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Keystone pipeline…

November 11, 2011

Anti-Keystone Pipeline activists and other environmentalists are celebrating Barack Obama’s decision yesterday to request further environmental studies on the pipeline (for those who don’t know: the pipeline is proposed that would send oil from the tar sands in Alberta all the way to oil refining plants on the Texas and Louisiana coast).

The White House was to have made an official decision on the project by the end of this year. A decision that at this point was looking mostly procedural, as the pipeline construction is already well under way in Canada, and with the necessary land access rights being pursued in America. More concretely, Nebraska farmers have already been told where the pipeline will cross their properties and how much compensation they will be getting. Those farmers who have resisted have already spoken to the media about the threatening phone calls they have received and threats of court actions.

The pipeline was to buried in some of the largest and most important water aquifers in America. But the more the public began to understand the huge environmental implications of the pipeline, and people in places like Nebraska started to deal with what many are calling the bully tactics of Trans-Canada (the company building the pipeline) opposition began to grow. Now it’s getting international media attention.

Last weekend 10,000 people marched on the White House to show their opposition to the pipeline. Scientists, intellectuals, and Hollywood celebrities were arrested for opposing the pipeline. The issue is also coming up now at all the “occupy” protests.

So, rather than make his “decision” now, Obama orchestrated an “environmental review” of the project, which will delay the decision until after next year’s election. In that time, he can figure out how to re-route the pipeline away from some of the larger aquifers and present to the people a more “environmentally aware” project. (Obama really likes it when “everybody” wins.)

But I see no reason for the activists to celebrate. Two weeks ago some media outlets were reporting rumours coming out of Washington that politicians did not want to have to deal with the pipeline issue on next year’s election campaign. That they were looking for ways to delay the decision until after the election.

Should Obama support the pipeline now, he would surely lose huge Democratic support in those states the pipeline will cut through. If he came out against it, he’s a job killer, and he puts America’s oil supply at risk. Not to mention the billions in oil profits.

Trans-Canada is furious at the decision to delay the decision. Their billions in profit just got delayed by another year. Stephen Harper is officially “disappointed” at the decision (but is smart enough to understand the political astuteness of Obama’s decision).

Those opposed to the pipeline think they have won a major victory. Even Democracy Now’s news host Amy Goodman was smiling this morning. And she never smiles.

What they have won, in fact, is time. I still believe the pipeline is a done deal, and has been for quite some time. But, with time, anything can happen.

A lot of things can happen between now and 2013. The European Union most likely will be gone by then. Along with America’s economic corpse, they will have by then dragged the world into a global depression. We could be at war with Iran (and Islam) by then. A big war would be a wonderful distraction from all the poverty and mass unemployment. We could be self-righteous in our suffering, for we would be once again smiting the Arab Heathens.

So many things could happen by then that would allow for the pipeline to be cancelled.

But I’m a cynic on such things. North American “oil security” will be even more important by 2013. What with the collapse of the EU, and increased military aggression between America-Israel, and Iran. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Libya – in order to avoid all-out Civil War in their countries – would be forced to side with Iran – shutting down oil exports to America, and all of America’s supporters. (Which would be fine with China, because they need all the oil they can get at the moment). A “secure” and “friendly” oil supply will be paramount to the future well-being of America.

No, the pipeline is a done deal.

It’s just that at the moment, and in its current blueprint, no politician wants to deal with the Keystone Pipeline as an election issue…

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