Since 2011, we have been inundated by special interests in the field of Oil and Gas to construct a pipeline to transmit Canadian Oil Sands from Montana to Louisiana. Due to the route chosen for the pipeline, President Obama has delayed approval of the pipeline in order to satisfy environmental concerns. And that was when political opposition took to the airwaves in support of the oil and gas industry...just as elections were around the corner and obvious campaign pay days were being had. GOP Candidate Mitt Romney raised the pipeline matter as a "national priority" to ensure our independence from foreign oil and a sure fire way to lower gas prices. In January, 2012, Romney said "By declaring that the Keystone pipeline is not in the 'national interest,' the president demonstrates a lack of seriousness about bringing down unemployment, restoring economic growth, and achieving energy independence." On April 20, 2012, he went on to add "I will build the Keystone Pipeline, even if I have to build it myself!" On October 8, 2012, GOP Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan stated he was in favor of building the pipeline because "We need to unlock the energy we have in this country to create jobs." Got it so far? According to GOP opposition, President Obama's reluctance to give a complete "green light" to the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline is not because of any real downside to America, but because he does not care about energy independence or is too weak to stand up to the environmental lobby. But what have we learned about the Keystone Pipeline?
We have learned that TransCanada, the owner of the pipeline closed down sections of the line in Canada because of serious break downs leading to damaging spills of tar sands. We also were formally informed that none of the resulting petroleum refined in the United States was to be delivered for consumption for the American market, and instead is intended solely to be exported by TransCanada to Asian markets. So what would happen to the "massive number" of construction jobs the pipeline would create? They would terminate once the construction is completed. So the oil produced from the transported Canadian tar sands would not be for consumption in the U.S. market. And the jobs produced? They would be temporary. But what would the effects be of a break in the pipeline be? Seems many have forgotten the environmental disaster caused by British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon! Wouldn't effects of an oil spill from the Keystone Pipeline be a bit more permanent than the temporary benefits touted and exaggerated by GOP candidates and their ideologically supporting For Profit Media? Come on Rubin, the Keystone Pipeline would be "state of the art" and we can trust the oil companies to make sure they safely transport oil forever. Really? Can we?
Have folks been paying attention to an event that just occurred in Mayflower, Arkansas a little over a week ago? Seems ExxonMobil's 65 year old Pegasus pipeline had a slight problem...it literally fell apart under the small town, leading to a massive spill of tar sand oil in the range of "tens of thousands of barrels of crude" that has reached Lake Conway. According to various reports, many living in the affected neighborhoods in Mayflower were never told their homes were built over the pipeline. It also has come to light that ExxonMobil may not have been inspecting the Pegasus line on a regular basis, as required by the E.P.A. Starting to see where I am heading now? Wasn't it supposed to be all about "job killing regulations" from the Environmental Protection Agency? Do you recall GOP Primary Candidates calling last Spring for the total elimination of the E.P.A.? Just recently, GOP Senators Marco Rubio (FL) and Rand Paul (KY) have come out to De-fund the EPA from enforcing existing regulations. After all, who needs these regulations when we need oil related jobs while whistling "Drill, baby drill?" And now there are reports that some residents of Mayflower may never be able to return to their homes!
So where are those special interest groups today demanding the president "green light" the Keystone Pipeline? Where are those slamming Obama claiming like Romney that environmental concerns must be outweighed by economic ones? Just waiting for Americans attention to slip away just like it always does. But you can guess the residents of Mayflower, Arkansas will not be forgetting anytime soon.
It should be noted then that on the issue of protecting the environment, Theodore Roosevelt once wrote; “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resoures, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” Isn't it time to be honest about who lobbies for favors in Washington and who has been bought and paid for by them on both sides of the political aisle? As
another Republican President Herbert Hoover once said; "The trouble with capitalism is capitalists; they're too damn greedy!"