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Pipeline: What National Interest?

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In case you do not immediately associate payroll taxes with transcontinental pipelines, allow me to connect the dots. They are connected in Congress with language designed to force the Obama White House to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project within a 60-day time frame. The project is a poker chip being played by Republicans in the name of jobs and economic stimulation. The question is whether or not the pipeline is in the national interest. The national interest is a card the president is holding to his chest.

Senate and House“We will make changes,” Speaker Boehner said of the payroll tax cut bill. “I will guarantee you the Keystone pipeline will be in the bill when it goes back to the Senate.” At that the Speaker is true to his word. The House passed its version of the bill. So did the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate requires Obama to grant a permit for the Keystone pipeline unless he determines that the project is not in the national interest. The Republican controlled House must now sign off on the Senate plan.

Last week President Obama said that he would reject “any effort” to tie the tax cut to the pipeline project. It is unlikely that the State Department can complete the necessary reviews in 60 days. If forced to do so, the department indicated it would reject the project by not granting the requisite Presidential Permits. Such permits are required because the pipeline project crosses the US border.

The Keystone pipeline deal is between the Canadian company TransCanada and ConocoPhillips. ConocoPhillips, headquartered in Houston, Texas, is the second-largest refiner in the United States and is the world’s fourth largest non-government controlled refiner. The nearly 2-thousand mile pipeline would transect Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma to its refineries in Texas.

The Republican argument is that the project would produce jobs and money. TransCanada says that the project would create 20-thousand jobs in the United States. However, the State Department concludes that the real number may be closer to 6000 jobs. An independent study conducted by Cornell University finds that while Keystone XL might result in no more than 4700 temporary construction jobs, that number would be reduced by higher oil prices in the Midwest resulting in reduced national employment.

The GOP also argues that the Keystone XL would provide 5 percent of the current US petroleum consumption needs and replace 9% of US petroleum imports. That might sound good until you realize that Koch Industries would benefit from an ironic windfall if President Obama allows a permit to be granted for Keystone XL.Tea Party

Obama’s political enemies, brothers Charles and David Koch, bankrolled the Tea Party movement.

Potential risks of the pipeline include the stripping of the Canadian boreal forest, the further carbon-loading of the atmosphere, and the threat to the Midwest’s water supplies. Last May an existing pipeline carrying toxic tar sands had to be shut down for repairs after springing two leaks in North Dakota and Kansas. As a result, Nebraska’s Republican Governor Dave Heineman has asked that the new pipeline be rerouted. He fears “a spill could pollute the Ogallala Aquifer, a crucial water source beneath the Great Plains.”

So, what is in the national interest? The payroll tax cut is, but the Keystone XL Pipeline is just another example of Big Oil’s contribution to Republican politics. Taken separately, the “national” part is less than 5-thousand jobs in six Republican States. The” interest” part is the largess that Koch Industries bestows on the Republican Party. The political aim is to divide President Obama’s labor supporters and his environmental supporters in an election year. The bet is that no one will notice that the Republican poker chip being played is phony.

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About Tommy Mack

Tommy Mack began his career in broadcasting and is a US Army graduate of the Defense Information School. He worked in Army Public and Command Information and earned a BS in Liberal Studies from the State University of New York, Albany. A marketing communications executive, Tommy became a business management consultant for a major international consulting company and its affiliates before establishing Tommy Mack Organization, a business consulting practice specializing in organization and communications management. A professional writer and blogger, he writes about politics, business, and culture.
  • kathryn

    Eliminate pipeline, it’s not necessary. Drill in Montana, North and South Dakota, there is oil there, the research has already been done, (Canada has leased their wells to China,) and create a refinery at or near site, then the states are not broken up, the “green” issue would be met. Eliminate the unions involvement, thereby lowering oil prices. This is not difficult. Remove the problems, political parties and unions. Most U.S citizens have changed lifestyes, cut in pay, lost jobs, lost retirement, lost homes, and never benefited from stimulus money that banks, companies, unions, and Wall Street have. WHERE ARE THE LEADERS? I guess there are none.

  • Igor

    It’s canadian oil in name only: once it comes out of the ground it’s owned by the oil company. In the same way, oil drilled in, say, Texas is no longer American when it comes out of the ground: it belongs to the oil company, i.e., the shareholders of the oil company, who are typically about 60% foreigners. They pay an escalator fee to their oil lease when they actually extract the oil (and an extraction tax to the State of Texas) and that’s the last American claim on that oil.

