The Widdershins

Archive for February 5th, 2014

Science is easy….even penguins can do it!

The long-awaited governmental report on the environmental impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline has come out…and unfortunately, while it admits that the pipeline will increase greenhouse gas emissions significantly, it also claims that this fact shouldn’t harm the environment. (Insert sound of head scratching here.)

The question is dual: Not just “WWOD?” (“What Will Obama Do?”), of course, but, WWJKD (“What will John Kerry Do?”). After all, the report came from the State Department, and last time I checked, Kerry was kinda in charge there. HuffPo columnist Dr. John Abraham explores this question in more depth:

I mention Secretary Kerry specifically because a year ago, he “made it clear … that he will play a pivotal role in deciding the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline if he is confirmed as secretary of state.” In addition, Secretary Kerry stated in March 2013 that “the science is screaming at us” to “take steps to prevent potential disaster” with regard to climate change. Just a few weeks ago, the New York Times reported that Secretary Kerry “has initiated a systematic, top-down push to create an agency-wide focus on global warming,” the goal being “to become the lead broker of a global climate treaty in 2015 that will commit the United States and other nations to historic reductions in fossil fuel pollution.”

Clearly, none of the goals Secretary Kerry has laid out are consistent with approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Yet right now there are numerous forces — both inside and outside the Obama Administration — pushing hard to approve this environmentally disastrous project, as the FEIS demonstrates. How else to explain the issuance of the FEIS despite the fact that Environmental Resource Management (ERM), the contractor that helped prepare the FEIS is closely tied to TransCanada, the pipeline’s builder, and despite the fact that the State Department’s own Inspector General has not yet released its report examining those ties?

Corruption and the Obama Administration? No no, couldn’t be. It’s not as though Obama were indebted to Big Oil and Gas, or anything! From the New York Times in August of 2012:

With energy an increasingly pivotal issue for the Obama White House, a review of Exelon’s relationship with the administration shows how familiarity has helped foster access at the upper reaches of government and how, in some cases, the outcome has been favorable for Exelon.

White House records show that Exelon executives were able to secure an unusually large number of meetings with top administration officials at key moments in the consideration of environmental regulations that have been drafted in a way that hurt Exelon’s competitors, but curb the high cost of compliance for Exelon and its industry allies.

In addition, Exelon, which provides power to more than 6.6 million customers in at least 16 states and the District of Columbia, was chosen as one of only six electric utilities nationwide for the maximum $200 million stimulus grant from the Energy Department. And when the Treasury Department granted loans for renewable energy projects, Exelon landed a commitment for up to $646 million allowing it, on extremely generous financial terms, to finance one of the world’s largest photovoltaic solar projects.

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