Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gene Green, Al Green, Sheila Jackson Lee all support Keystone XL

If you thought that the Koch Bros only had their hands up the backsides of Republicans, think again.

Nearly two dozen Democrats led by Rep. Gene Green of Houston implored President Barack Obama today to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oil-sands crude from Canada to southeastern Texas refineries.

The project would boost America’s energy security and the U.S. economy, the lawmakers said in a letter (.pdf) to Obama.

“The proposed Keystone XL pipeline represents a true shovel-ready project that would directly create 20,000 high-quality domestic manufacturing and construction jobs for Americans who are desperately seeking employment,” the Democrats wrote.


Sean Sweeney, director of the Cornell ILR Global Labor Institute, said today in an interview: "This report questions the jobs claims promoted by TransCanada Corporation, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and other proponents of the pipeline. The report's findings should generate a high level of skepticism regarding the value of KXL as an important source of American jobs."

"It is GLI's assessment that the construction of Keystone XL will create far fewer jobs in the U.S. than its proponents have claimed and may actually destroy more jobs than it generates," Sweeney said.

"The industry's U.S. job claims, and even the State Department's analysis, are linked to a $7 billion Keystone XL project budget. However, the budget for Keystone XL that will have a bearing on U.S. jobs figures is dramatically lower – only around $3 to $4 billion. A lower budget means fewer jobs."

TransCanada and API's job projections also fail to consider the large number of jobs that could be lost by construction of Keystone XL, Sweeney said. This includes jobs lost due to consumers in the Midwest paying 10 to 20 cents more per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel, as Keystone XL diverts oil from refineries in the Midwest to the Gulf region.

These additional fuel costs -- $2 to $4 billion -- will suppress other spending and cost jobs, he said. "Furthermore, pipeline spills, pollution and increased greenhouse gas emissions incur significant human health and economic costs, thus eliminating jobs."

Lara Skinner, associate director of research at the Cornell Global Labor Institute, said: "The company's claim that Keystone XL will create 20,000 direct construction and manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is unsubstantiated. There is strong evidence to suggest that a large portion of the primary material input for KXL – steel pipe- will not even be produced in the U.S."

Overall, she said, "Keystone XL could kill more jobs than it creates. There are alternatives to this kind of dirty energy that, if supported, could create large numbers of jobs in the emerging green economy."

Meh. Twenty-two House Democrats, including Texans Henry Cuellar, Charlie Gonzales, and Ruben Hinojosa swallowed the "jobs" BS and regurgitated it back onto this letter.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to decide by mid-November whether the 1,700-mile pipeline is in the “national interest,” paving the way for Obama’s final decision on whether to permit the project later this year.

But the question is a major political test for the White House, pitting two of Obama’s core constituencies — organized labor and environmentalists — against each other. Conservationists have cast the choice facing Obama as the biggest environmental dilemma he has experienced during three years in the White House, and they insist his chances of winning another term hang in the balance.


Environmental activists, native Americans and religious leaders insist that the 36-inch pipeline would jeopardize drinking water supplies in the nation’s heartland and keep the U.S. dependent on a form of bituminous oil that takes more energy to extract than other fossil fuels.

'Game over' for the environment didn't sway these Democrats. The sick and dying children who already live near where tar sands oil will be refined haven't swayed them. I doubt whether a revised economic forecast or another bunch of dirty effing hippies protesting is going to.

Houston's air already fails quality compliance, we're adding a coal plant to the mix, and hey, the Republicans want to kill EPA anyway. Now Gene Green and Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee have signed on to this rush to environmental apocalypse.

Hope the money is worth it to them. Meanwhile ... we need to get all the money out of politics.

Get. the money. out of politics. That happens to be moving rapidly in the way wrong direction as well.

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