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Robert Greenwald writes: "We need to keep the pressure on and get the word out. Secretary of State Clinton, the country is watching: please say no to the Koch brothers and big oil, and protect the livelihoods and interests of ordinary Americans who can't afford lobbyists."

Billionaire activist David Koch. (photo: Getty Images)
Billionaire activist David Koch. (photo: Getty Images)

Sec. Clinton, Say No to Koch's Dirty Oil

By Robert Greenwald, Guardian UK

23 May 11


battle is raging in the US over whether we use our resources to benefit the haves or to protect those who don't have as much as the most wealthy among us. We see this where tax cuts for the millionaires are required in order to continue giving unemployment benefits to the out-of-work. It took place around the attempt to reform Wall Street. We see it in cuts to education, and attempts to bust unions. The latest battle over whom our country chooses to protect goes straight to the heartland, in the form of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, currently under review by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline deals with what is called "dirty oil" tar sands. Tar sands production carbon dioxide emissions are three times higher that those of conventional oil. The amount of oil Keystone XL would carry is equal to the pollution level of adding six million new cars to our roads. Tar sands mining operations involve a vast drilling infrastructure, open pit mines, and toxic wasteland ponds up to three miles wide. The extraction process involves strip-mining and drilling that injects steam into the ground to melt the tar-like crude oil from the sand and requires a massive amount of energy and water.

In addition to pollution and harm to the environment, Keystone XL directly puts at risk the land of families across a full stretch of our country. The pipeline would cross through six states and several major rivers, in addition to the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies clean water to two million Americans. The present Keystone pipeline has already experienced seven leaks, making the question when, not if, Keystone XL will also have a disastrous spill.

As if all of that wasn't reason enough to call this a bad idea, Keystone XL is actually expected - by its operating company's own admission - to raise the prices of oil in the Midwest, and not bring it down in the rest of the country.

Whenever such a harmful project is en route to approval, it needs to be asked who stands to benefit from it. Unsurprisingly, two of the key people best placed to benefit from this pipeline are the Koch brothers. As David Sassoon of Solve Climate reports, via ClimateProgress:

"The Keystone XL pipeline, awaiting a thumbs up or down on a presidential permit, would increase the import of heavy oil from Canada's oil sands to the US by as much as 510,000 barrels a day, if it gets built.... A SolveClimate News analysis, based on publicly available records, shows that Koch Industries is already responsible for close to 25% of the oil sands crude that is imported into the United States, and is well-positioned to benefit from increasing Canadian oil imports.

"A Koch Industries operation in Calgary, Alberta, called Flint Hills Resources Canada LP, supplies about 250,000 barrels of tar sands oil a day to a heavy oil refinery in Minnesota, also owned by the Koch brothers. Flint Hills Resources Canada also operates a crude oil terminal in Hardisty, Alberta, the starting point of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline."

Keystone XL is only the latest political fight where the Koch brothers hope to keep secret their involvement and financial interest. And now they're going after Midwest land, the property passed down through generations of family, and the safety of our drinking water and air.

This Monday, the House energy and commerce committee Republicans held a hearing on the pipeline, in an attempt to push through approval even more quickly than the present process allows. This act of political theatre is another attempt by conservatives to push through the pipeline's approval, against the wishes of American homeowners, farmers and ranchers. Those in the pipeline's path have criticised the rushed nature of the state department's review process for approving the pipeline. Hearings have not been held on the department's latest draft analysis.

Just last week, environmental and ethics groups sued the state department to gain access to possible communications between a lobbyist for Keystone XL and the state department. The TransCanada lobbyist in question is Paul Elliott, who formerly worked as the national deputy director for Secretary Clinton's presidential campaign. The state department initially refused to fulfill a freedom of information request concerning his role; while reversing that decision, they have still delayed releasing the information since.