    There is NO benefit forthcoming to Americans after extraction (and the extraction fees and premiums aren’t that big either, in fact the Bush administration ‘forgot’ to even apply the extraction escalator for a couple years, which caused a great scandal: the DOE had to run around threatening and cajoling to get past fees paid by oil companies).

    Even extraction and transporting jobs are increasingly being done by low-pay foreign teams (dare one say ‘coolies’?).

  • So it’s still called a Dominion?

    I guess the Old Country is still running the show.

  • Cannonshop

    #23 Igor, I didn’t realize you were such a patriotic CANADIAN. The pipeline is to transfer CANADIAN oil to a TEXAS port. WE do not OWN those reserves. Last I checked, the DOMINION OF CANADA was a separate NATION, and owned its own strategic mineral resources.

    If’n they want to use OUR ports to ship THEIR oil to the outside world, that’s a cut of that action that benefits US.

  • Igor

    Historically, natural resource exporters have been soon dominated by their customers; they become the wogs that the colonial powers exploit.

  • Igor

    Really, Cannon, you should study and contemplate more before you opine.

    #17 it means something is finally breaking our way for once-we haven’t been a net exporter of petroleum since the sixties

    Increased oil exports are bad for the USA. And it’s not because of some mysterious “breaking our way”, it’s becauseof oil company influence over politicians as tey seek cheaper oil that they can sell at high prices in China and India, both of which are in a fever pitch of luxury consumption, which means more Buicks and oil imports in countries that produce little oil of their own.

    Oil exporting is a bad business for the USA because it depletes our strategic reserves (we’ll always need oil for some things like airplanes, ask the 1945 german army staff who found 70% of their planes grounded after we bombed the beejesus out of Ploesti and other sources), and we do it at todays cheap prices. You may think gas prices are high (but that’s just because you can’t get your tiny brain around the concept of fungible oil and international markets).

    We sell oil way too cheap. If we sell it at all we should wait for prices to rise so we can escalate the extraction tax (which is the ONLY benefit the USA gets from drilling more of it’s own oil because the companies are owned by foreigners so corporate profits flow to foreigners, and the jobs payrolls, only 330,000 US jobs total, are puny).

    Keep USA oil in the ground for national security and to hold out for higher prices. Only foreigners benefit from more US drilling.

  • Cannonshop

    #17 it means something is finally breaking our way for once-we haven’t been a net exporter of petroleum since the sixties. If it’s true, you should buy stock in Te-er,She-um…Conoco? Crap, all the mergers Bush 1 and Clinton’s administrations allowed in the eighties and nineties pretty much ended the existence of actual “U.S.” based oil companies, didn’t it? (well, maybe Tesoro…)

    Now, if we could just get the Greenies to let us build new, safe, Nuclear reactors like the French have, and get them to lay off the goddamned Hydro dams…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    Your belief that public sector jobs do not result in increased tax revenue sounds good and sensible, doesn’t it?

    But in reality, it’s quite wrong. Why? Because public-sector jobs provide services that private sectors either can’t or won’t do, or can’t be trusted to do…and the private sector cannot thrive without the services provided by the public sector.

    For instance, would you really want a corporation running our police forces? Or our military? What about land surveying and tax assessing? What about our court system? The outsourcing of prison systems has turned out to be a disaster – especially since those same corporations running the prisons are lobbying for ever-harsher laws and prison sentences…and why would they do that? Money. And California’s just published a study showing that charter schools there do not outperform (but often underperform) public schools.

    Government should support business – absolutely! But government isn’t there just for business, and business should never, EVER be trusted to do what should be the sole province of the public servant.

  • Igor

    So many unsupported and easily attacked assertions in #16 (Cannon) that I’ll only pick on the last couple:

    Remember, (private sector) Jobs=Tax Revenue, (Public Sector)jobs=/=Tax Revenue.

    That’s so easily disproven I wonder that you asserted it. Public works create jobs and people pay taxes on those jobs. Private works create jobs and people pay taxes on those jobs, but part of the business revenue must go to corporate profits, which pay much lower taxes than people (especially oil companies, which often pay NO corporate taxes even during record high profits). Therefore the net taxes are higher for public works than for private works. The net tax yield for public works will be higher than the net tax yield for private works.

