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New Study: Koch’s Could Make $100 Billion on Keystone XL Pipeline Deal

1:17 pm in Uncategorized by Kevin Grandia

One Hundred Billion Dollars

A new study released today concludes that Koch Industries and its subsidiaries stand to make as much as $100 billion in profits if the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is given the go-ahead by U.S. President Obama.

The report, titled Billionaires’ Carbon Bomb, and produced by the think tank International Forum on Globalization (IFG), finds that David and Charles Koch and their privately-owned company, Koch Industries, own more than 2 million acres of land in Northern Alberta, the source of the tar sands oil that will be pumped to the United States via the Keystone XL pipeline.

IFG also finds that more than 1,000 reports and statements in support of the Keystone XL pipeline project have been made by policy groups and think tanks that receive funding from the Koch brothers and their philanthropic foundations.

“The Kochs have repeatedly claimed that they have no interest in the Keystone XL Pipeline, this report shows that is false.” Said Nathalie Lowenthal-Savy , a researcher with IFG. “We noticed Koch Funded Tea Party members and think tanks pushing for the pipeline. We dug deeper and found $100 billion in potential profit, $50 million sent to organizations supporting the pipeline, and perhaps 2 million acres of land. That sounds like an interest to me.” Nathalie continued, “We all know they will use that money to fund and expand their influence network, subvert democracy, crush unions like in Wisconsin, and get more extremists elected to congress.”

Download a PDF copy of the study here: Billionaires’ Carbon Bomb: The Koch Brothers and the Keystone XL Pipeline Read the rest of this entry →

Dear United States: We’re Being Total Hosers, Sorry About That

1:00 pm in Uncategorized by Kevin Grandia

 

It wasn’t too long ago when Canadians were shouting at the top of their lungs about George Bush, the Iraq War, Guantanamo Bay, Gay Rights and a myriad of other “American” issues.

But the tides have turned quickly. Canada is now what the US was in the George W. Bush days. I can’t point to exact moment, but all I can say it happened really fast.

Look no further than a series of over 200 community protests against Canada being organized for this weekend across the US. This is just the latest anti-Canada protest and I for one am getting more embarrassed each time this happens. I used to get no end of pleasure making fun of my American friends and their crazy backwards politics. I mean, come on, Fox News! Need I say more!

I lived in the United States for the last three years and only moved back 8 months ago. When I first moved there, people would snigger and say something like: “Hey, did you move here to run away from the right-wing nuts running your country!” At first it was in jest, but by the time I left folks were saying: “You’re not seriously moving back there are you? Canada is a mess right now.”

I might have missed the exact moment the devil horns were passed from South to the North, but what I do know is who is to blame, and it can be summed up in two simple words: Stephen Harper.

Our Prime Minister, who was elected into office by less than a majority of voters, is running recklessly over Canada’s image. We were once this mighty gem in the crown of the world, with untouched natural wonder. A country who was so polite that it became the butt of jokes! A country that punched way above its weight class when it came to international diplomacy – more than once I have heard it said that America is good at taking over countries, but it is the Canadians that are the best at rebuilding a country.

Now we are being protested. Our country has become a rallying point for people in other countries who want to make things better. Stephen Harper wants to ram regressive policies down the throats of its own people, and down the throats of Americans. He quite literally wants to ram a pipeline through US homesteads in places like Nebraska and pump our dirty crude to waiting offshore oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico. And the consequences be damned.

You know. That just isn’t the polite thing to do. To my American friends, I hate to say it, but you have every right to be pissed at Canada right now. We’re acting like total hosers. Sorry.

Company Behind XL Pipeline Environmental Assessment Member of Major Oil Lobby Group

4:24 pm in Uncategorized by Kevin Grandia

It has been discovered today that the company charged with writing the official Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline is a member of the American Petroleum  Institute - the largest lobbying group for the US oil and gas industry.

The company hired by the State Department and at the center of this latest controversy, the Environmental Resources Management Group, has already come under fire for what many critics call an overly favorable report of the Keystone XL Pipeline. In the report, ERM stated that the pipeline project, “is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development” of the tar sands. Therefore, it will also have little impact on climate change.

On the heels of today’s evidence of ERM’s close ties to the American Petroleum Institute, six major environmental groups are calling for a new environmental assessment to be done by State on the Keystone Pipeline project.

To date, the American Petroluem Institute has spent over $22 million lobbying in favor of the construction of the Keystone Pipeline project.

Another Oil Pipeline Spill on the Weekend, Where’s the Media Attention?

11:24 am in Uncategorized by Kevin Grandia

A bird in flight over Vince Bayou

Part of the Vince Bayou, where a Shell Oil pipeline reportedly spilled this week.

While clean up continues on the Exxon oil spill in Arkansas, another oil pipeline burst was detected over the weekend – this time in Houston, Texas.

The Shell Oil owned pipeline burst was detected Friday by the US National Response Center and has dumped an estimated 30,000 gallons of oil into a waterway connected to the Gulf of Mexico (as if it needed any more oil dumped into it!).

Operators of the Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary West Columbia pipeline, a 15 mile long, 16 inch diameter line, received warnings from the US National Response Center of a potential 700 barrel release (nearly 30,000 gallons) of crude oil on Friday, March 29.

Yesterday, representatives from the US Coast Guard acknowledged at least 50 barrels of oil had entered Vince Bayou, a waterway connected to the Gulf of Mexico.

So far this latest pipeline burst has received very little mainstream news coverage, likely because there has been so many spills lately (3 in the last week alone), that it is no longer considered “news.”

Of course, this all comes at a time that the Obama administration is under great pressure to make a final decision on the new Keystone XL pipeline that will complete a span of pipe from Alberta, Canada all the way to Texas. The Keystone pipeline will transport diluted bitumen (also known as dilbit or “junk crude”), the same type oil that spilled from a burst pipe last weekend in Mayflower, Arkansas.

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More Controversy Uncovered Today on Keystone Pipeline Environmental Assessment Firm

3:37 pm in Uncategorized by Kevin Grandia

The climate change site, DeSmogBlog has found that Environmental Resources Management, the consulting firm behind the Keystone XL Pipeline environmental impact assessment, has been at the center of controversial pipeline projects in the past.

Activists working against the 2002 planned construction of British Petroleum’s Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in Turkey, singled out Environmental Resources Management (ERM) for what they saw as ERM “grooming” the BP pipeline for construction. Like the Keystone XL pipeline assessment, ERM’s assessment of the Turkish pipeline was seen as flawed and drafted in a way that gave all but the green light for the pipeline to be constructed.

Environmental and human rights group London Rising Tide went as far as occupying ERM’s offices in London, handing out pamphlets to employees stating that:

Your employer [ERM] plays a crucial role if low-key, in grooming BP’s Baku Ceyhan pipeline for construction.

In recent days, similar concerns have been raised after the website InsideClimate News revealed that: 

The State Department’s recent conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline “is unlikely to have a substantial impact” on the rate of Canada’s oil sands development was based on analysis provided by two consulting firms with ties to oil and pipeline companies that could benefit from the proposed project.

Researcher Brad Johnson writing on Grist then made the link to Environmental Resources Management, finding that,

The “sustainability consultancy” Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was paid an undisclosed amount under contract to TransCanada to write the statement, which is now an official government document.

The construction and operation of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline has impacted the livelihoods of local fishermen, as seen in this video: