Republicans are up in arms about President Obama killing – for now – the XL Pipeline project that would bring tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Decrying lost jobs and lost revenue, they have even threatened to stop the extension of payroll tax cuts unless the President changes his mind.
Of course, the Republicans created this situation in the first place. After some concerns about how the pipeline might affect sensitive aquifers along its path, a new study was order to find a different, less impactful path. The Republicans, wanting to shove the program through, enacted legislation within 60 days, thinking the President would cave and just approve the deal. Instead, citing that 60 days was insufficient to do a proper study (average is about a year), the President cancelled the program, leaving open the option that TransCanada, the company that wants to build the pipeline can reapply after a proper study is done.
Now, it’s no secret that Republicans love big oil. It’s more money for their benefactors. And have no illusions, this would have been big money for oil companies that are already being subsidized and playing a fraction of the taxes they should. As for the claim of more jobs, they have been claiming 25,000 jobs will be thrown away. But analysis of the numbers in a complaint sent to the SEC reports that the jobs number is exaggerated by 67x – and that the actual number is less than 400 actual jobs created. It also points out that while TransCanada estimates that the pipeline would only have the danger of spilling of about once in seven years, they have had 12 spills in the last year.
Wait – SEC investigation? Securities and Exchange Commission?
Yup. It seems that House Speaker John Boehner is looking out for more than just jobs by pushing this pipeline. It turns out Boehner holds stock in seven different tar sands companies. It is unethical for him to use political pressure that would benefit his private interests. You know, the kind of ethical problems that guys like Gingrich ran into.
The complaint filed with the SEC alleges “false or misleading statements about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline” and that they “consistently used public statements and information it knows are false in a concerted effort to secure permitting approval of Keystone XL from the U.S. government.”
And the prime individual pushing for XL to be carried through? John Boehner. Who receives campaign donations from the oil companies that would benefit? John Boehner. And who owns stock in seven tar sands companies that would benefit from the pipeline? John Boehner.
This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It’s part of a larger pattern of inventing statistics and making up data wholesale to get things to go their way. This isn’t about American jobs, or revenue. The majority of the oil from the pipeline wasn’t going to go to the US – it was headed for Europe. And you can bet, because of tax laws, that since the sale was going to be in Europe, those sales would be exempt from US taxes, meaning the companies would extract value from Canada, expose a swath of the country from north to south to the potential of spills and increased cancer risk, without bringing those profits back into the US.
The SEC has only said they are actively considering an investigation. If they do go forward, things will getting a bit stick for Boehner and his bad of cronies.