Saturday, May 25, 2013

I Hate to Say it, But Joe is Wrong

First let me say that I consider Joe Wilson to be one of my dearest friends in politics; he really is one of those weird people, an honest statesman. Several years ago he was vilified by the House and Administration, for simply - under intense pressure, because at no other time could such an honest and caring man be forced to do so - stating the obvious - "You Lie!" - and of course it turned out that Joe was right.

But this time, Joe is wrong and I cannot convince him otherwise. I am talking about the Keystone pipeline.

Let me say this - I devoutly believe that we should use our own oil and let the rest of the world find their own. I am a firm proponent of "Drill, baby, drill!" And I am certainly no greenie, slavering away after every false flag invasion on our environment, wanting everyone to go back to wearing leaves and hugging nature, hanging up their iPads for smoke signals.

But the Keystone Pipeline is wrong on several levels.
1st, even the 'revised' path of the pipeline goes across the sandy sections of Nebraska, over the Ogallala Aquifer. That may not mean too much to east coasters, I know. But the sandy soil of the Sandhills region supports not only dryland corn growth, but masses of cattle - that provide the east coast with its hamburger and steaks. Thousands of cattle roam hundreds of thousands of acres... and in the recent drought, the Aquifer was the only thing that kept Nebraska agriculture alive and competitive. But even a devout vegan has to understand that the aquifer provides water for six states, our own inclusive. Run a tar-sands oil pipeline across the sandy soil that covers the aquifer, and you have a potential disaster that far exceeds the recent pipeline leak in Arkansas. A former Keystone employee testified that this type of leak would be devastating to the aquifer. Like the rest of us 'flyover state' protesters, he was ignored.

2nd, the problem with gas prices will not be solved by running the Keystone pipeline, any more than it was solved by running  40 other pipelines that criss-cross the US, any more than it was solved by the Alaska Pipeline. The problem with gas prices starts at the feet of Congress, who, in the 70s, and in collusion with Big Oil and the greenies, limited the number of refineries that could be built and maintained in the US. Where are most of the refineries? On the coasts of the US. Where does most of that refined fuel go? Overseas, most recently to China.

3rd, the exhortation that it "will bring thousands of jobs to the US!" is a boldfaced lie. The most jobs it will bring is not 100,000, not 50,000 (the numbers keep going up, year by year) but - 6,000 jobs. Most of those 6,000 jobs are part-time, and only for the construction of the pipeline. After the oil starts flowing to the refineries at the Gulf, those jobs are over. Anything else is a lie. What would bring real, lasting, permanent jobs and lower gas prices would be to build refineries where the oil is drawn... but Big Oil doesn't want to do that, because then it would not be cheaper for them to sell their products overseas.

I could tell you things like the strong-arm tactics that have been used against farmers and ranchers, the threats of eminent domain (which is illegal in Nebraska) and the threats of supporters against simple folk who are promised 'get-rich-quick, sign on the dotted line' wealth, and criticized heavily for not doing so. That sort of stuff is typical east-coast tactics, not gentlemanly and respectful Nebraska politics. But the Pipeline has caused more contention locally - and purposefully - than anything else. The bottom line is that ranchers and farmers, generationally-long responsible caretakers of Nebraska's natural environs, multi-generational proponents of responsible crop rotation and cattle management, are being told that they should sell off quick and not care what happens to the property and aquifer underlying that pipeline. The problem is that they DO care. They also see that their resistance is classified under the 'greenie' hysterical banner, and this angers them. Being responsible caretakers of productive land is a far cry from the self-destructive hysterics of the green movement, and everyone knows it - except the politicians.

So, to those who don't live here, who worry more about the SRP's tritium in their water than about the infringement of tar sands oil into the waters that supply the far-distant breadbasket of the country, I plead with you - take a closer look at what is being said and promised. Then look at the facts... and realize that you, Joe Wilson, and the House in their grand gestures of salvation, are being lied to - once again.