Keystone XL Pipeline — The “Drill, Baby, Drill” of 2012!

Our “liberal media” at work!

The Republican Party is picking up where they left off in the last election and helping to define themselves as the party “of and for” corporations – especially big oil.

In 2008, they had “Drill, Baby, Drill” and all the money that came along with that. This election year, they’ve chosen the Keystone XL pipeline to show how they plant their lips on the ass of big oil.

Once again, they have the media on their side in this endeavor. Media Matters for America did a study of media coverage from August 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011 on the Keystone XL pipeline.  The results aren’t a surprise to anyone who pays attention to reality. This chart tells the story pretty clearly.

The GOP has been tremendously successful at getting the media to play along with them since August of 2011 on this issue and the above chart shows us the results. The red bars show how “job creation potential” was mentioned in the coverage from major media outlets with the green bar representing the “environmental concerns.” If you’ve been following the topic recently, it is obvious that Republicans are trying to make this into their jobs program, or at least an attempt to show how the Obama administration is preventing job creation. Go read the whole article at Media Matters, it was very thorough.

When you drill down into the numbers (I couldn’t resist), it turns out that reality is much different than the propaganda that has been sold to the American people. In a different post, Media Matters has some interesting information that gets to the real job numbers associated with the pipeline. Here are some snippets that show a progression that begins with Fox News…

Fox Anchor Martha MacCallum: 20,000 Jobs Is “The Low-End Estimate.” [snip]

TransCanada Said In 2010 That Keystone XL Pipeline “Is Expected To Create Over … 13,000 New Jobs For American Workers.” [snip]

Wash. Post: Based On TransCanada’s Numbers, “The Number Of People Employed” Would Actually Be 6,500. A November 5 article in The Washington Post reported that TransCanada CEO Russ Girling “said Friday that the 13,000 figure was actually not a true job number, but actually accounted for ‘one person, one year.'” The Post added that “if the construction jobs lasted two years, the number of people employed in each of the two years would be 6,500.” [snip]

Cornell University Global Labor Institute: Based On TransCanada’s Numbers, “The Project Will Create No More Than 2,500-4,600 Temporary Direct Construction Jobs.” [snip]

Cornell University Global Labor Institute: “Based On The Figures Provided By TransCanada For The Canadian Section Of The Pipeline, The New Permanent US Pipeline Jobs In The US Number As Few As 50.” (emphasis mine)

The estimate by the independent group at Cornell University puts the number of temporary jobs at 2,500 – 4,600 and the number of permanent jobs at 50. Those jobs would certainly matter to the people lucky enough to get them, but it ain’t no 20,000 jobs for sure. And considering all the risks to the states that this pipeline would travel through, not worth it at all.

Republicans are either stupid or crazy, take your pick!

In November of 2011, the Republicans decided to embrace the issue in their negotiations for extending the payroll tax cut that President Obama was fighting for. The pipeline became their bargaining chip in those negotiations, even after being warned by the State Department that trying to force the issue would result in it being killed for sure. That didn’t seem to bother the GOP, from a State Department briefing on December 12, 2011…

The State Department has led a rigorous, thorough, and transparent process that must run its course to obtain the necessary information to make an informed decision on behalf of the national interest. Should Congress impose an arbitrary deadline for the permit decision, its actions would not only compromise the process, it would prohibit the Department from acting consistently with National Environmental Policy Act requirements by not allowing sufficient time for the development of this information. In the absence of properly completing the process, the Department would be unable to make a determination to issue a permit for this project. (emphasis mine)

But like the flat footed, clumsy party that they are, the GOP kept right on pushing it. So during the holidays, we were treated to the White House fighting for tax cuts for every American while the Republicans were blocking those tax cuts and supporting big oil. Coming off the BP oil spill in 2010, I’m not sure that is the group you want to wrap your arms around.

Just over a week ago on January 18, 2012, President Obama officially rejected the Keystone XL pipeline bid.

