell excess to US consumers or allow a further excess [not likely] to close ins like Mexico I might be able to get behind it, IF quality control on the construction and maintenance of the pipeline were strictly enforced.

    According to my calculator, that's approximately $840 BBL/YR in refined product we're playing with, right now. And that means 840M BBL of refining capacity.

    I think if this were more widely known, people would be angry. Even FAUXers.

  •  Can't Bobby Rush share the headline with Waxman? (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for this anyway!

  •  Chevron just had shareholder meeting and there was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, dirtfarmer

    concern about the heavy crude coming to Richmond, Ca for refining; Canadian representatives of first nation communities directly impacted by the tar sands processing were here in the Bay Area to ask us to stop this pipeline.

    Big institutional owners and Chevron insiders voted against the resolution, and prevented its passing. Tar sands extracts leave tailing ponds full of cancer causing chemicals so big they can be seen from space.

    The documentary White Water, Black Gold — U.S. Premiere! Everyone knows that oil and water don't mix, except apparently the huge corporations whose mad frenzy to extract oil from Canada's vast tar sands threatens one of the world's largest freshwater supplies. In a nature documentary worthy of the Discovery Channel, professional mountaineering guide, "accidental activist", and first-time filmmaker David Lavallee spent three years gathering stunning footage of the majestic snow-covered peaks, pristine rivers, and indigenous communities whose short-term health and long-term survival are under threat by the corporate assault on North America's last unspoiled frontier and great natural reservoir.

    Directed by David Lavallee. Screening Saturday, May 21, at 9:00pm. Post-screening Q&A with Michael Marx of Corporate Ethics International, which describes the issue as "the most destructive energy project on earth" and "the poster child for why the U.S. needs to end its addiction to oil".  

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