    If you’re intent on Keynesian spending schemes, you need those jobs to turn a profit NOW, not twenty years from now when the technology is viable and cheap enough to be wide-spread.

    These assertions are just incomprehensible. Why now? Why twenty years from now? What does that have to do with cheap and widespread technology?

    Incidentally, the Pipline is certainly a better investment of tax money than Solyndra was.

    IMO neither of them is a good investment. Either one is a money loser for the USA. One could even assert that Solyndra had the advantage of failing quickly (Venture Capitalists often say that they don’t mind if a company fails as long as it fails quickly before they get mired down in it). But XL will take years and billions of lost capital before it becomes palpably clear to even the dimmest wit that it never could be a good deal. It’s a boondoggle that US taxpayers would dump billions into with no monetary return, no pump gas, and lost national assets. I posted on that above (#2, 4, 9 and 12).

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    I read recently that we’re exporting more oil than we’re importing. I need to verify that of course, but if true, what does that really say about “drill, baby, drill”?

  • Cannonshop

    Igor… dude. You forget something: I don’t oppose renewable energy. I oppose gutting our current systems when the replacement isn’t ready for the big show. and some of your figures are suspect-kind of like how OAR’s figures about unemployment numbers, claims denying AND endorsing “Global Warming” etc. are suspect-find sources that aren’t poltically motivated or funded by appropriations from the Administration whose policies they’re endorsing, okay?

    We have a problem RIGHT NOW. We can either use the ‘slack’ from having these sources to build up the capability to make your green dreams work, or we can close everything off, and slowly starve in the dark while waiting another twenty years after the last twenty years to be twenty years from it being capable of replacing current sources.

    Poor people don’t build large scale energy projects-the materials don’t shit themselves into existence like biblical manna, and when your currency is based on economic output, large-scale unemployment and a lack of “Real Money” (as opposed to digital ones and zeroes) to fund it is only going to get WORSE.

    Solar can’t be packaged.

    As for the neat television thing about the guys running on biodiesel…it’s not a new idea. Diesel’s original designs were looked at to run, initially, on Peanut Oil, and that was more than a century ago-it’s old tech, we know for a fact that it works, and it would be more common than it is, if not for the costs involved in storing, extracting, filtering and purifying it on the large scale. (small scale’s not a problem, on the micro scale you can get your own house off the grid with existing Solar and other sources, you just can’t power your city with it, and you’re unlikely to be able to run welders, large machine tools, etc. with it…)

    Incidentally, you want to run your generator or car off something that takes even LESS processing, “Source gas”, aka gasified biomass, is also a proven tech, and you can find gasifier designs (and units) on-line. World Bank’s even done tech papers on it. Your yard waste CAN power your car…without being processed much if at all…provided you have enough yard to do it, and what you folks seem to miss, is that when cooking oil is accepted as fuel, it becomes expensive-plants don’t crush themselves for free, neither do hogs cook themselves-energy cost per watt goes up when your source transfers from garbage/slag to something of value.

    Remember, (private sector) Jobs=Tax Revenue, (Public Sector)jobs=/=Tax Revenue. If you’re intent on Keynesian spending schemes, you need those jobs to turn a profit NOW, not twenty years from now when the technology is viable and cheap enough to be wide-spread.

    Incidentally, the Pipline is certainly a better investment of tax money than Solyndra was.

  • Igor

    The EVIDENCE, the facts, the figures, confirm that fossil fuel is a sunset industry that is diminishing and will soon disappear, while the renewables fuel industry is constantly on the rise, despite constant rear-guard attacks from the old fossil fuel characters and their paid-for toadies in congress.

    Incidentally, if you have a TV, watch for a documentary about 2 guys who converted a truck to run on any kind of organic oil and drove from Alaska to Argentina powered by soy oil, canola, etc., whatever they could find on the way, even pig oil and palm oil. Even weeds growing along the road. Didn’t use a drop of petrol.

    Effort and money spent in defense of fossil fuels is effort and money wasted.

  • Put another way, Thou shalt not bite the hand that’s feeds you. Save the rich.