But the president said today in a statement that the congressionally imposed deadline did not provide adequate time for the State Department to finish a customary review of the pipeline’s route through six states.

“The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama said.

“As a result, the secretary of state has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.”

What is so astounding to me is that they don’t seem to really want the pipeline to go through, they just want it as a campaign issue. Steve Benen summed it up very well…

I’d argue that this is the outcome Republicans wanted all along. The GOP didn’t really want the pipeline; they wanted the ability to whine about the absence of the pipeline. This wasn’t, in other words, about energy production; this was about creating an issue for the 2012 campaign.

There were signs that the Republicans might abandon that tactic, but the other day, Boehner hinted that he may double down on that strategy.

 Besides the stupidity of pitting tax cuts for all Americans against the interests of big oil, Republicans also touted those outrageous claims of how many jobs it would create. Going into an election year that everyone says will be all about jobs, you would think they might pick an issue that would actually create some jobs. But instead, they’ve inflated and exaggerated numbers that even the company building the pipeline doesn’t agree with.

I’m seeing a new slogan, “Lay Pipe, Baby, Lay Pipe.” Now get your minds out of the gutter.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

H/T to The Washington Monthly and Media Matters for America

11 thoughts on “Keystone XL Pipeline — The “Drill, Baby, Drill” of 2012!

  1. Republicans want to destroy this country. I really think this is true now because of their endless greed for oil that proceeds the American people. I think it’s sad and disgusting.

  2. You realize there are already 21000 miles of pipeline crossing the aquifer, they have been studying this for over three years and working on a reroute. Work could start on the southern portion, creating jobs, and in a year be in Nebraska for the finish

    This is nothing but political pandering to the environmentalists and as soon as Obama is reelected and has their vote he will approve construction. For a group that is all about the poor and creating jobs, they sure attempt to raise prices by stopping domestic production and stop jobs from being created.

    The goal is to create a total entitlement society but it will take another term to do it.

  3. Sweet, bring on the entitlement society, that’s gonna be awesome. And you are gonna love it Skudrunner, I’m sure you’ll be first in line for all the cool free shit they are going to be passing out to anyone. Woooo hoooo! /snark

    It’s just one more symbol of how Republicans want to go backwards and liberals and Democrats want to go forward. Although I’m not a huge fan of the presidents “all of the above” bullshit from his SOTU speech.

  4. Our Houston Chronicle dissed the decision but not surprising in a city where 1/3 of our nation’s refineries and energy corporate offices are located. When I read the editorial wondered if they hadn’t just published boilerplate Republican talking points from! The jobs created, whatever their number du jour, will be mostly be temporary, for construction of the pipeline and once finished won’t increase jobs all that much at our local refineries. But how much of the tar sands, will be refined for diesel most probably exported anyway. They may not give us any more gasoline which most cars still use. Houston refineries already refine such low-grade oil imported from Venezuela and Mexico. Oil sands do not flow so will need an injection of hot water and caustic soda (NaOH). The distance from Alberta to the Gulf Coast is 5 times the distance to Vancouver, BC. It takes much energy, more natural gas burned to heat the sands, in order to refine the sands and to remove the great sulfur and carbon content. Thus refining the sands here in Texas will release 3 times the carbon dioxide emissions here in Texas and thus will have a great environmental negative impact here. Making sure more poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas isn’t released into our atmosphere will also add to the cost of refining the Canadian sands. So Texas, be careful what some wish for.

    If the pipeline isn’t built, Canada will most probably build it to Vancouver where the end product will probably end up in China, anyway. Pipelines have a good safety record, better than transporting oil products by truck, train or boat, but we talking about conventional FLOWING crude oil. My grandnephew, a pilot, used to work for a pipeline company flying low over the nation’s pipelines to look for any leaks and found them few, minor, and far between.

    A lot also depends on where one lives. David Kolb of Muskegon, MI writes:

    “Good. I hope it stays dead. The last thing America needs is a monster pipeline running all the way from Alberta Province in Canada through the heartland and into Louisiana, so massive quantities of toxic tar sands can roar through it, nightmare stuff.”

