Friday, January 16, 2015

No to the Kochs and the Keystone Pipeline XL

Holly Masri wrote an email to Mark Warner, Senator from Virginia, where she lives:

STEAMED. Senator Mark Warner just sent me a lo-ong response for why he supports Keystone XL, and will continue to support it. Full of every talking point in the Republican arsenal, all of them long disproved. Some of you may enjoy my response... even though he'll almost certainly never see it: Mr. Warner: Oh, please. Your talking points are insupportable, scientifically, economically, morally, and in all other ways except that they apparently support YOU, and those who pay you. It's obvious you bend over plenty far enough... I just hope the petroleum industry supplies you with good grease, you heinous, pandering, bastard!!

This was the email that Warner sent her:

Dear Ms. Masri,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

After six years of study and debate on this project, I believe it is time we move forward, which is why I voted in favor of approving construction for the Keystone XL pipeline on November 18, 2014. The legislation fell one vote short of the 60 it needed to pass. A State Department environmental review found the project will not significantly add to global warming, it will create jobs, and it will allow the U.S. to increase its energy security. I support an all of the above approach to energy policy, including alternative energy, solar, wind, certain biofuels, and nuclear. 

Canadian pipeline company TransCanada filed an application with the U.S. Department of State in 2008 to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude oil from the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast for export. The pipeline requires a Presidential permit from the State Department because it is part of the infrastructure that connects the United States with a foreign county. 

Following TransCanada's application, the State Department prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) identifying potential impacts of the pipeline and opened a 90-day public review period. During this time the State Department received a wide range of comments both supporting and opposing the pipeline project. The State Department Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental Scientific Affairs took into consideration comments from more than "400,000 e-mails, letters, and other communications submitted throughout the scoping process by public citizens, government agencies, tribal governments, and interested nongovernmental organizations as well as over one million e-mails, letters, and other communications submitted to the Department during its consideration of the previous Keystone XL application." One of the primary concerns from Nebraska residents was the pipeline's proposed route through the Sand Hills region of their state.

TransCanada then reapplied for a Presidential permit and proposed an alternate route. The State Department conducted a subsequent final Environment Impact Statement (EIS) and issued a report on January 31, 2014. Many groups and individuals have commented on the report, and a broad interagency group of eight federal agencies including the Departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) evaluated a variety of factors prior to making  recommendations on the permit application. The President's Executive Order (EO) specifically mandates that in order to receive a permit the pipeline must be in the "national interest." 

I will continue to monitor developments on this important issue, and will work with my colleagues to put together a sustainable energy policy that will meet the needs of the American people, now and in the years to come. Again, thank you for contacting me. For further information or to sign up for my newsletter please visit my website at


United States Senator

In this email, Warner reveals the primary reason for the Keystone Pipeline XL project. The pipeline would transport crude oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico for export. This statement clearly means that the only benefit to the US will be to oil refineries on the Gulf of Mexico, which will profit by refining the oil and selling it to foreigners.

The State Department's Environmental Impact Report, which I will call the Whitewash, states plainly that oil refiners in Texas and Louisiana need to find more crude oil to refine, because oil production has been declining in Mexico and Venezuela. The XL project thus lets fossil fuel exploiters keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere when there is a possibility to produce less. Furthermore, all the US benefits will be going to a few oil billionaires in Texas and Louisiana, the very same vermin who have been using dark money and huge campaign donations to thwart the will of the people. (Whitewash §1.3.1)

We should be crystal clear on this point: the fossil fuel industry will profit by this pipeline. It will not affect oil prices in the US because the oil produced is too dirty to use here. The effect on oil self-sufficiency will only benefit the fossil fuel industry that needs more oil to keep its refineries running. Not only is tar sands oil too dirty to burn in the US, it also uses more energy than other, low-sulfur oil, because it has to be processed in Canada by cooking it with natural gas. The process adds even more CO2 to the Earth's atmosphere.

Warner cites President Obama's statement that in order to receive a permit, the pipeline must be in the national interest. Warner does not explain how enriching a few oil billionaires in Texas and Louisiana is in the national interest. He also does not address the latest scientific findings, published in Nature (, that none (NONE) of the unconventional oil reserves in Canada can be burned if the world intends to keep global warming less than 2 degrees.

Warner blithely notes that the State Department took testimony from groups and individuals, but does not mention that every single environment-preservation organization in the world opposed Keystone XL Nor does he bother to explain why, since that is the case, the Congress should approve its construction anyway.

Bad Form, Senator Warner, Bad Form. 

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