Rep. Raúl Grijalva’s statement on the State Department’s assessment of the Keystone XL project is worth your attention. Grijalva is one of the most reliable allies of the environmental movement in today’s Congress, and he nails it in this blistering review of the reports questionable ethical underpinnings:
“This process has featured multiple documented conflicts of interest, corporate failure to disclose relevant business ties, and a State Department more interested in greasing the skids than doing due diligence. We thought we’d seen the last of this in the George W. Bush era, when profits came before science and wealthy corporate interests called all the shots.
“When the State Department was looking for a company to write the SEIS, TransCanada recommended its own environmental contractor without disclosing its existing relationship to the administration or anyone else. That’s already well established. The question was what the State Department would do about it. The answer, apparently, is to release the SEIS as though nothing had happened. Its own Inspector General is weeks away from publishing a report on the issue. The State Department, if only to maintain its own credibility, should have waited at least that long.
This is a version of the payola scandal on a subject that actually matters (yes, I know rock’n’roll was important, but still). Zoe Carpenter has a good analysis of the problems with the statement at the Nation; check it out.
Who are the people who’ve been spending heavily in support of the Keystone project, and who stand to profit mightily should it be approved? Funny you should wonder:
Keystone XL is do-or-die for the Kochs, since they own half of this ultra-filthy oil. Also consequently, they need to buy the U.S. Government to adopt laissez faire policies that will prevent environmental and other types of regulation, etc., which would threaten their ability to sell this oil fast and completely (before enforcement kicks in). So: “The cumulative cost to Koch Industries and Charles and David Koch for … political and lobbying influence, nonprofit public policy underwriting and educational institutional support was $134 million over a recent five-year period [2007-2011].” This is a pittance in comparison to the roughly $100 billion they stand to gain from selling their tar-sands oil — which can happen only if the U.S. Government approves Keystone XL and succeeds in browbeating Europe into relaxing their anti-global-warming regulations.
As the poster boys for A.J. Liebling’s quip, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” the Koch brothers would be ordinary every-day robber barons if it weren’t for their eagerness to mix ultra-conservative advocacy with sociopathic greed. As it is, they deserve a special category: species traitors.