In 10 days the entire international oil industry will be focused on a small rural town in Nebraska.
Or will it?
On April 18, 2013, the U.S. State Department will hold the nation’s final Keystone XL public hearing in Grand Island, Nebraska.
In conjunction with the hearing, the public has been submitting electronic comments to the State Department for weeks, but there is one small catch. The State Department won’t make these “public” comments public!
It seems the State Department contracted with a company to handle all these comments, a company called Environmental Resources Management (ERM), ironically the same company TransCanada hired to help them with their environmental study.
ERM will then roll all these comments up in a nice tidy package to be used by President Obama and John Kerry when they finally make the decision on the Keystone XL.
Now we find out the public comments will not be made public unless a Freedom of Information request is filed with the State Department, and the chance of receiving any information before the pipeline decision will most likely be too late! This smells worse than toxic odors in the Mayflower, Ark., tar-sand spill!
You might ask why Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry must decide. Two reasons: (1) the pipeline crosses an international border and (2) Obama and Kerry must determine if the foreign company’s (TransCanada) request to make billions by slicing open our nation’s heartland is in our “national interest.”
Listen folks, this pipeline is clearly not in the United States’ national interest. First of all it is a publicly held foreign company simply trying to make money for its stockholders.
Second of all it would be constructed to do one thing and one thing only: to pipe foreign oil to Texas refineries so it can be sold on the world market which is about 25 percent higher than the price tar-sand oil is selling for in Canada.
In other words the price of this oil will go up once it reaches our southern coast. Yet there are people, including Nebraska’s own Third District Congressman Adrian Smith, who tell us it may lower the price of fuel. What economics class did he take!
Will the Keystone XL create jobs? Sure it will, temporary ones, and nowhere close to the over-exaggerated claims made by TransCanada, politicians and the national media.
When the dust settles on the construction of this pending disaster, real numbers say it will create 35 permanent jobs in America, 13 of them in Nebraska according to the this state’s own DEQ report. By contrast a typical super Wal-Mart will employ nearly 200 people. Now you tell me is the Keystone XL is in our national interest?
Some folks say because Canada is one of our largest trading partners, denying the pipe will make them mad. Hey, Canada doesn’t own that oil, oil companies do, and don’t for a minute think all those oil companies are in Canada and the U.S. China has already invested billions of dollars into the Canadian tar sands, as has Korea, Thailand, France, England and the Netherlands.
That’s who owns the oil that will be pumping through Nebraska’s Sandhills and the Ogallala aquifer! National interest? Certainly, but whose? Not ours, that is for certain!
So, let’s talk about safety. TransCanada would have us believe this pipe, nine times larger than the pipeline that spilled in Arkansas, will be safe. But Scientific American reported just last week that “pipelines in the upper Midwest that routinely carry oil from tar sands have spilled 3.6 times more oil per pipeline mile than the U.S. average.”
The facts are that pipeline companies are having a very difficult time keeping this highly pressurized DilBit oil inside the pipes, evident by major spills in the Yellowstone River, the ongoing disaster in the Kalamazoo River and now the Mayflower, Ark., spill, along with dozens of other smaller spills.
TransCanada talks about how it can detect leaks and shut down the pipeline. But in many cases the public finds the spills first.
In Michigan, the Enbridge control booth operators misread the readings for 17 hours, and never did detect the nearly 1,000,000 gallons of tar-sand oil that was gushing into Talmadge Creek, and ultimately into the Kalamazoo River. The public found the spill. Just imagine if that were to occur in the remote and sparsely populated Sandhills.
The bottom line is that big oil money, and millions of TransCanada dollars, have bought public opinion. We know big oil is a major contributor to political campaigns, and one could make the case that it has worked considering Nebraska’s entire Washington contingency and governor are in favor of the pipe.
Well, thank goodness for the people of Nebraska. Hundreds of courageous landowners and concerned citizens in our state have done nearly everything in their power to counter big money with common sense. Their love of the land is born from a pioneering spirit that is alive and well.
They have proven Nebraskans can make up our own minds, and they have shown our opinions are not for sale at any price! Had it not been for these brave stewards of the land, the Keystone XL may have already been buried in our soil, just ½ inch away from our water supplies.
Now these dedicated people, who have sorted through all the corporate and political spin to expose the real truths of this pipeline, and who are trying to save our most valuable resources from being decimated by a foreign company, deserve your support.
They will line up by the hundreds to testify. Their comments won’t be hidden from public view because the York News-Times will be there in your behalf, when they gather a week from Thursday in the small Midwestern town of Grand Island, Nebraska to fight for all of us.
Publisher’s note: Let this editorial serve as an invitation to York’s mayor, the entire city council, York county commissions, Speaker of the state legislature, state senators, Nebraska’s federal congressmen and senators and our governor to attend this final opportunity to hear from the people who put them in office. There could be nothing on their respective pubic calendars more important than this project which will have a lasting and potentially dangerous effect Nebraskans. Let’s see if they can show the courage of their constituents and be in Grand Island on April 18, to hear the people of this great state.