  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    Don’t you know that to question Big Oil and Big Coal is to violate one of the sacred commandments of American Conservatives? Regardless of whatever lies they tell or how they harm the American economy or how many deaths of Americans result from what they do, thou shalt not question Big Oil, Big Coal, the NRA, or Fox News, for if you do, thou shalt surely be expelled to the outer political darkness where there be only liberals and socialists.

  • Igor

    #10-cannon is wrong (again!): there are ALREADY many more jobs (2.7million) in alternative energy than in the oil (330thousand) and coal industry, almost 10 times as many jobs:

    Brookings report

    Renewable Jobs Far Outstrip Fossil Fuel Employment
    Renewable energy promotes US job growth better than investment in fossil fuels

    Berkeley – Investing in renewable energy such as solar, wind and the use of municipal and agricultural waste for fuel would produce more American jobs than a comparable investment in the fossil fuel energy sources in place today, according to a report issued today (Tuesday, April 13) by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

    “Across a broad range of scenarios, the renewable energy sector generates more jobs per average megawatt of power installed, and per unit of energy produced, than the fossil fuel-based energy sector,” the report concludes. “All states of the Union stand to gain in terms of net employment from the implementation of a portfolio of clean energy policies at the federal level.”

    Daniel Kammen, a professor in UC Berkeley’s Energy & Resources Group and Goldman School of Public Policy, and head of UC Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), directed the team that reviewed 13 previous reports that looked at the economic and employment impacts of the clean energy industry in the United States and Europe. Though the independent studies used a range of different methods that made comparison difficult, their uniform conclusions held up under scrutiny, he said.

    “Renewable energy is not only good for our economic security and the environment, it creates new jobs,” Kammen said. “At a time when rising gas prices have raised our annual gas bill to $240 billion, investing in new clean energy technologies would both reduce our trade deficit and reestablish the U. S. as a leader in energy technology, the largest global industry today.”

    Kammen released the report at a forum in Seattle on the New Apollo Energy Project, an initiative toreplace the energy bill now languishing in Congress with a new bill emphasizing energy independence and weaning the country from a reliance on imported fossil fuels by 2010. The project is spearheaded by U.S. Representative Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), sponsor of the day-long forum at Seattle’s Jackson Federal Building.

    The UC Berkeley report found that a comprehensive, coordinated energy policy works best, emphasizing not only renewable energy sources but also energy efficiency and sustainable transportation. These, it said, “yield far greater employment benefits than supporting one or two of these sectors separately.”

    “While certain sectors of the economy may be net losers, policy interventions can help minimize the impact of a transition from the current fossil fuel-dominated economy to a more balanced portfolio that includes significant amounts of clean energy,” the report continued. “Further, generating local employment through the deployment of local and sustainable energy technologies is an important and underutilized way to enhance national security and international stability.”

    In their study, Kammen and colleagues Kamal Kapadia and Matthias Fripp of the Energy & Resources Group at UC Berkeley considered all types of job creation, both direct – those created in the manufacturing, delivery, construction and installation, project management and operation and maintenance of the different components of the technology or power plant under consideration – and indirect, that is, those induced through multiplier effects of the industry under consideration. Installing wind turbines, for example, is a direct job, while jobs created to manufacture the steel used to build the wind turbine are indirect jobs.

    They then calculated the jobs created by investing in renewable energy sources so that by 2020 they would constitute 20 percent of all energy sources. They assumed various mixes of renewable energy sources, from the current situation, where the bulk of renewable energy is from the burning of waste or biomass, such as corn stalks (85 percent, versus 14 percent for wind energy and a mere 1 percent from solar), to improved scenarios in which wind energy dominates at 55 percent of all renewable power sources, biomass energy makes up 40 percent and solar photovoltaic constitutes 5 percent.

    The non-renewable alternative, in which fossil fuels comprise the 20 percent that could have been renewable sources by 2020, were assumed to be either half coal-powered and half natural gas, or 100 percent natural gas.

    They found that for all feasible scenarios, the renewables industry consistently generated more jobs per average megaWatt generated in construction, manufacturing and installation, in operations and maintenance and in fuel processing, than the fossil fuel industries. In the scenario assuming most renewable energy comes from biomass burning, this could amount to as many as 240,000 new jobs created by 2020, versus no more than 75,000 new jobs if the country sticks to fossil fuels. Investment in renewables also generates more jobs per dollar invested than does the fossil fuel energy sector.

