Smoke Screens And Enormous Lies, Boehner And The XL Pipeline
Smoke Screens And Enormous Lies, Boehner And The XL Pipeline
The TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline project has been a popular topic
of many on the right in recent weeks. Speaker John Boehner in
particular has used it as a pawn in the game of working American’s
bottom line. The project which would connect the dirty oil sands crude
of Alberta to the ports of the US Gulf Coast was attached to the two
month extension of the payroll tax holiday which is set to expire at the
end of this month. House Republicans and Boehner wanted to force a
decision on the matter by the Obama administration before agreeing to a
temporary measure which puts on average of $40 a week into the pockets
of working Americans.
It isn’t surprising that the Republicans would tie a ‘Big Oil’
hand-out to financial relief for working families. That is business as
usual. I am certain that no similar extraneous riders would ever be
attached to a bill that offered tax breaks for those in the top
brackets. What is particularly surprising about this situation is the
extent to which they will mislead or simply lie to the American public
in order to plow a trench across the lower 48. On January 18th,Obama
rejected Boehner’s efforts and the pipeline plan, so for now the project
is on hold.
TransCanada has threatened to go to the Chinese with their oil,
piping it over the Rockies to the port in Vancouver, BC. Republicans
would have you believe that once there, all the oil would be destined
for overseas consumption. That’s possible, but it is a pretty silly
argument considering there are US refineries just to the south of
Vancouver in the Puget Sound. Additionally, if the oil is piped to the
Gulf Coast, the destination would still be shipped to foreign markets.
In the mean time the effort to see the oil head south continues.
House Republicans and the Tea Party nation are screaming up a storm
about all of the jobs that are not being created without this project.
They’re pointing at the Obama administration, claiming that the
President is standing in the way of thousands of US jobs and lower
energy costs for the American consumer. All lies.
Estimates vary on how many jobs are at stake, depending on which
right wing mouth piece you listen to. The US Chamber of Commerce claims
250,000. According to gas bag Rush Limbaugh the project will create
200,000 jobs. For his part, House Speaker Boehner put the number at
100,000 during a Meet the Press appearance on January 22nd. The American
Petroleum Institute has the highest figure I could find claiming
435,000 lost jobs.
So what is the real number? According to TransCanada, the company
which stands to make multiple billions off of the pipeline, that number
is 20,000. While that is dramatically less than the numbers put forward
by John Boehner and magical rightwing number generators, it is still
quite a few jobs by most measures. It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Not everyone agrees however. According to the US State Department analysis,
half of these jobs are actually in Canada. Furthermore, TransCanada
counted the jobs twice. The 20,000 total comes from 10,000 temporary
employees working each year, for two years, to complete the project.
They doubled the number, apparently to make it look good.
With half of these jobs being north of the border, a real estimate of
temporary jobs created in the US is closer to 5,000. A very in-depth report
by Cornell University puts the realistic number as low as 2,500 actual
US jobs. After construction, these jobs disappear. The number of
permanent jobs in the US directly involved in the maintenance and
operation of the pipeline is much lower. In an interview with CNN on
November 11th of last year, Robert Jones, Vice President of TransCanada
gave his best wild-ass-guess, “[We’re] probably looking at…from Montana to Houston, I don’t know, [job creation] in the hundreds.”
There is no questioning that these jobs would have real paychecks
that Americans would be happy to have, but with a total of only a few
hundred permanent jobs for US workers, it’s important to look at the
costs of these jobs. At one point, regions of the upper Midwest paid
higher prices for their fuel than other areas of the country because oil
had to be trucked from the Gulf coast to the refineries in the north.
That changed in recent years with the increase of oil flowing out of the
sands of Alberta.
If the pipeline is completed, this cheap source of crude will be taken away. According to Canada’s National Energy Board,
it is expected the cost of crude in 15 states will increase by an
annual total of between $2 and $4 billion. The real cost to consumers is
an increase of 10-20 cents per gallon over current prices. That is a
lot of money to ask of residents of the upper Midwest for an addition of
permanent jobs totaling “in the hundreds.”
barrel of oil that comes out of those sands in Canada is a barrel of
oil we don’t have to buy from a foreign source,” ~ Rick Perry
If TransCanada can get its crude to a port, it will then be available
to sell it on the global market at a considerably higher price. Once on
the Gulf Coast this oil will be of very little benefit to the US
public. The tar oil will trade at the same prices as oil from any other
source, including oil from the Middle East. The quantity projected is
insignificant enough that its addition to the world supply will not
reduce prices globally or domestically.
With all this evidence, it’s clear this has nothing to do with
creating jobs in the US, as John Boehner would have you believe. It also
has nothing to do with reducing energy costs for US citizens, which it
won’t. In fact, one likely reason that Boehner is so willing to lie to
you and the American public about the job numbers and energy supply is
that he stands to make a boat load of money should this deal go through.
He owns stock in Canadian oil companies.
In his 2010 financial statement,
Boehner shows, for one, ownership of between $15,000 and $50,000 in
Canadian Natural Resources, a major player in the Canadian tar sands
industry. Strangely, if you look at his reported assets for 2009, before
approval of the pipeline was being discussed, the Speaker did not own
any Canadian oil stocks.
Republicans are now trying to push this project forward by stripping
the US State Department of it’s authority to be the permitting
agency. Although Obama would still have the ability to veto the bill,
that move would be sold to the willing as an example of the President
standing in the way of US Jobs. Don’t be fooled! Know full well, this is
nothing more than a political favor for Big Oil to the north and a deal
that would make the Speaker of the House a handy profit.
Greenpeace recently sent a letter to
the Security and Exchange Commission asking them to investigate
congressional leadership and TransCanada on the grounds that they used
inflated numbers in an effort to deliberately mislead the American
public. Let’s hope the SEC does the right thing and initiates an
John Boehner, you lie and you suck.
This is like, or is as bad as, insider trading. Boehner only invested in the oil companies when he found out about the interest and plans to build the Keystone XL.I hope the SEC takes up this investigation. I'm tired of the slime balls (all of them) using their office to get wealthy. If they're serving in Congress, Executive branch, of Supreme Court, they should not be allowed to own stock in any company. If they want to own stock, they should resign from office.
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