Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Shhhhh. Don’t talk about climate change; omit references to greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the Democratic response. From the Republican side of things, it’s totally cool to talk about it, in a derogatory, dismissive sort of way.
Following months of protests regarding the Keystone / Tar Sands project, a while back President Obama got cheers from the environmentalists when he announced a delay on project until 2013. Earlier this month, however, Obama went to Cushing, Oklahoma, to announce that his administration will actually speed up the review process for new energy infrastructure projects, which not coincidentally, coincides with TransCanada (whose project Keystone is) announcement of plans to build the southern end of the pipeline.
From Common Dreams, in late February of this year:
White House Vows to ‘Expedite’ New Pipeline Proposal
A proposal by Canadian oil firm TransCanada to seek new approval for segments of its Keystone XL pipeline project was greeted warmly by the Obama White House today. In a letter sent to the US State Department, the company said it would seek a ‘Presidential Permit application (cross border permit) in the near future for the Keystone XL Project from the U.S./Canada border in Montana to Steele City, Nebraska. …’
In effect, TransCanada is using a divide-and-conquer method by splitting up the original Keystone route in two. The lower half of the pipeline would now start in Oklahoma and travel to Texas, but because it does not cross an international border it would not require the special cross-border permit. The northern half would still need federal approval, but TransCanada would begin building the lower half even without it.
Obama’s Cushing speech – which, by the way, was made at Stillwater Pipe Yard, owned by TransCanada, providing a backdrop of steel pipes (we’re suppose to think “jobs,” and forget environment) – included this re-election campaign promise:
‘As long as I’m president, I’m going to keep encouraging the development of oil and gas infrastructure.’
His speech received criticisms from environmental groups. From the “White House Vows to ‘Expedite’ New Pipeline Proposal” article:
Kim Huynh, dirty fuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth, had the following statement in response: …
‘The administration must stop trying to have it both ways. President Obama cannot expect to protect the climate and to put the country on a path toward 21st -century clean energy while simultaneously shilling for one of the dirtiest industries on Earth. What the administration seems to be missing is that the southern segment of this pipeline would exacerbate air pollution in refinery communities along the Gulf Coast and threaten our heartland with costly spills — all for oil that likely won’t make it to Americans’ gas tanks. …’
And 350.org founder Bill McKibben, who has led protests against Keystone XL, focused on the impact of farmers and landowners along the southern section of the proposed pipeline, with this response to the news:
‘Transcanada’s decision to build its pipe from Oklahoma to Texas is a nifty excuse to steal some land by eminent domain. It doesn’t increase tar sands mining because there’s still no pipe across the Canadian border, but it’s the usual ugly power grab and land grab by the fossil fuel industry … .’
Employing a favorite method of law enforcement – allow protestors, but restrict them within a designated area, well away from the site or person being protested – “caging” was in play in Cushing. Obama Endorses KXL Pipeline, Native Americans Forced to Protest from ‘Cage’:
… As the president spoke, Native American pipeline protesters were ‘caged’ miles away from the event.
Native American activists in Oklahoma have expressed outrage at the proposal of the pipeline as it will ‘desecrate known sacred sites and artifacts’ on its path to refineries in Texas, in addition to the evident environmental degradation involved.
Caging is a bipartisan method used to control “free speech.” Nothing should be allowed to mar the cheering crowds and steel pipes=jobs 2012 moment. And that included the content of Obama’s speech.
From Lisa Song, Climate Change Disappears From Keystone XL Pipeline Debate:
Mining and using tar sands oil creates more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil. But that’s rarely mentioned anymore.
Neither the White House nor the EPA returned requests for comment. A State Department spokeswoman said the agency could not comment on the president’s Cushing speech. …
President Obama followed his Cushing visit with a stop at Ohio State University, where he praised advances in clean energy. But once again there was no mention of climate change. …
McKibben said his group will continue to emphasize the importance of climate change as the debate over the Keystone XL continues.
‘The administration promised way back in November that in 2013, when they reconsidered the pipeline, [they] would take climate into account,’ he said …
When President Obama traveled to Cushing, Okla. last week to declare his support for building the southern half of the Keystone XL pipeline, he stressed that the pipeline and other oil infrastructure projects would be done ‘in a way that protects the health and safety of the American people.’
But missing from the speech—and from most recent discussions of the controversial project—was any mention of climate change or the greenhouse gas emissions associated with mining Canadian tar sands. …
Climate change was once front and center in the pipeline debate, with federal agencies as well as environmentalists weighing in with their concerns. …
One of the most-quoted lines has come from climate scientist James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who calls the tar sands a ‘fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet.’ …
The president’s stop in Cushing was part of a nationwide tour to publicize his administration’s ‘all of the above’ energy strategy.
There is No Planet B. Keystone is just one more indication of how little concern our Electeds, and the Elites for whom they work, have for the planet, or the grassroots, 99%-dwellers.
(There Is No Planet B poster via Occupii)