    Most states would benefit from the move to renewables, the study found. The Midwest, for example, has the best wind power resources in the United States. According to Greenpeace-USA, North Dakota alone has enough to produce 1.2 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity each year, which amounts to 32 percent of the total U.S. electricity consumption in 2002.

    Part of the job-creating advantage of renewables over fossil fuels lies in the fact that the employment rate in fossil fuel-related industries has been declining steadily, Kammen said, for reasons that have little to do with environmental regulations. Though a shift from fossil fuels to renewables in the energy sector will create some job losses, these losses can be adequately compensated for through a number of policy actions.

    “For too long, innovations in solar, wind, and biomass/waste technologies, green buildings, highly efficient vehicles, and construction practices that minimize waste have languished in the market despite impressive technical advances, cost reductions, and great potential that make these renewable energy technologies competitive with imported oil and gas supplies,” Kammen said. “Investment in new renewable energy sources leads to roughly 10 times more jobs than a comparable investment in the fossil-fuel sector. This difference underscores the economic benefits of moving our economy and society from one of energy ‘hunter gatherers’ to one of ‘energy farmers’ and innovators.”

    From the API:

    SIC 13 – Oil and Gas Extraction
    Click on the SOC code number to view that occupation’s definition and national cross-industry estimates.

    Industry Total top
    Employment Estimates Wage Estimates
    SOC Code Number Occupation Title Employment (1) Percent of Total Median Hourly Mean Hourly Mean Annual (2) Mean RSE (3)
    00-0000 Industry Total 333,100 100.00% $16.77 $20.87 $43,420 1.4 %

    Worldwatch report

    Coal Industry Hands Out Pink Slips While Green Collar Jobs Take Off

    Washington, D.C.-A transition to renewable energy sources promises significant global job gains at a time when the coal industry has been hemorrhaging jobs for years, according to the latest Vital Signs Update released by the Worldwatch Institute.

    The coal, oil, and natural gas industries require steadily fewer jobs as high-cost production equipment takes the place of human capital. Many hundreds of thousands of coal mining jobs have been shed in China, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, and South Africa during the last two decades, sometimes in the face of expanding production. In the United States alone, coal industry employment has fallen by half in the last 20 years, despite a one-third increase in production.

    “Renewables are poised to tackle our energy crisis and create millions of new jobs worldwide,” according to Worldwatch Senior Researcher Michael Renner. “Meanwhile, fossil fuel jobs are increasingly becoming fossils themselves, as coal mining communities and others worry about their livelihoods.”

    Strong government support has allowed Germany, Spain, and Denmark to emerge as leaders in renewable energy development-and green jobs. The German government reports that the country was home to an estimated 259,000 direct and indirect jobs in the renewables sector in 2006. This figure is expected to reach 400,000-500,000 by 2020, and 710,000 by 2030. In the United States, the renewables sector employed close to 200,000 people directly and 246,000 indirectly in 2006, due mostly to leadership at the state level. China is rapidly catching up in manufacturing of solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind turbines and is already the dominant global force in solar hot water development.

    An estimated 2.3 million people worldwide currently work either directly in renewables or indirectly in supplier industries. The solar thermal industry employs at least 624,000 people, the wind power industry 300,000, and the solar PV industry 170,000. More than 1 million people work in the biomass and biofuels sector, while small-scale hydropower employs 39,000 individuals and geothermal employs 25,000.

    These figures are expected to swell substantially as private investment and government support for alternative energy sources grow. The most optimistic analyses project that global wind power employment will increase to as much as 2.1 million in 2030 and 2.8 million in 2050. Similar projections estimate that worldwide solar PV production alone could create as many as 6.3 million jobs by 2030.

    “Government officials now have yet another reason to put the full weight of their support behind renewables,” said Renner. “In addition to protecting our planet and phasing out an increasingly limited resource, policies that support renewable energy also support job creation.”

    Give it up Cannon: you’re just plain wrong, dead wrong!

  • As compelling as Cannon’s argument may be, the business is a dirty business that is not in the national interest. It is in Koch Industries’ interest. The president has grumbled about the pipeline project and may still say, “OK.” However, that does not guarantee that the State Department will approve the project and grant it a presidential permit. Beyond that, importing oil dirt to Texas is a stupid idea since Texas is oil dirt.


