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Kerry Backs Keystone XL Pipeline

by Stephen Lendman Sunday, Feb. 02, 2014 at 7:41 AM


Kerry Backs Keystone XL Pipeline

by Stephen Lendman

Kerry mocks legitimacy. He represents the worst of America's dark side. He's going all out to be Washington's worst ever Secretary of State.

He's Obama's war on humanity front man. He blames Syrian President Assad for US-supported death squad crimes. He wants him ousted. He wants Syrian sovereignty destroyed.

He wants Washington deciding Syria's future. He wants it colonized for profit. He wants Ukraine exploited the same way.

He supports ultranationalist extremists. He blames Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych for US-supported street thug violence.

He's Israel's man in Washington. His peace deal is fake. It's entirely one-sided. It demands unconditional Palestinian surrender.

He's a billionaire. He supports corporate-enriching trade deals. They legitimize selling unsafe foods, medicines and other products.

They're designed to make him richer. They're at the expense of enormous public harm. They risk ecocide.

On January 31, the State Department endorsed the Keystone XL Pipeline project. It risks enormous environmental damage.

It's a controversial 1,661-mile Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, TX pipeline. At issue is transporting toxic tar sands oil from Western Canada to refineries on America's Gulf coast.

Doing so entails passing through environmentally sensitive areas in six states. They include waterways and the Ogallala Aquifer.

It's one of the world's largest. It supplies about 30% of America's irrigation ground water. It's vital for human consumption.

Friends of the Earth said Keystone XL (KXL) "will carry one of the world's dirtiest fuels: tar sands oil." Its route "could devastate ecosystems and pollute water sources, and would jeopardize public health."

It'll double America's dirty tar sands oil supply. Environmental toxicity will increase exponentially.

Big Oil wants it. So do Republicans and many Democrats. Expect Obama to rubber-stamp approval.

The State Department's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) falsely claimed no risks to health and safety. More on this below.

TransCanada Corporation will build KXL. It's spill-prone construction record assures trouble.

It promised its Keystone I pipeline would leak at most once every seven years. In year one, it leaked 12 times. It was once a month on average. It was unprecedented in US pipeline history.

TarSandsBlockade.org asks "Why Oppose KXL?"

For many reasons, it states. NASA scientist James Hansen calls it "a fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet."

All pipelines spill. Avoidance is impossible. Large-scale environmental damage is too great a price to pay.

TransCanada said up to 700,000 gallons of tar sands crude could leak without detection. Safeguards are weak and ineffective.

Pipeline construction abuses eminent domain. TransCanada "intimidated landowners" along planned routes. It did so in previous pipeline construction.

It contractually forced landowners to accede to its demands. It "fraudulently steals land from private citizens through eminent domain."

Water contamination is certain. The Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer (CWA) is threatened.

In March 2011, water resources & environmental engineer/consultant Lawrence Dunbar said CWA spillage would be environmentally disastrous. Human and natural resources would be impacted.

Release of enough tar sands contaminants would make affected water resources unfit for human consumption.

CWA "is one of the greatest assets of the East-Central region of Texas. It provides water for agriculture, industry, and human consumption and use."

It's far too valuable to contaminate. KXL assures it. Remediation would be hard to impossible to achieve.

According to Cornell University's Global Labor Institute, KXL will destroy more jobs than it creates. Its September 2011 "Pipe Dreams?" report said job creation claims lack credibility.

At best up to 4,650 temporary ones will be created. In two years or less they'll be gone. "KXL will not be a major source of US jobs, nor will it play any substantial role at all in putting Americans back to work."

Diverting tar sands oil "now supplying Midwest refineries, so it can be sold at higher prices to the Gulf Coast and export markets (means) Midwest (consumers) could be paying 10 to 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel."

Doing so will adversely impact other spending and cost jobs. KXL will have "a chilling effect on green investments and green jobs creation."

Green investments generated "2.7 million jobs in the US and could generate many more."

"Tar Sands oil and energy independence really do not belong in the same sentence."

Cornell, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other independent assessments say KXL assures higher gas prices.

Exporting tar sands oil won't reduce US dependence on foreign supplies. Prioritizing exports is planned. At issue is selling at the highest possible price.

KXL violates tribal sovereignty. The Indigenous Environmental Network's "Mother Earth Accord" supports and urges opposition to tar sands development. At issue is preserving the integrity of US and Canadian First Nations and tribal lands.

TransCanada won't disclose an analysis of chemical dilutents used to facilitate transporting tar sands oil through KXL. At issue are human and environmentally destructive substances.

The Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration told Congress that pipeline regulations weren't crafted with tar sands oil in mind.

They're woefully inadequate and require strengthening. At a time of business as usual, don't expect it.

On January 31, the State Department released its EIS report. Its  analysis was rigged. Its methodology lacked credibility.

Results falsely claimed minimal environmental contamination risk. KXL's southern area "Gulf Coast Project" failed to conduct its own environmental assessment.

Issues related to the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, wild fires, droughts, and others weren't examined.

Friends of the Earth (FOE) responded, saying:

"The State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline is a farce. Since the beginning of the assessment, the oil industry has had a direct pipeline into the agency."

"Perhaps most frustrating, is the apparent collusion between the State Department, oil industry and the Canadian government."

