Koch Bros, Hillary & Keystone XL

SUBHEAD: Animosity between the Koch brothers and Obama is puzzling as the Keystone XL pipeline heads to finish line.

By Political Dick on 30 August 2011 for PoliticalDick.org - 

Image above: Mining operation for tar sand oil head for Keystone XL Pipeline. From (http://www.greendirectorymontana.com/articles/public_comments_needed_on_keystone_xl_pipeline__523).
The Keystone XL is a 1,980 mile bitumen heavy oil pipeline stretching from the Alberta tar sands to the gulf coast refineries, nearing the final hurdles towards completion. The processing of the tar sands will eventually mean the destruction of “some 740,000 acres of boreal forest, a natural carbon reservoir.” There are also grave concerns regarding the impact of pipeline leaks on rivers and vast aquifers serving millions of people. The recent rupture under Montana’s Yellowstone River was carrying these tar sands oil, a heavier, more toxic form of crude oil. A SolveClimate report by David Sassoon states:
The Koch brothers import and refine 25 percent of oil sands crude reaching the U.S., and stand to profit from an increased flow of the Keystone XL estimated as 510,000 barrels a day, if it gets built.
Proponents tout it as a boon to national security that would reduce America’s dependence on oil from unfriendly regimes. Opponents say it would magnify an environmental nightmare at great cost and provide only the illusion of national benefit.
What’s been left out of the ferocious debate over the pipeline, however, is the prospect that if president Obama allows a permit for the Keystone XL to be granted, he would be handing a big victory and great financial opportunity to Charles and David Koch, his bitterest political enemies and among the most powerful opponents of his cleaneconomy agenda.
The two brothers together own virtually all of Koch Industries Inc. — a giant oil conglomerate headquartered in Wichita, Kan., with annual revenues estimated to be $100 billion.
The Koch brothers are not run-of-the-mill political opponents. An investigative report last year by the New Yorker magazine on the secretive and deep-pocketed pair have shown them to be “waging a war against Obama.” They have bankrolled the Tea Party movement, climate change skepticism and right-wing think tanks, such as the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the National Center for Policy Analysis.
Through Flint Hills Resources LP based in Wichita, Kan., the Koch brothers provided $1 million in 2010 to the failed effort to suspend California’s groundbreaking 2006 global warming law.
After the 2010 midterm elections, they have become established at the center of GOP power, according to The Los Angeles Times. The paper reported this week that Koch Industries and its employees formed the largest single oil and gas donor to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“The Koch brothers are architects of the dirty energy strategy, both in Washington and through their commercial interests,” Jeremy Symons of the Reston, Va.-based National Wildlife Federation said. “It wouldn’t make any sense at all for the president to give this pipeline project the thumbs up and undermine his own clean energy efforts.”
Although the pipeline, if approved, would increase the supply of oil reaching the U.S., a 2009 market analysis conducted by TransCanada, builder of the pipeline, forecast higher prices. The analysis, which TransCanada conducted as part of its Canadian permit application, projected that prices would increase about $3 per barrel as a result of the pipeline.
That would send at least an additional $2 billion from American consumers to Canadian and multinational oil interests, despite the increase in supply. Given its deep involvement in the Canadian petroleum industry, the Koch brothers’ operation stands to snare some of the windfall.
The 1,959-mile pipeline would cut through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma to refineries in Texas, and crisscross the Ogallala Aquifer, which Americans living in the Midwest rely on for fresh drinking water as well as irrigation.
Last July, the EPA rolled up its sleeves and called a time out. The agency deemed the State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone project as “inadequate,” the lowest possible ranking. EPA raised concerns over a potential oil spill over the Ogallala aquifer.
The agency also asked the State Department to consider the national security implications of expanding the nation’s commitment to a relatively high-carbon source of oil, which EPA says has a well-to-tank carbon footprint 82 percent greater than conventional oil.
The review period was extended 90 days to allow for interagency cooperation, but Secretary of State Clinton created controversy when she said in a speech that she was inclined to grant the approval. Her comments came before the interagency analysis was completed.
Subsequently it was revealed that TransCanada’s chief Washington lobbyist, Paul Elliott, served as national deputy director and chief of staff for delegate selection for the 2008 presidential campaign of then-New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. Freedom of Information Act requests for communications with Paul Elliott have been perfunctorily rejected by the State Department.
Since the report’s publication in February 2011 Hillary Clinton has continued to give the State Department unreserved support for the completion of the Keystone XL.

Protesters of the pipeline have converged on the White House in significant numbers for a two week long civil disobedience sit-in culminating in a big demonstration on September 3rd. Large numbers have been arrested and their severe treatment chronicled.

As much animosity as is suppose to exist between the Koch brothers and the Obama Administration it is puzzling that the Keystone XL continues to easily pass through the few remaining obstacles to it’s completion. Unless a sustained and significant voice is raised the outcome is near certain. Even a NIMBY would find the prospect of the 2k mile pipeline running through the heartland of America disconcerting.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Keystone XL Corruption Investigation 10/7/11 .

1 comment :

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