Obama’s gift to the Koch brothers and curse to the planet

Jamie Henn, Co-founder and Communications Director of 350.org, writes: Here’s a unique political strategy for you: in the lead up to a crucial election, as anti-corporate sentiment is sweeping the nation, consider giving a huge handout to a major corporation that happens to be your biggest political enemy and is already spending hundreds of millions to defeat you and your agenda.

If that seems too crazy to believe, welcome to the Obama 2012 campaign.

Right now, President Obama is faced with the most crucial environmental decisions he is going to face before the 2012 election: whether or not to approve the permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a 1,700 mile fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the continent, the Canadian tar sands.

The Keystone XL isn’t just an XL environmental disaster — the nation’s top climate scientists say that fully exploiting the tar sands could mean “essentially game over” for the climate — it also happens to be an XL sized handout to Big Oil and, you guessed it, the Brothers Koch. You want fries with that?

Earlier this year, when Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) attempted to investigate whether or not the Koch Brothers stood to gain from the pipeline, the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Fred Upton (R-Mich.) called the idea an “outrageous accusation” and “blatant political sideshow.” Is it even necessary to mention that reports show Koch and its employees gave $279,500 to 22 of the energy committee’s 31 Republicans and $32,000 to five Democrats?

As you might expect, Upton was completely wrong. Reporters at InsideClimateNews and elsewhere proved that the Koch’s stand to make a fortune with the construction of the pipeline. The brothers already control close to 25 percent of the tar sands crude that is imported into the United State and own mining companies, oil terminals, and refineries all along the pipeline route. You can bet that the champagne will be flowing in Koch HQ when toxic tar sands crude starts moving down the pipe.

Which brings us back to Obama. It’s not too late for the president to intervene and stop the Koch Brothers from pocketing another profit at the expense of the American people. Because it crosses an international border, in order for the Keystone XL pipeline to be built the Obama administration must grant it a “presidential permit” that states that the construction project is in the national interest of the United States.

President Obama can deny the permit, right now, and shut down this flow of cash to the Kochs. In doing so, he’ll show that our national interest isn’t always determined by the 1%, in this case a few big oil companies and the Koch Brothers, but by the 99% of us who have to pay the price for their greed.

Denying the permit will also send a jolt of electricity through President Obama’s base, the millions of us who went out and volunteered and donated to the campaign because we believed in a candidate who said that it was time to “end the tyranny of oil.” In fact, this November 6, thousands of us former believers will be descending on Washington, DC to surround the White House with people carrying placards with the President’s own words in an attempt to resuscitate the 2008 Obama who seemed capable of standing up to folks like the Kochs. You can join here.

I can’t say that I’m privy to what the Obama 2012 campaign will advise the president to do when it comes to the pipeline. But if I was sitting in Chicago watching the Koch Brothers assembled their army of lobbyists across the nation, I’d be thinking that XL handout wasn’t such a good idea.

The Keystone XL pipeline network of corruption revealed through an investigation by DeSmogBlog, Oil Change International, The Other 98% and Friends of the Earth (click on the image below to view the complete network):

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7 thoughts on “Obama’s gift to the Koch brothers and curse to the planet

  1. scottindallas

    A fatuous argument. Pipelines are preferable to shipping the oil over rail or road.

    I’m sorry you like gasoline, but there is no other alternative. We should ship and transport it reasonably. Now, I am no fan of shale oil, nor of fracking as these are currently done. Sadly, the eviro-philes fail to think straight, becoming dupes for greenwashing. Now, I am an organic gardener, by trade–I will stack that against Gore’s hypocrisy, or any of these other “greens” who seem to embrace the physically/chemically impossible, just for prejudice against petro.

    Paul, I would encourage you to seek out Robert Brice. I believe he is earnest, and follows evidence, not slogans that feel good. I think he is available for interviews and genuinely wants to share his insights. Certainly, his positions are far more considered, and researched than the greenies you cited above. I don’t begrudge their having their opinion, I just want a fair and factual debate.

  2. scottindallas

    I’ve expressed my disdain for the Kochs on this very website enough. However, nearly any industrial policy is going to benefit them. They own vast aspects of the industrial base, and will almost certainly benefit from any stimulus. Of all the sins, of all the quid pro quo, we need more evidence than this sound pipeline program happening to benefit one of the industrial giants in this country.

