Harper’s ‘Hail Mary’ for Keystone XL.

A ‘Hail Mary’ is that final play in the football game where you have to go for the goal or nothing. That is the play Prime Minister Stephen Harper is making to U.S. President Barack Obama to get him to approve TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline to carry Athabasca tar sands bitumen to the Texas Gulf Coast. It is likely the most hypocritical move the Conservative Prime Minister has ever made.

Harper has put Obama in the position of being able to save Canadians from their own leader. And there is no reason why Obama would. Our only hope is that he recognizes the play for what it is. It is desperation. It is a lie. It cannot be done.

Harper is offering to see if Canada can meet any environmental standards that the Americans want if the President approves the Keystone XL pipeline. Since any attempt to fill that pipeline with bitumen slurry would require a huge increase in pollution just from having it extracted from the tar sands, the offer is hollow.

Where the real lie lies is in the processing of that bitumen into synthetic oil. That is what lays the carbon footprint far and wide. The objective in sending the tar sands product to the Texas Gulf Coast has never been to refine it there. The Texas Gulf ports provide access to ocean tankers that can take the bitumen to countries that do not care about the pollution. If you cannot see the carbon pollution does the loss of the polar ice matter?

What is most infuriating about Mr. Harper’s hypocrisy is that he has been running advertisements ad nauseam on the taxpayer’s dollar telling Canadians how the government is controlling pollution in the tar sands. They have not. Every deadline for the release of those environmental standards has been missed. And we suspect that it is the unwillingness of the tar sands exploiters to agree to any controls and the Harper government is letting them dictate to us.

If Obama agrees to the Keystone XL pipeline, what will happen is that Harper will not be in office when the Americans realize the falseness of his claims. And neither will Obama be in office for that matter.

What could bite America in the ass with this travesty is a very large, very polluting spill of bitumen slurry somewhere in Middle America. That might be justice but let us hope beyond hope that it never happens.


Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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