    People forget that many Republicans in the most Republican state of Nebraska also oppose it being settled until more questions are answered. REPUBLICAN Governor Dave Heineman has said he opposes Keystone XL’s proposed path because it crosses an ecologically sensitive area in Nebraska and threatens drinking water sources to 1.5 million people. Nearly the WHOLE state of Nebraska lies over the aquifer. The Ogallala aquifer covers 174,000 sq. miles of land area (ALL of the Great Lakes combined only cover 94,250 sq. miles). The aquifer lies under 8 states, in many places only a few feet below the surface making it easy to contaminate.. Without it there would be virtually no agriculture in New Mexico, Wyoming, the Texas-Oklahoma panhandle, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota. So it appears that when it crosses the backyards of Republicans from those states, (those who are not rubber stamped by the RNC) a different viewpoint might be heard than from Republicans who might talk differently if such a pipeline crossed their back yards.

  5. I kinda agree actually. We need to get away from oil and other harmful materials that do nothing but destroy our environment. Still though I understand why Obama chose that message, I would probably as well due to the populism behind it.

  6. The way Trans-Canada estimates 13,000 “jobs” amounts somewhat to fuzzy math.

    “If the company’s 13,000 “jobs” figure actually refers to person-years of employment, then the project would require an average of 6,500 workers per year for two years. That number is close to the one found in an Aug. 2011 report from the State Department (the federal agency in charge of pipeline review), which states that Keystone XL would require a construction workforce of 5,000 to 6,000.

    The authors of the Cornell study used the same data as the State Department but concluded that the pipeline would create 5,060 to 9,250 person-years of employment, or 2,500 to 4,650 jobs per year over two years. Skinner attributed the difference to the fact that the State Department includes a number of workers that TransCanada has already hired, while the Cornell study addressed only new jobs from pipeline construction.”

  7. Think how pissed the citizens of the world will be in another hundred years or so when the availability of oil will be depleted by our generation’s gluttonous addiction to fossil fuels. Oil is too valuable to be burned up as so much of the world now depends on plastics, fibers, pharmaceuticals all made from oil. Of course we know have plastics accumulating in our oceans and waterways, so we must start making mostly biodegradable plastics.

    The production of oil and gas in the USA was the highest this past year since 8 years ago under Bush and yet the GOP slimes Obama on energy. Headlines today in my Houston paper was that more of the Gulf of Mexico is now open to new drilling. There was a temporary moratorium after the disastrous BP spill, giving the nation time for MORE STUDY, looking into stricter safety regulations. So Sarah “Drill Baby Drill” Palin SHOULD be happy, but won’t be because it’s under Obama.

    BTW, Halliburton who builds pipelines (and may get party of the Keystone contracts) had profits UP 50% the last quarter of 2011, $7.06 billion in revenue. Damn “Obama Recession”! /snark

  8. I care about poverty, but it’s foolish to focus on the economy to the exclusion of everything else–the philosophy of “all that counts is that we create jobs, no matter what the cost, no matter the quality or wages of the jobs, no matter the environmental impact etc etc.”

  9. “All of the above” made me uncomfortable too, but there is a side to it that I hadn’t thought of: the President has said that any and all pipeline / Gulf wells etc. would be subject to strict oversight in terms of regulations and safety requirements. In that case, it may be that whie he seems to be handing the GOP what they want, he is actually opening a door to the dreaded “too many rules and regulations” that throws them in paroxysms. I don’t attribute some 11th dimensional chess to everything the President does, but I do know that he often has an unexpected “long game” in mind.

  10. The extent to which the Republican Party is beholden to the interests behind the Keystone extension proposal is so deep that they are unwilling, in an election year, to actually go after what happened in the State Department. I am a committed progressive and I support this President. That said, this is nuts.

    And the original piece from last year

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