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Obama Kills Keystone XL, But Tarsands Fight Just Beginning

by: Adam Schwitters

Fri Jan 20, 2012 at 01:00 PM CST


Environmental activists gathered in front of President Obama’s Austin campaign headquarters yesterday to applaud his decision to deny Transcanada’s bid to construct the Keystone XL pipeline which would have brought diluted bitumen, a nearly solid form of petroleum, from the tarsands region of Alberta to the Texas Gulf coast.

Adam Hammick, a volunteer with 350.org, was ecstatic, describing the decision as “the only time in decades big oil has been put in its place.” He added, “against all odds we won.” He acknowledges, however, that the fight to keep tarsands oil, which is profoundly nasty substance, out of the United States has just begun, and that there are more pipelines already planned, including the Seaway Pipeline which would bring existing stocks of tarsands oil from Oklahoma to Texas.  That there are so many new projects planned means “environmental groups can’t afford to spend this much energy on one project in the future.”

The President was forced to make this decision due to a cynical political ploy from Republicans in Congress who attached a rider on the Payroll Tax Cut Bill that stipulated he must make a decision on the pipeline within 60 days of the bill’s passage.  The State Department had previously determined that their environmental impact study for the project was insufficient, and needed approximately 18 months to fully study the pipeline’s proposed route. Congressional Republicans believe that they can use this as leverage in the November elections by painting Obama as a job killing tree hugger who killed a project that would provide energy security to America and, in the words of Transcanada’s economic review “hundreds of thousands of man-years of employment.”  Well, their math is just dead wrong.

Two non-idealogical reviews of the project, by the State Department and by Cornell University, show that Transcanada is wildly inflating job creation numbers.  The DOS review puts the total number of jobs at 5000-6000, while Cornell estimates that no more than 4650 temporary jobs would be created by the project.  Thinkprogress.org’s review of the Transcanada report showed “Among the list of jobs that would be created: 51 dancers and choreographers, 138 dentists, 176 dental hygienists, 100 librarians, 510 bread bakers, 448 clergy, 154 stenographers, 865 hairdressers, 136 manicurists, 110 shampooers, 65 farmers, and (our favorite) 1,714 bartenders.”

The notion that these pipelines would somehow improve America’s energy security is also erroneous. Tarsands oil already flows to market in the US.  What it does not do, at the moment, is reach overseas consumers in the burgeoning markets of China and India.  If it were to be refined close to major export terminals along the gulf coast, it would actually raise gasoline and diesel prices “10 to 20 cents per gallon,” according to the Cornell study. “These additional costs (estimated to total $2-4 billion) will suppress other spending and will therefore cost jobs.”

The Sierra Club is planning a large rally on February 18 to begin the fight against future tarsands pipelines, and I will keep you up to date on these events as they near.

To read the President’s statement on the Keystone decision, and thank him for protecting our environment and economy, visit whitehouse.gov.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Moving Forward In South Central Texas

by: Arctotraveler

Sun Jul 03, 2011 at 05:19 PM CDT

A  Response to a letter from the President of The United States The Honorable Barack Obama
By Gregory O'Dell  July 4, 2011

Living in one of the hardest hit districts from the economic collapse of Fall 2008 in South Central Texas, a ride in the country side makes one's head hang low to avoid the view of every other farm an empty house with broken windows that once had children playing and a big yellow school bus that was forever in the way of traffic.

Taking a family ride south of San Antonio, the view out the window is of ghost towns in the Old West including an occasional tumble weed that rolls across "farm to market" roads in need of immediate maintenance.

These small Texas "farm to market" roads are the Royal Highways that makes mineral resources accessible and the trading routes of food producing farms trigger economic prosperity of Texas City States of the new millennium.

All Rural Roads lead to American prosperity including our South American neighbors. Not too long ago, one could drive safely from North San Antonio on the Pan American Freeway all the way to Chile in 1995.

Reference: http://www.facebook.com/pages/...

I have seen this down turn before when the strength of the American dollar put travelers on airplanes that ruined 1000s of miles of the passenger rail all the way to Mexico City.

Not long ago, I could hop on train in one of two railway stations in Old San Antone with a backpack and a few hundred dollars in my pocket. The scenic view by rail was worth the few extra hours to visit friends living near ancient city ruins of the Aztec empire deep and safely in to what has become a DMZ zone 500 miles wide between our border and the main metropolitan areas of the Republic of Mexico.

You ask for my ideas to keep America moving forward. I can tell you that heads are up and people standing tall with the bustle of rough neck oil workers filling once empty cafes in small South Central Texas towns with just a dream-  The American Dream!

Economic recovery may be years down the road, but you cannot tell it now on the faces of locals after the permitting opened for the Eagle Ford Shale drilling operations.

If we want to keep moving forward in South Central Texas,  is to go back in time of conservative spending by state, government, and citizens. Invest some of the profits of oil wealth back in passenger rail that will make Argentina accessible to the average middle class family and heal relations with war torn Mexico which will strengthen our border security better than a battalion of Army Soldiers, Squadron of Surveillance Drones, or an impenetrable wall twenty feet high, stretching from Del Rio to Matamoras.

Some would say that would take a miracle, or a goal that is not obtainable within reason.  While others before us such as Friar  Bartolome de Las Casas wrote in his letters to the King of Spain "Apolog├ętica historia de las Indias" about the same Royal Highway made without heavy equipment or metal tools as follows:

"Then, there is that miracle -- such it may be called for being the most remarkable, singular and skilful construction of its kind, I believe, in the world -- of the two highways.... across the mountains and along the coast. The finer and more admirable of these extends for at least six and perhaps eight hundred leagues and is said to reach the provinces of Chile....In Spain and Italy I have seen portions of the highway said to have been built by the Romans from Spain to Italy, but it is quite crude in comparison with the one built by these peoples...."

Citation: http://www.columbia.edu/acis/e...

A miracle is a positive event in our lives that seem to oppose the laws of physics or the natural order of things. We do not need to wait for a miracle, reinvesting in passenger rail, Rural Road maintenance, and Freight Lines from Del Rio, Laredo, and Eagle Pass, would just take an investment of profits paid by oil resources. The return on investment would not only save Billions is wasteful sending on border control but regain trusted relations with our South American Neighbors and a balance in economic trade.

The construction and new routes of roads and freight train rail are already in the works by oil companies to gain access to Eagle Ford Shale in South Central Texas. Why not keep on moving forward with rebuilding by laying new track where once the old systems lay, infrastructure lost by inexpensive fuel consuming air travel over the last 30 years in South Central Texas.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Why I support Barack Obama

by: rebeloutlaw_69

Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 10:03 PM CST

I think he has a clear picture of what needs to be done and some great ideas about how to achieve it. He's an eloquent speaker, intelligent, and he seems to genuinely CARE about this country and Americans. Many Americans have lost trust in the current administration and the traditional ways of government operations, and when people's trusts are compromised it is difficult to restore. I think Obama's plan to revamp what is possible in Washington is commendable. The derailment and abuse of power by the current administration, and the unprecedented unpopular results it is still producing will take many years of labor to mend. The Senator's aim to work on policy reform while honoring our constitution versus catering to lobbyists and special interest groups stands to reshape the Capital and it stands to trickle down to my home town. I believe Obama is the only candidate that genuinely speaks to the possibility of change in government. I believe he can make a difference.

Vote Barack Oboma March 4,2008

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

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