Zombies and Vultures and Pipelines, Oh MyPosted: February 5, 2012
The zombies seem to be winning the war against the living. We have zombie banks, zombie politicians [think Rick Perry], zombie policy—free market fundamentalism preached as an untried economic theory.
And now zombie pipelines.
Just when you thought the Keystone XL controversy had been put to rest [at least temporarily], its zombie presence lunges forward, reanimated for all to see. Although I suspect supporters of this very bad idea are hoping the American public is not watching or if they are watching they will buy the swill on the non-existent benefits of a 1700-mile tar sands pipeline.
What am I talking about?
I found a disturbing inquiry [hattip to OEN] by Representative Henry Waxman to a Deborah Hohlt, who received $50,500 from the Great State of Indiana [that would be paid in state taxpayer monies] to lobby in DC on behalf of the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline. Indiana’s Governor Mitch Daniels provided the rebuttal to the President’s SOTU address, in which he referred to the Administration’s decision to ‘postpone’ the pipeline’s construction as an ‘extremist’ policy.
As you might remember the Republican chorus on this subject has been jobs, jobs, jobs. House Speaker Boehner has quoted 100,000 jobs at stake. TransCanada has been all over the map with job estimates, the last, most creative quote coming in at 250,000 jobs. Unfortunately, the numbers are at odds with the single independent analysis from Cornell Global Labor Institute, estimating the number at between 4000-6000 temporary jobs. The steel for the pipeline? Would be coming from India. The cry that the pipeline would reduce our reliance on foreign oil? The refined tar sands oil is contracted for export [80%] to South America and Europe.
The upsides are slim to none, considering the toxic, corrosive nature of tar sand oil, the sludge-like quality that requires pressure and heat to make a pipeline flow possible. That also increases the risk of a leak and an environmental disaster. Anyone who may question the heightened risk should check out the total mess in Michigan when over 800,000 gallons of tar sand oil spilled and contaminated 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River and surrounding properties.
But here’s the really curious thing. The pipeline won’t be running through Indiana. The pipeline will not be running close to Indiana’s borders. No Indiana facilitities will have access to the pipeline. In fact, it appears that Indiana does not stand to be impacted in anyway by the Keystone pipeline and yet Governor Daniels felt compelled to call President Obama an extremist for postponing the pipeline’s construction. He was also willing to pay a $50,000+ [in state taxpayer money] to lobby for the Great State of Indiana in defense of the pipeline.
More curious still? TransCanada has stated that the pipeline will ‘increase’ oil prices for Indiana and other Midwestern residents because the area is ‘oversupplied.’ Keystone’s successful construction [this is stated in TransCanada’s application] will ensure higher prices for Canadian crude. By independent analysis costs will increase $6.55 per barrel in the Midwest and $3 per barrel everywhere else. The Indiana Petroleum Council thinks this is a swell idea.
So, it should not be any great surprise that a Senate group–laughably-called bi-partisan because it includes 1 Democrat, Joe Manchin from W. Va.–is reintroducing the Keystone proposal, pushing for immediate construction with or without the Administration’s approval. The Senate committee is invoking the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which says Congress should have the power:
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.
I love it when the Republicans start waving the Constitution. It’s a clear signal they’re up to no good. Did I mention that Koch Industries stands to make a killing on this project?
While reading Representative Waxman’s letter, I recalled something I’d read in Greg Palast’s book Vultures’ Picnic and found an accompanying and equally disturbing text online here and here. To quote Palast:
Reserves are the measure of oil recoverable at a certain price. Raise the price, raise the reserve. Cut the price and the amount of oil in the ground drops. In other words, it’s a fool’s errand to measure the “amount of oil we have left.” It depends on the price.
Specifically, oil companies and oil-related financiers are not interested in expanding oil supplies to the world, particularly cheap oil supplies [because the days of cheap oil are over]. They’re interested in feeding the hunger for oil and controlling the price around the world with an iron fist. The higher, the better. The environment—air, water, soil–is not the concern. Our health or that of our children is not the concern. The bottom line—profit and power—is all that matters. If nations collapse? The Vultures are waiting to feast on the bones.
Sound harsh? It shouldn’t. Zombies and vultures are kissing cousins. They’re coming ‘round for a friendly visit. Again.