  • Cannonshop

    Wow, nativists and fruitbats abound.

    Where was all this concern for property rights a couple years ago-or even a decade ago? Unlike Bear Stearns or B of A, the pipeline’s a physical asset, one that requires periodic, extensive maintenance and WILL have to deal with local codes and taxation even if it IS subsidized-where local vs. Federal statutes are concerned, the standard answer from the court is to go with the stricter of the two, so if you’re worried about the Aquifers and the use of thin-wall tubing, it might be a good idea to talk to your STATE LEGISLATORS and communicate with your STATE GOVERNOR to assure that Eminent Domain takings are compliant with STATE ENVIRONMENTAL REGS.

    (None of which will, in any way, force compliance on land already in FEDERAL hands, mind you-BLM is a shitty custodian and a worse landlord.)

    Beyond that, though, people will be employed at the oil terminal, any refineries fed by the line, etc. etc.-and the Oil Market’s not regional, folks. More Supply with the same demand=lower prices, that’s the way the system is BUILT. Any counter-lever on OPEC’s power to set world pricing is good-even if it means we’re shipping oil the long way around the planet to China (a terminal to feed China would be better set in California, Oregon, Alaska, or Washington State-tankers wouldn’t have to go through either the Panama Canal, or Suez, see??)

    Further, Oil’s a tangible good with a constant demand that occasionally spikes, not a variable value good with fluctuating demand, and SOME jobs is better than NO jobs-esp. in light of the rather poor performance of “Green Jobs” programmes in actually placing graduates INTO jobs in the private sector.

    If you really intend to use Keynesian Stimulus, you don’t do it where it ain’t going to work-which is what Bush and Obama have already demonstrated by doing that very thing, but rather into industries that result in net export income and job creation that results in actual production of real, tangible goods that have an actual as opposed to fantasized, demand attached to them.

  • Igor

    The XL WILL require massive subsidies from USA taxpayers (Transcanada has already applied, and with their own pipeline into the USA treasury through Hillary Clinton they have an excellent chance of getting whatever they ask for), that is, direct subsidies as well as indirect subsidization through brute acquisition of right-of-way lands through eminent dommmain, and destruction of the rich Nebraska farmlands and Ogallala acquifer through use of the new cheap thin-wall (Chinese!) tubing hey are already buying for use therein.

    All that subsidization for oil that will not benefit USA citizens one bit! None of it will go to American gas pumps (it will go to the international fungible oil pool) so it won’t improve pump prices (except in China and India!)

    That’s why they’re piping it to Gulfport: to ship to foreigners.

    The oil companies don’t even pay corporate taxes to the USA federal government, so there’ll be no public benefit there. All that we will get are the liabilities.

    Oil companies are 60% owned by foreigners, so all those subsidy handouts will go 60% to foreigners. How generous of USA taxpayers!

    Even if the XL paid it’s own way it would be a bad deal financially.

    How can such a horrible result come about? If you had to name just one thing (aside from thoroughly screwed USA tax policies, extraordinary corporate privilege, etc.) it would have to be the astoundingly corrupt political establishment enabled by our blind eye to bribery (which has been alibied as “campaign contributions”, a transparent fraud) which has been untrammeled since the Supreme Courts mad “Citizens united” decision which allows an unaccountable monster called a ‘corporation’ to inflict any damage without accountability.

    Indeed, if I were King Of China and wanted to take over the USA I’d just instruct my financial people to buy stocks and then bribe the appropriate politicians.

    But maybe that’s happened already!

  • Actually, Les, the Speaker of the House should.


  • Les, look at a couple of my recent articles on OWS. Would like to know what you think.

  • Les Slater

    People should stop worrying about the Tea Party.

  • Republicans call themselves the party of business. Increasing Canadian oil imports benefits Koch Industries, which is responsible for close to a quarter of the oil sands crude that is imported into the United States. Pipeline approval would be a windfall for Koch, with its deep involvement in the Canadian petroleum industry.

    The billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch bankrolled the Tea Party. The Koch strategy for the 2012 election is to thwart the reelection of President Obama by exercising considerable effort to keep unemployment high and to restrain economic growth. They are getting what they paid for, control of the party of business.