"In what could be perceived as eagerness to please the oil industry and Canadian government, the State Department is issuing this report amidst an ongoing investigation into conflicts of interest, and lying, by its contractor."

"It is unacceptable that the oil industry and a foreign government are better informed than the American Congress and its citizenry."

"By letting the oil industry influence this process, Secretary Kerry is undermining his long-established reputation as a leader in the fight against climate change."

"President Obama can end this charade; sufficient scientific data exists to justify denying the Keystone XL pipeline."

"It is a simple matter of having the political will, and courage, to stand up to the oil industry. This decision is a defining moment in his environmental legacy."

Last September, FOE said:

"(F)rom day one, the State Department's review of the pipeline (was) polluted by conflicts of interest, insider lobbying and the heavy hand of Big Oil."

State Department officials relied on TransCanada-picked contractors for their report. Doing so represents an outrageous conflict of interest.

Relying on Big Oil interests related construction company interests eliminated any chance for responsible analysis.

Obama had plenty of evidence without EIS to reject KXL. "The bottom line," said FOE, "it's not in the national interest. (K)ill "it now."

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) said:

"Thousands of people around the country are taking a stand against the import of dirty tar sands oil - from farmers and ranchers in Nebraska who don't want a tar sands pipeline plowed through their property, to families in Texas concerned about their drinking water, to Americans everywhere who want to move towards a clean energy future."

NWF "is working to stop this dangerous project, and your voice is urgently needed. Take a stand against" KXL!

The Sierra Club urged "no more Big Oil pipeline spills that endanger our water."

KXL "threaten(s) the drinking water of two million Americans." TransCanada has a deplorable environmental record.

In 2011 alone, over a quarter million Americans expressed opposition to KXL. Nebraska rancher Susan Luebbe perhaps spoke for others, saying:

"How can the State Department even think of approving a new tar sands pipeline when the existing one is springing leaks on average once a month."

"Ranchers, farmers and millions of other Americans depend on clean water from the Ogallala Aquifer, which lies directly under the path of" KXL.

Last November, Public Citizen published a report titled "TransCanada's Keystone XL Southern Segment: Construction Problems Raise Questions About the Integrity of the Pipeline."

It highlighted safety issues. Documented problems include "excessive bending or sagging, and pealing patches of field coating applied to cover damage on pipe about to be placed into the ground."

"Anomolies" in pipe "buried for months include "dents, sags, and other problems that could lead to spills or leakage of toxic tar sands crude."

Public Citizen's Texas office director Tom "Smitty" Smith said:

"The government should investigate, and shouldn’t let crude flow until that is done."

"Given the stakes - the potential for a catastrophic spill of hazardous crude along a pipeline that traverses hundreds of streams and rivers and comes within a few miles of some towns and cities - it would be irresponsible to allow the pipeline to start operating."

During construction of Keystone I, TransCanada made 50 special conditions pledges. It violated 47 of them.

In July 2011, its Bison natural gas pipeline exploded within six months of startup.

Iroquois Pipeline Operations is a TransCanada subsidiary. In the 1990s, four senior executives pleaded guilty to knowingly violating environmental and safety pipeline construction permit provisions.

They promised exceptional safety. They willfully failed to deliver. "TransCanada's history with pipeline problems speaks for itself," said Smith.

"I fear we could be looking at another pipeline whose integrity may be in question."

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) urged "Stopping the Keystone XL." Enormous potential environmental damage is risked, it said.

It'll transport "the dirtiest oil on the planet." It's "difficult, costly and energy-intensive to produce."

Constructing KXL will "kill more jobs than it creates." Oil transported is intended for export, not domestic use.

KXL "was never in America's national interest. Clean energy and fuel efficiency is the path forward for economic and energy security."

Reject "another tar sands pipeline." Expect rubber-stamp Obama approval. He's beholden to Big Oil. He's been this way throughout his political career.

His US Senate voting record was strongly pro-business. He supported strip-mining on public and private land.

He backed secretly drafted Bush administration energy policy. Rhetorically he opposed it.

He supported vastly expanding nuclear power, lax industry regulation, billions of dollars in subsidies, and other benefits demanding rejection.

He voted for biofuels production and other agribusiness interests. He strongly supports GMO foods and ingredients.

He's a corporate stooge. There's never "been a bigger con man in the White House than Barack Obama," said Ralph Nader. He says one thing. He does another. His rhetoric belies his policies.

He's a corporatist "from A to Z." So are Kerry and likeminded administration officials.

On February, the State Department opened a 30 day comment period. Eight US agencies have 90 days to weigh in. They'll offer feedback.

It's pro forma mumbo jumbo. What corporate America wants it gets. Obama's fully on board. Expect rubber-stamp KXL approval.

Last June, he signaled it saying he'll back construction if "it does not significantly exacerbate the climate problem."

Last week, TransCanada began shipping oil through its southern Keystone pipeline leg. It runs from Cushing, OK to Port Arthur, TX.

TC awaits approval to begin building its 1,179 mile northern pipeline. It'll transport tar sands oil from Hardisty, Alberta through Montana to Steele City, NB.

Environmental contamination will follow. Wealth, power and privilege alone matter.

Obama is no man of the people. He's a corporatist writ large. Change to believe in works one way. Betrayal and failure define him.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


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