Revving up the Keystone pipeline controversy.

It is called doublespeak. Bureaucrats use it to leave themselves open to whatever their political bosses prefer to do. They have not said yes and they have not said no. The American State Department issued its Final Environmental Impact Statement on the last day of January and leaves everyone in the same state as they were before it was issued. All the State Department functionaries did was get it out and get it done with as far as they were concerned. Like the Oracle at Delphi though you will learn that their findings are whatever you want them to be.

And in the classic stance of combatants, both sides of the argument about the controversial pipeline claimed victory. All that really happened was that others now get to have their say and, ultimately, President Barack Obama will make up his own mind whenever he gets around to it. His is the only opinion that seems to matter.

But how Mr. Obama is going to sift through all the half-truths, weasel words, obfuscation and out-right lies is the wonder. It is not that he is unused to that type of argument. His gut instinct on some of the concerns might be all that he needs. He has already made it very clear that he is concerned about the environmental impact. And the State Department telling him that something, even as big as the Keystone XL, is not going to drastically affect the pace of Canada’s Athabasca “oil” sands development, does not give him the out you might suppose.

The fact that the writers use the term ‘oil sands’ instead of the term ‘tar sands’ is a half-truth on which the tar sands exploiters are getting a pass. Read the State Department claim again that “no single project—not even TransCanada’s Keystone XL—will drastically affect the pace of Canada’s oilsands development.”  Now tell us exactly what it means. The statement is gratuitous—it means nothing, to Americans.

What is important is the process continues. The President has no need to make a decision yet but there will be further pressures later in the year. Frankly, he will probably be too busy until the off-year elections in November as he does not want to face opposition control of both the House and the Senate for the last two years of his term of office. He has more important work to do and why set himself up for trouble with a decision that he does not have to rush?

The big lie is that the bitumen to be shipped on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline links to the Texas Gulf ports is for the refineries located there. The Texas refineries can get bitumen from Utah tar sands—and they do not want it. The Alberta bitumen is for shipment to world markets that do not care about the environmental damage it causes.


Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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