The Canadian province of Alberta is home to a natural resource known as “tar sands.” They are primarily exactly what the name implies — sandy soil infused with a tarry residue. Scoop up the soil, process it at high temperature and wash it with trillions of gallons of water and a small amount of crude oil can be recaptured. There is only one problem. It takes more energy to get the oil than the oil contains when the process is done. The process emits huge amounts of carbon emissions. The water used in the recovery process is turned into toxic waste. And the result is a low grade product that emits a massive amount of carbon dioxide emissions when it is burned.
For the past seven years, a consortium of companies have been seeking permission to construct a pipeline across the heartland of America to transport that oil from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico, where it would be loaded on tanker ships for transport to foreign markets. Almost none of it would be used domestically. The supporters of the Keystone XL Pipeline project, including the infamous Koch Brothers, have spent a lot of money trying to ram the pipeline down the throats of the people whose property would be destroyed to build the pipeline. The people, though, were having none of it.
Protests against the Keystone XL Pipeline took place all along the proposed route. The promoters tried to buy crooked politicians who would pass laws making it illegal to protest. Hello? Anyone ever heard of the First Amendment? Armies of well fed, Armani clad lobbyists descended on Washington and state capitols across America to prostitute themselves on behalf of their clients. Members of Congress made impassioned speeches extolling the virtues of the XL pipeline, just as their political masters paid them to do.
The Obama Administration signaled recently that it was ready to make a final decision on this contentious matter and intended to reject the proposal. In a surprise move, the plan’s promoters asked to withdraw their application. It was a transparent political feint design to avoid a final decision until after the next presidential election. The people behind XL figured they might stand a better chance with whoever was in the White House next than the recalcitrant Obama.
The request to withdraw the application was rejected and on Friday, November 6, President Obama officially denied the proposal. In the end, he and Secretary of State John Kerry found that, instead of the thousands of jobs promised by supporters, the Keystone XL Pipeline would result in a grand total of 35 permanent jobs in the US. They also found the pipeline would have no effect on US oil prices or national security and that the environmental impact of the pipeline would be enormous. As reported by Think Progress, Secretary Kerry said the proposed pipeline “raises a range of concerns about the impact on local communities, water supplies, and cultural heritage sites,” and would “facilitate transportation into our country of a particularly dirty source of fuel.”
None of the thoughtful words from Obama or Kerry found favor with the conservo-crazies who are paid big bucks to parrot the party line espoused by their masters. Within hours of the decision, Gas 2.0 received an hysterical press release from something called The Heartland Institute which contained these stunningly stupid statements:
“President Obama has proven once again that he will sell out the well-being of the American people to appease the environmental extremism industry. The only asserted reason for this face-slap to our Canadian neighbors is the Keystone XL pipeline will carry oil. There are no environmental, economic, or diplomatic reasons to block construction of the pipeline.
“President Obama would rather sacrifice American jobs, American energy security, American military security, and American foreign relations at the altar of international environmental extremism groups than stand up for the best interests of the American people. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should be ashamed of their complicity in this anti-American decision.”
No one can say for sure how much the local protests against the Keystone XL Pipeline figured into the final decision, but they certainly helped focus attention on the proposal, proving once again that if the people will lead, their leaders will follow!