Keystone Pipeline study: We must kill the environment to save it

Brought to you by the corporate lobbyists of Big Oil, the new US State Department “draft” environmental impact study on the Keystone Pipeline shrugs its shoulders and says “it’s awful but what else can we do?”

The report concluded that the Canadian synthetic crude oil the pipeline is slated to transport into the U.S. produces 17 percent more greenhouse gases than natural crude oil already refined here. In addition, it said the construction phase of the project would result in carbon dioxide emissions equiavalent to about 626,000 passenger vehicles operating for a full year.

As our own Gaius Publius wrote on AMERICAblog in 2011, the Koch brothers will be the big winners with this eventual cave-in by Obama.

Well, there’s a surprise. Obama’s worst enemy, and the climate’s as well, the ever-famous Koch Brothers and Koch Industries, are positioned to be big winners if (when) the Keystone Tar Sands pipeline is approved.

Think about it this way — that pipeline isn’t carrying toxic sludge through two provinces and 12 states to Texas. It’s carrying money into the dirty pockets of two of the most power-mad, driven billionaires on the planet. (Did I mention that their daddy was a John Birch Society founder?)

The Koch Brothers are deep into the Tar Sands project, and will be huge beneficiaries of the Keystone XL Pipeline. They own sludge-oil (called “heavy oil” by insiders), refineries, even regional pipelines for distribution.

Why the Obama administration feels the need to give in so many times to people who both hate him and hate America is a question that needs to be answered.

The pipeline certainly won’t benefit Americans in the long run, since it will speed up climate change and cause more health-related problems due to pollution. But it’s just a hiccup, right? Who really cares if more people get sick when there are profits to be had!

Oil sands, tar sands, in Alberta, Canada - Keystone Pipeline

Oil sands in Alberta, via Shutterstock

The decision to press forward with this polluting pipeline has been predicted for years, though the administration has been touchy about it all along. They know that it’s highly unpopular with anyone who cares about climate change and the environment, also known as the Democratic base.

It’s nothing but excuses from both Obama and the Republicans in favor of the Keystone pipeline. The Republicans, to their credit, at least don’t try and hide from the fact that they want the pipeline. The White House plays the game of pretending as though they’re not really in favor of it, but then they don’t really do much to stop it.

Then there’s this:

Construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline would create “numerous” and “substantial” impacts on the environment, the State Department said Friday in a draft environmental impact statement. But the project is a better bet than any of the alternatives, it said in essentially clearing the project to go ahead.

If the US were dumping as much money into alternative energies as they do into propping up Big Oil, it would be easier to say that they tried to address environmental issues in a serious way, but that doesn’t happen.  It’s false to say that there are no alternatives to the Keystone Pipeline since we’ve never really had a serious effort to try other alternatives.

Other countries pump money into tidal energy, and solar (as we see with Germany), but the US continues to let Big Oil make the rules. And Big Oil only cares about profits.

Sorry Washington, but this doesn’t cut it.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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