Fossil Fuel Industry Licks Its Chops, Anticipating Keystone Pipeline Approval

Fossil fuel proponents are licking their chops in anticipation of President Obama’s approval of the Keystone tar sands pipeline.
They believe the State Department’s environmental analysis was in their favor, but just in case, they are organizing the troops to make sure it gets approved.

Republicans in Congress have been pushing hard for its approval. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget, revealed yesterday, would remove the decision from Obama and put it in the hands of Congress.

Now, the American Petroleum Institute, which has kept the EPA in court over its right to regulate greenhouse gases, says it is organizing rallies across the Midwest in favor of the pipeline.

Local chapters of the US Chamber of Commerce will help too, after they’ve been forcefed propaganda that sets the record straight on the "misinformation" surrounding the pipeline – meaning the facts against it.

The Chamber is making the case that if the President rejects the pipeline, he will be succumbing to "fringe groups," according to The Hill.

Just as the environmental community sees the decision on Keystone as evidence of whether Obama is serious about addressing climate change, the business community says:

"For the business community, the Keystone XL pipeline has become a bellwether indicator of whether America will be open for business during President Obama’s second term or not. If the pipeline permit is denied, it will send a strong signal to the private sector to put their money elsewhere," Karen Harbert, chief executive of the Chamber’s Energy Institute, told The Hill.

The Chamber plans to mobilize local chapters using email and social media and the "Partnership to Fuel America," which is organizing businesses along the proposed route of the pipeline. They’ll hold public events, letter-writing campaigns and letters to the editor.

These actions are covered extensively in the new documentary, Greedy Lying Bastards, which is playing in theaters across the country.

Meanwhile, the New York Times published an editorial on Keystone, "When to Say NO," saying "A president who has repeatedly identified climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing dangers cannot in good conscience approve a project that – even by the State Department’s most cautious calculations – can only add to the problem."

And Tom Friedman’s column in Sunday’s New York Times, "No to Keystone. Yes to Crazy," says that although he hopes Obama will reject the pipeline, he doesn’t expect he will. Instead, the environmental community should use it as an opportunity to extract concessions from the oil industry in return.

"Environmentalists should have a long shopping list ready," he says, "starting with a price signal that discourages the use of carbon-intensive fuels in favor of low-carbon energy. Nothing would do more to clean our air, drive clean-tech innovation, weaken petro-dictators and reduce the deficit than a carbon tax."

And the head of the US Navy, Admiral Samuel Locklear III, calls climate change the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region. "Significant upheaval related to the warming planet is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen … that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about" (referring to Korea’s use of nuclear weapons, cybersecurity, etc).

Meanwhile, Canadian government officials have been flowing into Washington DC to lobby for approval of Keystone. This week comes a breath of fresh air – Tom Mulcair, of Canada’s New Democratic Party, who will challenge ultra-conservative Stephen Harper for Prime Minister – is visiting DC to lobby against the pipeline.

Harper’s Conservative Party is "out of step with the whole planet" and "weak and disinterested on the environment," he told the National Post.

"Global warming is a real issue," he says. "President Obama couldn’t be clearer. We’ve got to start taking this seriously. The only country in the world that has withdrawn from Kyoto is Canada under the Conservatives. We find that that is a scandal."

Read about how Harper has decimated Canada’s environmental laws in service to tar sands extraction and expansion.

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