Keystone XL southern leg begins operation. Hold Obama responsible for toxic spills.

Another news item. We’ve been following tar-sands stories, and the Keystone pipeline in particular.

As of now, the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline is operational.

There are a lot of ways to present this news, but CREDO has a good take. Via their email list:

The southern leg of Keystone XL begins operation today. Share this graphic to hold Pres. Obama accountable, and urge him to reject the northern part of Keystone XL.

Almost two years ago, President Obama stood in TransCanada’s pipe yard in Cushing, Oklahoma, to boast about expanding U.S. oil production, and proudly announce that he would fast-track approval of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, to transport tar sands crude from Cushing to the Gulf Coast.1

Today, KXL south is scheduled to begin operation. Now, this is President Obama’s tar sands pipeline. He owns its approval, and all its future spills.

The approval of the northern section of Keystone XL, which crosses the Canadian border, still hangs in the balance. And today is a powerful reminder that we can’t count on the president to stand up to big oil and reject the pipeline unless we pressure him to do so. …

Unfortunately, there was little we could do at the national level to stop the president from approving KXL south. But we are extremely grateful to the landowners who carry on legal challenges against this pipeline, the brave blockaders in Texas and Oklahoma who literally withstood police brutality and intimidation to do everything in their power to stop construction for days or weeks at a time, and the citizens of the Texas Pipeline Watch who will now monitor this new pipeline for leaks.

Unlike the southern leg, the cross-border section of Keystone XL must go through Secretary Kerry at the State Department, and the final decision belongs to President Obama and no one else.

This is the moment to call out President Obama’s mistake of fast-tracking Keystone XL south. We simply cannot afford another misstep on climate by this White House.

CREDO offers this shareable Facebook link — and this handy graphic:


All you need to know:

The main point of the Keystone pipeline is to take Canadian bitumen (poisonous, heavy carbon-rich tar-sands extract), owned by a Canadian company (which may or may not have Chinese partners; stay tuned), from Canada to the Gulf Coast, so it can be refined and shipped to Asia, which means, in part at least, to China. China is a carbon-hungry beast. The atmosphere is a trash can for the Chinese.

What’s the U.S. involvement with Keystone and tar sand products?

Tar-sand oil is not “our” oil; it’s Canadian tar that passes through seized U.S. land to China.
Canadian tar has to pass through our land or British Columbia to get to the tankers.
Every tar-sand pipeline endangers the environment.
Keystone enriches people like David Koch, so that’s a plus.
Keystone needs the approval of cash-hungry U.S. politicians.
We have plenty of cash-hungry politicians.

Other than that U.S. involvement, it’s an entirely Canada-China transaction. Our politicians are just the enablers, their voters the poor folks who will live with the mess while those they voted for cash their checks and go on legacy tours.

Like I said, just news. For more, read “How Obama threw the South under the bus for the Keystone pipeline.” Nice piece.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

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

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36 Responses to “Keystone XL southern leg begins operation. Hold Obama responsible for toxic spills.”

  1. Michael Hannon says:

    Obama’s legacy – talking the talk, not walking the walk. He’s a phony puppet of the military/indistrial/energy complex.

  2. karmanot says:

    Twinkies, cockroaches and rodents will survive. The latter will still call themselves Republicans.

  3. Eyeball_Kid says:

    Oh. You must be alluding to Obama as a corporatist! Now there’s a revelation!

  4. Eyeball_Kid says:

    … a bonanza for the Koch Brothers. Way to go, Barack.

  5. pappyvet says:

    I do not worry about the survival of the planet, It will go on , life will rise up. As for the humans. Well, that’s another question.

  6. BloggerDave says:

    How can you hold anyone accountable when you’re anonymous..?

  7. Ford Prefect says:

    Personally, Groucho explains much of what is wrong, eh? Unemployment too high? Then give rich people more free money to play with!

  8. perljammer says:

    Otto von Bismarck said, “Politics is the art of the possible.” Groucho Marx said, ” Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” The motto of the current administration appears to be, “Politics is the art of the convenient.”

  9. Ford Prefect says:

    Indeed. To be clear, I meant to say his speech was probably intended as mis-direction against his own commission’s report. He’d obviously prefer people take his position, rather than the one taken by his own appointees.

  10. Ford Prefect says:

    My snark has to do with the fact that our culture of deregulation necessarily causes grave injuries to a great many people. The rail industry has been a flagrant violator of safety regs for decades now. Lines aren’t properly maintained and the trains themselves have become more dangerous just as we’re vastly increasing tonnage of toxics on them. (They’ve cut way back on personnel with safety-related jobs, because DOT let them.)

    Sure, there will be a meeting, where DOT reps will babble on about private-public partnerships and “partnering” to slightly better safety, as long as it doesn’t impinge on profits. Pick an area involving the public health and/or safety and you’ll find massive deregulation. If the regs themselves aren’t gutted, they’ll just fire the inspectors, like the USDA firing half of its poultry inspectors the year Obama took office. The result of that move? A big increase in deaths from food-borne illnesses, but at least profits are up.