What happens next rests with Secretary of State Clinton, who has said that a final decision will be made on Keystone XL by the end of 2011. Brave New Foundation has made the above video to raise attention about the issue. We need to keep the pressure on and get the word out. Secretary of State Clinton, the country is watching: please say no to the Koch brothers and big oil, and protect the livelihoods and interests of ordinary Americans who can't afford lobbyists.

Robert Greenwald and Brave New Foundation's latest film, Koch Brothers Exposed:


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+10 # giraffee2012 2011-05-23 22:52
It is amazing that the Koch brothers (supporting the T-Baggers) want to turn the USA into a "non-middle" class society.

Without the middle class - there is no democracy - The "middle class" is almost the definition of a Democratic society.

Why do you think there are so many protests in the middle east? The educated poor have no work, money, food bc the dictators keep the wealth.

We have banks (sic) that are too big to fail that go UNSUPERVISED for crimes - even when caught. There is a difference between "deregulation" and "oversight" --- but the GOP pretends to call "oversight" = "regulation".

Google "who owns Bank of America" and you'll get a nice history on WikiPedia --- Wish Assange would publish the DIRT on B of A!

The Koch brothers are buying up or giving money to those who will give them what they want --- WHY? to be KING!

Now, the 2010 Stupreme Court Decision to give first amendment rights to corporations -- resulting in the bought 2010 elections -- was NOT constitutional.
In about 1813, the clerk included a remark by the Supreme justice about first amendment rights- IT WAS NOT A DECISION Leading to the 2010 decision. Therefore, Scalia/Thomas should be impeached: They slept with the Koch brothers - i.e. $$ and politics are no reason to "DECIDE"
Hillary - you listening?
+13 # walter brown 2011-05-24 00:14
no pipeline. every rooftop in america should solar panels. and our coastline should have thousands of off shore, windmills. no pipeline no fracking, no coal. thirty five of our nuclear plant are not at safety level. the sun. the wind. and water energy [hydro] dams and wave energy.
-8 # h.m. 2011-05-24 02:16
We common folk can fuss and fuss about such issues, but in the real world out there, sadly, those guys already own the country. We commoners just have to learn to live with it. Don't believe it? Just keep track of where the decisions go and who they favor. I'll always bet on the corporations and fat cats--sadly, usually winning bets. Now let's see how this goes with the Koch gig currently up for grabs!
+10 # KittatinyHawk 2011-05-24 09:02
Do not have to live with it. You are one of the reasons why this Country is like it is...
-14 # MidwestTom 2011-05-24 06:21
The Canadian oil sands are the largest oil deposits in North America. The Chinese are building a pipeline in Canada to the west coast of Canada to export the crude, that many have considered the Ace in the hole for the U.S. There are over 100,000 miles of crude oil pipelines in America. Yes there have been leaks, but none have created major crisis, and they won't due to improvements in construction and monitoring. Unfortunately, there is no viable immediate substitute for gasoline and diesel available today. The country needs this pipeline, because we need oil; but drilling here is severely restricted, our old fields are depleting, and I for one would rather pay the Canadians for crude than the Arabs. The heavy crude from Canada after it is run through a catalytic cracker is no more polluting than any other crude.
+17 # Bill Clements 2011-05-24 08:54
Sorry to disagree with you, but that's not what I've been reading about the process of extracting oil from sand.

A few facts:

-Oil sands/tar sands mining is licensed to use twice the amount of fresh water that the entire city of Calgary uses in a year.

-At least 90% of the fresh water used in the oil sands ends up in tailing ponds so toxic that propane cannons are used to keep ducks from landing.

-Processing the oil sands uses enough natural gas in a day to heat 3 million homes.

-The toxic tailing ponds are considered one of the largest human-made structures in the world. -The ponds span 50 square kilometers and can be seen from space.

-Producing a barrel of oil from the oil sands produces three times more greenhouse gas emissions than a barrel of conventional oil.

