John Boehner's got a lot of nerve. This morning he appeared on Fox News with Chris Wallace to discuss some pressing issues before Congress. During this interview, Wallace touched on the topic of the Keystone XL pipeline and if he and Republicans were still trying to get it approved.
Boehner, in a bonehead move, told Wallace that they were going to do whatever it takes to get the pipeline approved. When Wallace asked if that included getting an approval in exchange for the payroll tax holiday, Boehner said, "We may. All options are on the table."
Look, you might hate President Obama for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline, but he did it because he was pressured to approve the project by February 21, which would not have given him enough time to get a full analysis done on it. You wouldn't build a house from the ground up without fully investigating the potential issues you might have, would you? You wouldn't build a car from scratch without doing all the research necessary on the kinds of parts you'd need, would you? Why is Obama being vilified for not rubber stamping a project that has not been fully investigated for environmental impact?
Proponents of the pipeline cry about the jobs it would create and how Obama must hate American because he won't approve it. The fact is, the bulk of those jobs would only be in the construction of the pipeline. After it's completed, those jobs would go away, save for a very few TransCanada employees to monitor it. The sludge would travel south, through some of the United State's most fragile and precious natural resources. And then what? What happens when that sand tar gets to Texas? It would get refined in a stinky, filthy process and then it would be shipped overseas.
According to Canadian news site The Ledger, President Obama apparently called Prime Minister Harper and told him TransCanada can reapply with an amended route around Nebraska's Ogallala aquifer and the Sandhills. Republicans have been crying foul, saying Obama has had plenty of time to find out if this project is good or bad, but for Boehner and his cronies to essentially say they'll make the American people pay because the president has done something they don't like is asinine and petulant.
And, for what it's worth, there is a large population of people on both ends of the political spectrum, who are completely and totally against the pipeline. Folks who'd previously been all for it changed their minds after learning more about the project. Existing tar sands pipelines in Canada and in the United States have already experienced problems with leaks and breaks.
Tar sands refining simply isn't efficient. It uses more energy than it produces. Some facts:
- Tar sands are about 90 percent sand, clay, and water, and 10 percent bitumen, and thick substance that can be refined into a synthetic oil.
- It takes about 2 to 4 tons of tar sand and 2 to 4 barrels of water to produce just one barrel of oil. That is an incredibly labor-intensive task. In other words, it's wasteful.
- The tar sands are very gritty, as you can imagine. Pushing them through the small pipe requires high pressure and high temperatures. The friction caused by this process of pushing the sands through will wear out pipes quickly, creating the potential for toxic spills that would scorch the earth with the high temperatures.
Boehner and the rest of the Republicans need to stop holding the American people hostage over an environmental hazard that could be catastrophic to the natural resources. The Keystone xL is simply a bad idea, and if this is approved, the United States would be nothing more than a doormat for a Canadian company whose oil will be going to foreign countries.
Â©2011 Reno Berkeley for Gather News.