    That is the way this administration operates. See also Freedom Industries, whose facilities haven’t been inspected since the Poppy Bush Administration (1991). It predates the Obama Administration, but it’s not like they’ve bother to inspect them either. Not OSHA, not EPA.

  11. Ford Prefect says:

    Works for me!

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  13. perljammer says:

    President Obama may have thought he could emulate Reagan’s methods, but he hasn’t even come close. There is a huge difference between using televised speeches to put pressure on Congress, and using televised speeches to whine about Congress. Using television to pressure Congress requires the speaker to inspire and motivate the masses. Whatever you may think of Reagan’s policies, he was a master at swaying public opinion. Our current President is much to effete and aloof for that.

  14. lynchie says:

    That’s President Gas Bag to you

  15. perljammer says:

    Given the subject of Gaius’ original post, it’s a bit ironic that the article you link to actually presents an argument in favor of more pipelines: “The increase [in spills] noted last year is due to the fact delivering oil by rail has become a much more popular choice of transport as pipeline capacity has been unable to keep pace with the increases in oil production during the North American shale boom.” The article doesn’t mention the effects of any purported deregulation, so what was your “Yay for deregulation” about? It’s a serious question, by the way; if there is some indication that deregulation of the railroad industry has led to an increase in railroad-related oil spills, I’d like to know about it.

    The article also says that Federal regulators are meeting with reps from the oil and railroad industries to discuss changes to the way oil is transported.

  16. Drew2u says:

    Didn’t watch the speech when it came on, I knew nothing good (nothing of notable progress for the average american citizen’s freedom) would come from it, but this article not only makes the point that the minimal cases that were attributed to the Spying Program would’ve still have been solved via other existing laws, but the collection of data infringes on an individual’s Freedom of Speech.
    I must say, after reading the article I did a, “FUCK YEAH! FINALLY!”

  17. Ford Prefect says:

    This probably explains Obama’s nauseating intro to his pro-spying speech. Shorter version: Spying is good because Paul Revere!

  18. Ford Prefect says:

    Every account I’ve read suggests that Obama was and still is very much a Reagan Democrat. And given the fact RR’s administration was rife with corruption not limited to Iran-Contra and so forth, for anyone to claim RR as their “favorite president” in US history is a pretty big tell.

    If anything, BO is far to the Right of Reagan, so there’s that as well.

  19. Drew2u says:

    Speaking of the Obama Legacy:

    Independent review board says NSA phone data program is illegal and should end
    By Ellen Nakashima,
    Published: January 22 |
    Updated: Thursday, January 23, 11:28 AM

    An independent executive branch board has concluded that the National Security Agency’s long-running program to collect billions of Americans’ phone records is illegal and should end.

    In a strongly worded report to be issued Thursday, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) said that the statute upon which the program was based, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, “does not provide an adequate basis to support this program.”
    The divided panel also concluded that the program raises serious threats to civil liberties, has shown limited value in countering terrorism and is not sustainable from a policy perspective.

    “We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the telephone records program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “Moreover, we are aware of no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack.”

    The report concluded that the NSA collection raises “constitutional concerns’’ with regard to U.S. citizens’ rights of speech, association and privacy. “The connections revealed by the extensive database of telephone records gathered under the program will necessarily include relationships established among individuals and groups for political, religious, and other expressive purposes,’’ it said. “Compelled disclosure to the government of information revealing these associations can have a chilling effect on the exercise of First Amendment rights.”

    “The Board believes that the Section 215 program has contributed only minimal value in combating terrorism beyond what the government already achieves through these and other alternative means,” the report said. “Cessation of the program would eliminate the privacy and civil liberties concerns associated with bulk collection without unduly hampering the government’s efforts, while ensuring that any governmental requests for telephone calling records are tailored to the needs of
    specific investigations.”

  20. Ford Prefect says:

    Obama also owns this bit of awesomeness:

    A new analysis of data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has shown that more crude oil was spilled in US rail incidents last year than during the previous 37 years, since the federal government began to collect data on rail spills.

    The data suggests that in 2013 more than 1.15 million gallons of crude oil was spilled from rail cars. This includes the major derailment in Aliceville, Alabama on the 8th of November when 748,800 gallons spilt as the train derailed in a swampy area and burst into flames, but not yet the derailment in Casselton, North Dakota 30th of December, for which the PHMSA have yet to receive data, although it is estimated to be in the region of 400,000 gallons. Nor does this figure include spills that occurred in Canada, where the 6th of July derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec spilled an estimated 1.5 million plus gallons of crude oil.

    Apparently, no one at DOT is minding the store. Yay for deregulation!