When you say the country "needs" this pipeline because we "need" the oil, I ask, "At what price?" Folks like you always minimize the dangers not to mention the consequences to the environment and those living in it. Look at the ongoing disaster in Japan. Have you been keeping up with the news there? And yet, you STILL have people pushing the benefits of and necessity for nuclear power.
+9 # KittatinyHawk 2011-05-24 09:10
Thank you. Too many people do not read the whole environmental impact. As I said if this was such a good, environmental, cost effective process, Canada would have done it.
We look away. We do not need as much oil as we are told we need. We are paying for the Rich, the Corporations use and Government use. Most people without jobs go month to month with use of heating oil. Only the stupid are driving daily when they need not to esp kids whose parents are too dumb to tell them get a job and pay for it yourself.

I seldom use vehicle as an unemployed, I cannot afford to. So I make one day a week count to do errands, doctors,etc. Hoping for job so I can tell oil where to go.
+7 # KittatinyHawk 2011-05-24 09:05
That was Bush telling China to do so, however, if you think the oil will be cheaper or better, think again. We are in debt to China, why would they give us cheaper rates?

If we look into the extraction process perhpas like frakcing we will see it is more lies being told us. However, the cost will be on those who buy it. If it were such a good idea, cost effective, Canada would be producing.
+11 # boudreaux 2011-05-24 08:00
I don't know what is wrong with you people on here who want this pipeline, we need to take care of Mother Earth in everyway that we can and that means solar power and wind, oil is so outdated and harmful to leave to our children and we have to think of them instead of ourselves. Now is the time to make these changes and start to take care of what we have messed up in the past...lets start being accountable for our actions....
Maybe then we can start to take care of America instead of every other country...we need the help more than they do.
+6 # Bill Clements 2011-05-24 09:29
I agree with almost everything you've written, except the last sentence. We've become increasingly aware of how completely and intricately interdependent we all are with each other, and that also includes all the other sentient beings that we share this planet with. We must certainly take care of our own country, but we are also global citizens and in whatever ways possible, must do what we can to take care of the rest of the planet. We simply don't have the luxury of believing in the mistaken notion that we can live in isolation from the rest of the world. That isolation is a fiction, not a fact.
+4 # reiverpacific 2011-05-24 09:01
I just wish that "they'd" quit calling the "Fragmented States of America" a democracy -especially Mrs.Clinton! Is the evidence not in -and now being rubbed in our faces by the robber barons?!
Wonder what these short-sighted monsters -or their spawn- will do when the planet is to polluted to live on?
+4 # KittatinyHawk 2011-05-24 09:15
Point is does Hilary still have axes to grind, if so she will side with Koch. If she wants us to revote Democrats than perhaps she will not.
But her and her hubby know how to play the game, they have been for the past three years.

We all can make sacrifices. How many times a week are you driving when you could walk, carpool, take transit? I have no choices on mass transit. I opt to keep $20 in truck for my weekly run. Otherwise I use my time wisely, take care of home, animals, and garden. I see people going up and down road 5 times daily...for what. Using 50 miles an hour on 35 road, for what? Kids do not care, mom and pop is paying. Wonder whatelse mom and dad is paying for.

This article speakd os oil and Clinton's Integrity. Let us see if she has any or sold it like the other women in Politics. Few and far, good women today.
+1 # in deo veritas 2011-05-24 12:33
One can only hope that she is not in the same class as Bachmann, Palin, and tohers on the lunatic fringe.
+2 # in deo veritas 2011-05-24 12:31
What the hell has happened to those who do not realize that the Communist Chinese are THE enemy even though there are no armed hostilities? We have watched and aided them in financially holding us hostage and buying up the rest of the world. MacArthur was right and now we realize we should have listened to him. Too bad also if Hilary goes along with their damned pipeline and the Koches. If so she should be removed from office as well as anyone else who supports it. The Koches are a mortal danger to this country.
+1 # Lindstr7 2011-05-25 00:04
I'm certain this is out of Hillary's hands. She simply does not have the power to single-handedly stop this.
+1 # Alejandro 2011-05-25 07:35
Well, un-fortunatly if I'm reading this right and Hillary has any say, you can bet there will be Tar Sand Oil in the pipe line.

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