The Keystone Pipeline once completed would travel 2,000 miles from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas. If the fourth phase of the project is completed it will carry one of the world’s dirtiest fuels: tar sands oil. Pollution in the form of carbon dioxide emissions from tar sands oil during production is three times higher than those of conventional oil. It requires three barrels of water to extract one single barrel of oil. That means about 400 million barrels of water are used a day for production. The waste water is dumped into man-made ponds, known as tailing ponds. The toxic sludge in these ponds includes toxins like ammonia and cyanide. Communities living downstream from tailing ponds in Northern Alberta have seen spikes in rates of rare cancers, renal failure and lupus. In 2010, a million gallons of tar sands oil poured into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan from a pipeline owned by another Canadian company, Enbridge. The spill exposed residents to toxic chemicals, coated wildlife and has caused long-term damage to the area that will not be finished cleaning up until 2015. TransCanada already attempted to cut corners by seeking a safety waiver to build the pipeline with thinner-than-normal steel and to pump oil at higher-than-normal pressures. Along the route this pipeline could pollute water sources, and jeopardize public health. The first Keystone pipeline, starting in Canada and ending in Illinois, had a dozen spills in its first year, ranging from 2 gallons to 21,000 gallons. This is the largest number of spills during any U.S. pipeline’s first year in history. The Texas refineries that would handle the majority of this tar sands oil already export 60 percent of the finished gasoline they produce. What we have is a dangerous project that will delay investments in clean and safe alternatives to oil and in the end not make us energy independent because most of it will be exported.
This really doesn’t sound like a good deal for the U.S. public so why would U.S. politicians want to pass a bill for the pipeline to be completed? Let’s look at Republican House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) for example. He received more than $ 1 million in contributions from fossil fuel companies. He also has invested up to $365,000 of his own money in seven companies that would benefit from a tars sands deal being passed. In my book I’d say that is a conflict of interest. The State Department released a report downplaying problems with Keystone XL pipeline. It was later found that three of the so-called experts working on the report had worked for TransCanada, the company looking to build the Keystone pipeline, or other energy companies that would benefit from Keystone’s construction. The anti-union billionaire Koch Brothers will be big winners if the Keystone Pipeline is completed so it is sad to see the AFL-CIO and other unions get in bed with them to pass legislation to get the pipeline finished.
Are you still thinking, “What is danger to the planet and cancer compared to some cheaper gasoline?” Investigative reporter Greg Palast says “Prices for gasoline will rise by about 15 cents a gallon in the Upper Midwest if the pipe opens.” This brings me to the local buffoon of the week award. That would be Paul Lyden the V.P. of Lyden Oil who I heard the other day on the Dan Rivers talk show on WKBN radio. Paul said President Obama is opposed to the U.S. becoming energy independent because he opposes the Keystone Pipeline. Mr. Lyden says his oil business is doing great and we can all travel this summer as the price of a gallon of gas will stay affordable at under $4.00 a gallon. Mr. Lyden might be swimming in luxury from the price of oil but it is drowning consumers like Mr. E. Over the last few months Mrs. E. has been keeping track of our monthly cost of fuel for our cars. It has been averaging $275 a month for our cars that get about 25 miles per gallon. Our fuel usage is for travel to work and around the area and doesn’t include any of those long trips Mr. Lyden says I can afford to take for the summer.
I don’t know about you but that $275 a month is a big chunk out of our monthly income. We really don’t go out a lot though we’d like to. We’d love to be able to afford to go to every play at the Oakland and Rust Belt theaters. We’d love to be able to afford to go to see the Youngstown Symphony or concerts at Blossom. We couldn’t afford to pay $45 each to go to the Big Tap In craft beer festival. It would be a waste of my time anyway as I can’t afford to acquire a taste for craft beers. I get invitations for events that I’d love to support or contribute towards but I can’t afford it. I’d love to be able to donate money to NPR, and starving kids around the world. I wish Mrs. E and I had that $275 a month to put into a retirement account instead of into fuel for a couple of fossil fuel polluting vehicles. Paul Lyden earns buffoon of the week because he and his family are laughing all the way to the bank while the Elecpencil family will be crying all the way to the poor house. I think BP really means be poor, if you go to EXXON your money is all gone and if you go to GetGo it should be called GetPoor. When you need gasoline check this site for the best price.
Since I mentioned Dan Rivers let me point out runner-up buffoon of the week. That would be Bob from Austintown who is retired and has dedicated his life to calling as many talk radio shows locally and around the country as possible on a daily basis. Bob has no sense of humor but tries to be funny anyways and always comes off as an ass. Bob is a retired working-class guy who hates unions, the ACLU and calls everyone a clown. It means Bob was a guy who loved to bend over for the boss when he had a job, that he hates the Constitution and that he wears sad face clown makeup. Bob earns a buffoon award for his recent comment on a nationally syndicated radio program. Bob told the host, “I talk to Dan Rivers a few times a week and Dan is a very intelligent man.” The fact is Dan is a union hating, democrat hating, immigrant hating and fact hating small-minded creep. That make Dan qualified in his role as a frequent speaker at hate-filled Teabagger events.
Tracey from the “Tracey and Friends” talk show on WSOM radio was also in the running for local buffoon of the week. On Memorial Day Tracey had a local white man call and say he was on his way to the station to do the black community a favor. When he arrived he stated he had come to tell the black community what was wrong with them and what they should do to make things better. He set about trashing blacks for their morals and ethics and said their salvation was to join the GOP. He said that most large cities that are doing poorly are run by democrats. He of course didn’t mention that the states that are the poorest and doing terrible economically are run by republicans. I was off work and decided to call the show but realized that the show was a rerun so the “Friends” could have Memorial Day off. Tracey, the Friends and callers who are mostly conservative blacks tended to agree with the white man who came on the show to be their savior. My guess is the man had time to be on the show because his local KKK group was not having a gathering that afternoon.
This week’s national buffoon is Pastor E.W. Jackson, Virginia’s GOP lieutenant governor candidate. He said that doing yoga might leave unsuspecting people vulnerable to satanic possessions. Need I say more?
The Kinks: “A Gallon of Gas”
Local Band: Longshotz
“If you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem.”~ J. Paul Getty