    Since BO has won his last election evar, I don’t see how he can be pressured. It’s not like he’s ever been terribly concerned with public opinion. That said, there’s no reason we can’t dub him The Toxic President or President Gas, for those who manage to survive our dystopian nightmare of a future.

  21. nicho says:

    But it’s amazing how much his policies — and not necessarily his process — emulate Reagan/

  22. BeccaM says:

    The Human Race: Fouling its nest until there is no more nest left to foul

  23. BeccaM says:

    Fascinating how the legal wrangling in VA is playing out exactly as it did at the federal level. Attorney General sides with law being unconstitutional. GOPers howl and promise to spend money through the legislature to defend it. And the Republicans further complain the action is ‘unprecedented’ (once again proving they don’t really comprehend what that word means and/or having no memory of what the former AG did during his tenure in office).

    I hope the challenge succeeds. Virginia in ’06 was one of the first states to pass the ultra-strict anti-marriage measures which not only banned same-sex marriage recognition, but also domestic partnerships and any legal arrangement between two same-sex adults giving ‘marriage-like’ rights.

    That last bit, which would later be cited in more than a few cases where anti-gay family members ignored wills and medical directives to cut out a long-time spouse of a gay person, made Virginia the first state in America my wife and I no longer felt safe ever to travel to or through.

  24. karmanot says:

    Good news! Virginia has turned on a dime.

  25. Houndentenor says:

    His comments about Reagan concerned HOW he was able to get things done, not what those things were. Reagan passed his agenda through a Democratically controlled House and used regular tv speeches to put pressure on Congress to enact laws he wanted. That’s what Obama said he admired about Reagan. I think he thought he could duplicate that method. He was wrong because while the Democrats were willing to compromise on some things in the 80s, the modern GOP would rather let the whole country go down in flames than give an inch.

  26. Silver_Witch says:

    Double, triple upvote!

  27. karmanot says:


  28. lynchie says:

    Sorry to disagree but I don’t think he ever had good intentions. We really knew little about him and what he believed. Early on as senator he used Lieberman as a mentor and spoke openly about his respect for Regan and what he had done. We are well past the point where you can believe anything a politician says. You must judge on actions and he is well to the right of Regan. He of the grand anthem speech that are never followed up with action. He still has not openly done anything to help the left. He is a chameleon and we on the left were so thirsty for someone sounding progressive that we let him prank us. I could go on and on, but, the proof is in his actions.
    Not one wall street on bank official in jail.
    No attempt to go after Corzine after stealing $1.5 billion
    Ramping up spying on Americans
    Killing Americans abroad with out due process
    Staying in Afghanistan and expanding the war with no results and no way to pull out
    Still prosecuting medical marijuana outlets.
    Continued offering of cuts to SS and Medicare

    Continuing cuts to the wealthy
    No reform of Wall Street
    The TPP done in secret
    Meeting with healthcare and pharma in private
    Selling out on a single payer system

    I am sure there are hundreds of things I have missed but you get the drift I hope.

    So where past the first inauguration did his good intentions result in a single thing for the left.

  29. Bill_Perdue says:

    The energy business is going to doom us, or, more likely, already has. All the tipping points have been passed and global warming and it’s attendant violent climate change is accelerating,

  30. Julianna David says:


    ☮☮☮☮ ☮☮☮☮☮ ☮☮️☮☮ ☮☮︀☮ ☮☮☮most americans on environmental issues as are most in the gop light party better known as democrat.

  31. Bill_Perdue says:

    He didn’t have good intentions. He began his carreer supporting marriage equality by almost immediately shifted to opposition, going so far as to ruin the chances for marriage in California, Florida and Arizona in 2008.

    He was playing the people who voted for him in 2008. Many went back for a second helping in 2012 even after events proved what Obama was an is, a second rate political prostitute. And they’d do it again.


    health care


  32. Drew2u says:

    Wisconsin’s going to get both Koch’s pipelines as well as Enbridge’s pipelines:

    As well as its farmlands being dug up, destroyed from ever being viable for food or livestock production for decades, for frac-sands:

    But it won’t matter once the TPP is passed. Oil spills for everyone! Food production for no one!

  33. Hue-Man says:

    Although Detroit was one of the first to complain about tar sands crude by-product, petcoke, it’s coming to a refinery near you. “Koch Brothers’ Tar Sands Waste Petcoke Piles Spread to Chicago”

    Pollute Canada and U.S. then export more C02 and airborne pollution! “While petcoke can’t be used as fuel in Canada and the US because of its high GHG emissions, the waste can be sold as a cheaper, more polluting alternative to low-grade coal in countries with looser environmental and
    health regulations.”

  34. TheOriginalLiz says:

    Obama may have initially had good intentions, but to get elected in this country you have to sell your soul. I don’t expect anything that will significantly change the status quo out of him.

  35. cole3244 says:

    obama is to the left of romney but to the right of most americans on environmental issues as are most in the gop light party better known as democrat.

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