  3. Christopher Hoare

    If Obama has the guts and intelligence to refuse the XL permit he will benefit not only himself and the US but a sorry shadow of Canada that used to be a respectable member of the world community—before the doctrinaire right wing Conservatives won their elections with 40% of the electorate. There are voices in Canada trying to warn against unleashing uncontrollable amounts of carbon from the tar sands, but the money is stacked against them.

    One of the most shameful sights in Alberta, where most tar sand production will come from, has been that of newly elected leaders of supposed centrist and progressive parties going cap-in-hand to the Calgary oil companies to assure them of their allegiance to the wishes of the oil industry. The federal government as well, has risen to power on the backs of big oil and redneck stupidity, and is 100% against curbing tar sands emissions (accepting industry make believe solutions to the threat).

    People like Scottindallas will be working in a much degraded world environment if the amount of carbon in the tar sands (and that used in extracting it) is released into the atmosphere. Face up to the truth—the automobile (aircraft & trucks) have been the worst thing ever to happen to the planet. If we do not eliminate most of the fossil fuel burning transportation within this century, the mitigation measures required, and paid for by your kids and grandkids, will plunge everyone into hardship levels equivalent to poverty today. Climate change? You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

  4. Norman

    A little digging, one can unearth the reason[s] for the pipeline. The tar sand product will be feed stock in making diesel, which will be exported to Europe. True, it may add a number of jobs here in the U.S.A., but considering the employment picture and the wages that are paid in Texas. . . . . . . . . . . you can figure it out.

    Another lesser known item, is the pipe itself being used for said pipeline. The thickness is thinner than usually the kind for pipeline service. Also, it seems that the stock will have entrained sand in it. Anyone who knows anything about abrasives, knows what that means! I should also add that the safety record for the O & G industry has gone down hill, especially as the quest for energy, has become riskier. One only has to look at the Gulf, to see where this could be headed. There has already been leaks/spills of the vary product that comes from said Tar Sands.

    One other item, this for all the people who spin for the Tar Sand project, go up to Alberta and see with your own eyes, the destruction taking place in the extraction process, the waste products that they can’t dispose of, then picture that same waste in your own back yard. Think of raising your family in such an environment, how unhealthy it is. Food for thought.

  5. scott

    As I understand it the biggest issue with fracking is the vast quantities of water it uses and pollutes. I know about contamination, but this may well be limited to certain geo-formations. I certainly think that frackers need to disclose their chemicals used in thr fracking fluids.

    As to shale oil. I understand this also is very polluting, and that vast amounts of energy are wasted to extract the oil from the shale. I get this, and don’t dismiss it.

    However, ethanol is also more polluting than gas/oil, has harmful effects on food supplies and I
    is harmful to engines.

    The automobile is a revolution, it’s been a blessing and has allowed us to glean more food from fewer acres. I’m all for smarter, denser, sustanable cities, and fewer auto miles, but the communication and shrinking of the world thanks to modern travel is revolutionary.

  6. scott

    Chris, I think you don’t appreciate what pollution was like 35 years ago. I think you miss what auto tech has done–cars hardly pollute at all today. The EPA has raised the standards several times over the years, such that, here in Dallas we used to have dingy horizons ans many ozone days. Though this year, and of late we’ve had very few, considering that the actual metrics have tightened over the years, that is remarkable.

    There is a green lobby as unconcerned with facts and balance as the Israel lobby. I appreciate their goals, but many of their tactics are less than honorable. One needn’t make Chicken Little scary claims to justify efficiency, conservation and smarter, greener policies. Also, one needn’t deny the progress we’ve made to encourage more.

    Again, I am an organic gardener BY TRADE. My hobbies are camping, canoeing and otdoorsy. I’m not some dilitante and I don’t tilt at windmills–which also aren’t very green–as they are so unreliable (12% of the time do they generate power) that they require redundant gas fired electricity. They don’t work when it’s hottest, or coldest and demand is therfore the highest. Windmills need battery storage, which is still rather crude, though much research is being done.

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