Saturday, February 04, 2012

Keystone Pipeline Opinion

The Keystone Pipeline is a controversial issue in the nation and President Obama rejected the pipeline deal after being pressured by Republicans to speed up the decision. Some Republicans want the pipeline. I watched some of the hearings concerning the pipeline and have gleaned a few items about this pipeline.

• Is owned by a Canadian company called TransCanada

• Proposes an oil pipeline from Canada to refineries in Texas

• Plans to use Port Arthur, Texas to export the pipeline products after refining

• Port Arthur, Texas is a free port, which means no tax would be paid on the exports

• The Keystone pipeline official refused to say that these petroleum products would remain in the USA, thus might not assist the goal of energy independence.

• The proposed pipeline routes go through the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides water for this large arid region and some of the pipeline is planned to be in contact with aquifer water, risking the water supply

• Refineries are notorious polluters and the Keystone oil will be corrosive, low quality crude

The following quotes illustrate the corruption around the pipeline. I think a look at campaign donations might reveal a pattern of giving designed to get the pipeline through without really investigating environmental concerns. Corruption in the State Department needs to be addressed and the following quote illustrates political influence around the pipeline.

"The State Department has also faced charges of political conflict of interest over its handling of the Keystone XL application because TransCanada’s chief Washington lobbyist, Paul Elliott, was a top official in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign."

As evidence of the corruption of the laws designed to protect the people from exploitation:

"The State Department allowed TransCanada to solicit and screen bids for the environmental study. At TransCanada’s recommendation, the department hired Cardno Entrix, an environmental contractor based in Houston, even though it had previously worked on projects with TransCanada and describes the pipeline company as a “major client” in its marketing materials." (web address reference below)

Somebody ought to be fired in the State Department for corrupting our government.

As evidence of the intensity of this issue, A Nebraska rancher testified during the hearings that TransCanada had approached landowners along the route of the pipeline and made monetary offers to buy the land. If the landowners didn't take the offer, then TransCanada threatened them with Eminent Domain. I guess TransCanada had enough political backing to ensure that the landowners would be forced to hand over their land. I can imagine how these landowners feel. I deplore the use of eminent domain to force private individuals to hand over their land to other private concerns. It's unamerican.

TransCanada has also threatened our government with another pipeline to their west coast, where ships from the Orient will be glad to load this corrosive oil to haul it to the nearest heavy petroleum refinery. I'm sure the people of that beautiful coast will be glad to get this business and will be confident that no spills will ever occur.

Since I'm not one to criticize without offering a solution: How about TransCanada building a refinery up by where the tar sands are and refining this corrosive crude right there and then selling us the gas and diesel? Sounds like a plan to me.

Dorothy Prater Niemi February 2012