Alan Grayson: Keystone Pipeline gives China energy independence, and us next to nothing

This is such a strong piece about Keystone that I can’t resist posting it all. It’s from Alan Grayson (an excellent writer, by the way) and sent to his mailing list.

Grayson explains in trademark prose all you need to know about the Keystone XL pipeline. It’s not about you. It’s not for you. You won’t see a dime from it. The bigs are just trying to make you the sucker to help them get bigger — and make your land and water the Brawny paper towel that wipes up their spills on your taxpayer dime.

Rep. Grayson on Keystone and Chinese energy independence. Please read through; it’s excellent (my emphasis):

Forty-one years ago, when I used to get up at 5 a.m. to get on gas station lines with my parents, I started hearing about “energy independence” – a secure source of supply for our energy needs. Today, energy independence soon will be a reality.

For China. Thanks to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Q. Cui bono? (“Who benefits?”) A. China.

Marchers take part in the Forward on Climate rally on February 17, 2013 in Washington DC, the largest climate rally in U.S. history. Rena Schild /

Marchers take part in the Forward on Climate rally on February 17, 2013 in Washington DC, the largest climate rally in U.S. history.
Rena Schild /

The Chinese economy consists of taking raw materials and energy, making that into stuff, and then selling that stuff – a/k/a “manufacturing.” Chinese leaders understand that in order for that model to work, China needs steady supplies of raw materials and energy. [But] how do you get a steady supply of energy, in a world where those supplies are dominated by a cartel, and are concentrated in a part of the world prone to war? In America, we’ve been trying to puzzle that out for four decades, without success.

Well, the Chinese have figured it out. They’re going to get their energy from Canada, a stable country, and pass it through the United States, another stable country. They will pay the Canadians the world price for oil. They will pay us nothing, or next to nothing. So Uncle Sam is Uncle Sucker.

And not for the first time. For the past decade, China has pursued an utterly unscrupulous and incredibly successful strategy in “trade” with the United States. China has been importing from the United States roughly $50 billion in goods each year, much of it food, raw materials and energy. China has been exporting to the United States roughly $350 billion in goods each year, mostly manufactured goods. And China has been buying roughly $300 billion in U.S. assets each year, mostly U.S. Treasuries. So we buy their stuff, putting their people to work. And they buy our assets, driving us deeper and deeper into debt. America loses – twice.

Now China has peeled off a tiny portion of that trade surplus, just $30 billion, and audaciously is trying to parlay that into permanent energy independence. China has put that money into Canadian tar sands.

Canadian tar sands are easily one of the dirtiest energy sources on Planet Earth. Does China care? No. As Deng Xiaoping used to say, “it doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” China’s leaders are so indifferent to environmental concerns that they have no problem with 8-year-olds in Beijing contracting lung cancer from pollution – but they get upset when the U.S. Embassy in Beijing puts an air quality monitor on the roof, and posts the readings on the internet. Canadian tar sands are a very, very black cat, but China’s leaders care only about catching mice.

Chinese leaders have seized key elements of the world industrial supply chain, like rare earths. According to our government, they engage in pervasive industrial espionage. They have threatened American companies like Apple, Google and Walmart. In short, they know how to play the game.

All of the oil that passes through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline has to be sold in the United States. Why not the same rule for the Keystone XL Pipeline? But instead, we allow a tax-free zone, to facilitate Chinese energy independence at the expense of our own. Why does Uncle Sam have to be Uncle Sucker?

There are plenty of reasons to be against the Keystone XL pipeline. Environmentalists recognize it as the ultimate “bonfire of the vanities” – planet-wide carbon bonfires. The pipeline passes through an active earthquake zone. One bad spill could permanently poison the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water to millions of people, and 30% of our irrigation.
Here is another reason, perhaps the best reason of all: It doesn’t do us any good. China, yes. The Koch Brothers (who own the refining capacity that would be used), yes. Us, no.

When are we finally going to have a government with the courage to ask that simple question: Does it do us any good? Cui bono?


Rep. Alan Grayson

Just three things to add:

The Ogallala Aquifer, drinking water to millions and 30% of our irrigation

The “Keystone ready” Ogallala Aquifer

1. No one who supports Keystone supports America as a nation or America’s national interest, and that means you, Mr. or Ms. (ex-) Secretary of State.

When elites support it, they’re simply supporting their own next job with the even-more-elite, the Koch-fueled and Exxon-perfumed. Read again what Grayson says about America not seeing a drop of “our” oil unless our government insists it be sold here. Think “our” government will do that?

2. About the “Brawny” point I made above — this is the Ogallala Aquifer on the right, the paper towel that will mop up those Keystone asphalt spills. If Mr. and Ms. Heartland don’t care now, they certainly will when it’s too late and the drinking water runs brown and arsenical.

Did you know that the Koch Bros own Brawny paper towels? Worth remembering. Click to see what other household products they own. [Link fixed.]

3. Alan Grayson is leading a group in the House that is standing up to the neoliberal privatizing branch of his own party, its President, its leaders, and doing it for us. The Kochs have him marked for defeat and they’re spending a ton to do it.

Care to keep him in officeHe sure could use your help.




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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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