(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
They're spending millions to win over an increasingly skeptical America. A campaign promoting Canada as a reliable supplier of oil and a “world environmental leader” in the field of oil and gas development. Never mind that a vast amount of their tar sands are now owned by China. Forget the fact that China is choking on its own pollution at home. Forget for one moment this pipeline has almost nothing related to being "American": jobs, energy security or economics. According to TransCanada, the amount of permanent jobs created would be only in the hundreds. That's right. Not thousands. Or tens of thousands. Or hundreds of thousands. A few hundred.
In contrast, the US ethanol industry as it exists today – even while under attack by Big Oil to roll back our Renewable Fuels Standard – employees in excess of 87,000 direct employees. In 2012, ethanol contributed $43.4 billion to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and added $30.2 billion to household income.
Let's take that home-grown success to a new level. In 2005 the Bush Administration commissioned a study of the annual waste biomass resources available in the US. It was known as "The Technical Feasibility of a Billion Ton Annual Supply" . In 2011 that study was updated, showing we had well in-excess of a billion tons available annual. Biomass waste that would not compete with a food or animal feed supply. Waste that could be transformed in to next-generation, advanced biofuels.
So here's the point you should remember if you take away nothing else from this diary: if we simply converted 17% of this known biomass waste annually to biofuels, we would produce 3x more liquid fuel than what would flow through the proposed KeystoneXL pipline.
Wrap your arms around that for a minute. We could buy in to the notion that the world needs Canadian tar sands – produce a few hundred permanent jobs – or we could expand an already-existing US infrastructure, create 100's of thousands of new jobs, provide an environmentally-superior product to China – and create a rural renaissance in the process?
US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says biofuels are critical to rural America's survival. He'd be right. I can predict a robust debate with anti-biofuel proponents on the merits, or lack thereof, of this fuel supply – but let's save that for a separate diary.
So you'd think these dots would be easy to connect? What's not to like? The answer lies in who, besides the Chinese, controls the bulk of the tar sands geography. Forget they've lied to Congress about their 'interests' in the pipeline. Forget for a moment they've donated $120 million to more than 100 anti-climate groups working to discredit climate change. Forget that they support ALEC and their efforts to roll back state-based renewable portfolio standards. All of them. Forget they funded the effort to shutdown our government – and then claimed they didn't when caught like a kid with his hand in the proverbial Boehner cookie jar.
Of course, we'd like to believe the Koch Brothers, "Americans for Prosperity" really wants all of us to be, well, "prosperous". And I'd like to believe that my Congressman isn't a wholly-owned subsidiary. Or that when House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., tasked four GOP members of his panel to take the lead on reforming a federal biofuels mandate, including my Congressman, that they'd actually find common ground between the interests of Koch, Inc. and an expanding ethanol industry.
It's of little surprise that Cory's response to the failure of the panel was "nuanced".
But enough about those boys who want us to be "prosperous" for just a moment. Let's talk for a minute about Canadians and Christians.
Don't get me wrong, I like the Canadians. I just wish they would spend half-as-much political and financial capital focusing on something better than boiling tar. And I consider myself a Christian, albeit a failed one when measured by today's Christian standards. Most days I just hope the grace outweighs the guilt.
And now you're wondering where I'm going with this?
For a moment consider what a North American alliance, From Montreal to Mexico City, that had an "Apollo moment": the North American hemisphere could be a global energy powerhouse. Our resources in wind, solar, geothermal & biomass are vast. The foundation for an economy that creates jobs, is environmentally-benign and leads the world in innovation is within our reach. American inventors, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers, leaders a global transformation towards the development of more secure energy choices. Better ensuring our national security while strengthening our economy at the same time. American energy resources; investing in clean, renewable energy technologies that create American jobs.
Perhaps you think that vision is a cut-and-paste from a liberal think tank in Berkeley? One of those crazy, left-wing non-profits out of touch with reality?
Well, you'd be wrong.
It's from the vision statement of the Christian Coalition of America's, "America's Path to Progress Platform" .
We've arrived. And I want to be the first to give credit where credit is due. No swarmy comments. No backhanded praise. Just. Pure. Genuine. Gratitude. Partners in a better future. Partners in a "pipeline". A pipeline of opportunity, producing real prosperity, not the fake kind – like the preachers house. Prosperity for the masses – not just a few mansion-dwellers. Let's believe in American ingenuity. Let's believe in our fellow man north and south of our border. That's what got us here – and that's what will take us to where we're going.
Kill the pipeline, Congressman. Let's call it what it is: The Poverty Pipeline. If built, it will rob Americans of millions of jobs; it will rob rural America of the opportunity to create a vast network of advanced biofuel facilities, rob our economy of billions in GDP – and rob our future of any chance of a stable climate. But it will build a couple of guys a really nice house.