Yesterday afternoon, the White House issued a statement rejecting – at least for now - the proposed Keystone XL tarsands pipeline from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. That was the correct, even courageous, decision, pushing back against the powerful forces that support this expensive, risky, and job-killing project.
In fact, as at least one unbiased analysis has pointed out, Keystone XL would not reduce dependence on foreign oil, would not create jobs, would not help lower gasoline prices, would not guarantee the safety of fresh drinking water supplies for millions of people, would not protect the environment of western Canada from devastation, and would not do anything to defuse “North America’s biggest carbon bomb.” Instead, it would make matters worse in all those areas.
In spite all these inconvenient truths, leading politicians in Congress – including at least one with a major financial conflict of interest on the matter – have been pushing hard to force President Obama to approve this Big Oil Boondoggle, while fighting tooth and nail to keep the taxpayer-funded gravy train rolling for extremely profitable coal, oil, and natural gas companies. In doing so, they make wildly fallacious claims, such as the American Petroleum Institute’s ad and its claim that “The Keystone XL pipeline is ready to be built, bringing energy from Canada to power our country safely and responsibly, and employing thousands immediately.” False.
Meanwhile, many of those same politicians have been reliable opponents of incentives for clean energy, which offers the greatest hope for a prosperous, livable future for our country and our planet. Which raises a question: why is it that the prospect of losing tens of thousands of real jobs, ones that exist right now in the clean energy sector, but that could be lost due to the expiration of the Production Tax Credit, doesn’t seem to be bothering anyone in the House of Representatives’ “leadership?” Especially when those same people appear obsessed with ramming through the Keystone XL pipeline, which an independent, non-oil-industry-funded study by Cornell University found would either create no net jobs or “may actually destroy more jobs than it generates.” Clearly, this is a clash between the world of reality – one in which jobs in the solar sector are booming – and the world of obsession – one in which dirty energy players, in this case Big Oil, pay off politicians to turn them into rabid, zombie-like proponents of their industry.
Well, sorry, but it’s not acceptable to have bought-and-paid for, pro-Keystone Boondoggle politicians running the public rhetoric table with their nonsensical arguments. Especially when the bottom line is that this project is a gigantic giveaway to the tar sands industry, which will use the pipeline to ship refinery products to China and Europe, with little to no job growth in the U.S.
Sadly, with all the propaganda and hot air floating around out there, the facts no longer speak for themselves. Which is why, in coming months, supporters of clean energy and a health environment will need sustained messaging to continue making the case against Keystone, to get the facts out there, and to fight off the well-funded, incessant efforts by Big Oil interests to get their way, regardless of the adverse consequences for our country and our planet.