Zombies and Vultures and Pipelines, Oh My

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.

And the reclamation?  These corporations should hang their heads in utter shame. If you want to be thoroughly disgusted check out the You Tube clip I provided in an earlier post.

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.

Which begs the question: Who does Governor Daniels work for?  His constituents or the oil companies?

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.

6 Comments on “Zombies and Vultures and Pipelines, Oh My”

  1. Thanks for the post, peggysue. Chock full of great info. I’ve emailed the link to a number of friends, including one who sent out a completely falsehood ridden email to her Tea Party friends last week. Another friend had forwarded the emial to me,

  2. northwestrain says:

    Oh good doG — the steel isn’t even being made in the USA???

    So the pipes are coming from India — the same India that sent a shipment of radio active tissue holders to be sold at Bed Bath and Beyond??


    • peggysue22 says:

      That would be the same India, northwestrain. But hey, what’s a little radioactivity among friends?

  3. peggysue22 says:

    Good, Connie. Tell your Tea Party friends they need to start poking around on their own and stop listening to the pols–who spin these things in the direction of campaign donations. This pipeline has virtually no merits for the American public. It is cash-cow pipeline for the oil people, their financiers and political handmaidens. And the risk is real. Once the damage is done it’s irreversible.

    That You Tube clip from my earlier DOD piece was made by a former oil company guy. He was a true believer until he saw what the company did, and then what they tried to cover up. TransCanada, BP, Enbridge–they all seem to be on the same page. Spin it anyway you can, make as much money as possible, and then leave any catastrophic environmental blowback for others to deal with.

    To me, it’s downright sickening.

    • I’m with you all the way. I had planned to respond to her email myself, but have been under the weather all week & not up to doing the research to gather the actual facts. Your piece put everything together so nicely & allowed me to include her in my list of environmentally conscious friends.

      Bill Moyers had a great show today, interviewing Jonathan Haidt about how liberals & conservatives view the world. Haidt actually made a lot of sense. There was also a great piece on Saul Alinsky and an a la Jon Stewart – a clip of Alinsky & then a clip of Newter saying almost exactly the same thing. Loved it. http://billmoyers.com/

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Very enlightening, Peggy Sue, thank you. I’m going to pass this info on to my mom–she lives in Indiana.