  • Igor

    The XL jobs claims are greatly exaggerated.

    Grist summary

    …However, these tremendous-seeming jobs claims are based entirely on a report by the Perryman Group [PDF], commissioned by the pipeline’s owner TransCanada, whose results have been described as “dead wrong” and “meaningless” by Council on Foreign Relations fellow Michael Levi and environmental economist Andrew Leach, neither of whom oppose the construction of the pipeline.

    The only independent analysis conducted of the American job-creation potential of the Keystone XL pipeline finds that between 500 and 1,400 temporary construction jobs [PDF] will be created, with a negative long-term economic impact as gas prices rise in the Midwest and environmental costs are borne:

    Here’s the TOC from the Cornell report, available at Cornell XL report

    Table of contents
    2-Main Findings
    4-TransCanada Will Spend $3 to $4 Billion in the US, Not $7 Billion as Claimed
    7-KXL Will Generate 2,500-4,650 Construction Jobs
    8-Most Jobs Created Will Be Temporary and Non-Local
    11-KXL Steel Manufactured Outside the United States

    15-Construction Services: Engineering/Design/Technical/Support
    17-Perryman Study Deeply Flawed and Provides No Sound Basis for Jobs Claims
    22-Total (Direct, Indirect, and Induced) Jobs from Keystone XL
    27-KXL Will Have Minor Impact on Unemployment Levels
    28-Four Ways Keystone XL Could Be a Job Killer

    35-Conclusion: Employment Potential from KXL is Little to None; Decision should be based on other factors

  • Les Slater

    National interest? Most of us have no real national interest. The only real interest is that the majority take over the ‘nation’ and make it part of the world, get rid of all borders. Make it a United States of the World.

    As I see it the best solutions for energy are conservation and nuclear. Economic development can’t be sustained on fossil fuels.

  • Igor

    NONE of the oil will help the USA gasoline supply because it is too high priced. It costs at least 30% more to mine tar sands oil than regular oil. It is NOT intended for the USA market. To go to the fungible international supply it will have to be SUBSIDIZED! Who will pay that subsidy? Not the USA (although subsidies have already been applied for) because it’s of no benefit to us. So Canada will have to pay for getting their crappy tar sands oil to market, unless oil buyers in China and India pay the subsidies. After all, THEY are the ones most affected by supply problems since China and India pay for the vast majority of international oil. The USA uses only 20% of all international oil, and that fraction drops every year.

    So, getting the oil out is for foreigners benefit, not the USA. That’s why the XL passes clear through the USA and ends on the gulfport where it can be easily deported to foreign countries after refining.

    The net result will be that the Ogallala acquifer will be polluted (the new thinwall tubing will assure that), thus destroying the value of rich agricultural lands, augmenting the already lost values of lands seized thru Imminent Domain.

    The oil companies will make more sales, but the oil companies are 60% owned by foreigners, so the subsidies (whether thru lost land value or direct subsidy) will fall 60% to foreigners. This reduces the capital investment exposure of foreign investors by 60%. In other words, a $50billion subsidy to the oil company will be $30billion in the pockets of foreigners. How generous the American taxpayer is!

    Except that it’s NOT generosity. It’s cash on the barrelhead. Now that the SCOTUS has legalized outright bribery with the Consumers United decision, ANY company can buy the services of a USA politician openly simply by calling it “Campaign Contribution”. And that company can be owned by anyone, even outright foreigners!

    The question you need to ask yourself is: “how did we hand over the legislature and administration of the USA to outright foreigners?”

    It’s only a matter of time before they strip the USA of it’s wealth and value.

    And pretty soon our new owners will cut our wages to a nickel a day, just what they pay their coolies in China.

    Oh yeah, and there’s no 20,000 jobs. There are 500 jobs moving 8 times as the pipeline is built. And then a skeleton crew which will be unable to maintain standards so the pipeline leaks will be even worse than the already sordid record of such pipelines.

    You’d have to be the biggest fool imaginable to support the XL. Or a traitor.

  • So the pipeline will create X thousand jobs? That’s the only qualifier we need? Oh, well, go ahead and build it then. Along with the California High Speed Rail network, which will do the same.

    Funny, though: Republicans have been quite vocal in their opposition to the latter.

    National interest my arse. Ideological interest on the other hand… now we’re talking.