Journalism in the Public Interest

What Is the Keystone XL Pipeline — and Why Is It So Controversial?

We sort through Keystone XL’s economic promises, environmental risks and the conflicts of interest that continue to make headlines.


Environmental activists gather outside the White House on Aug. 22, 2011, as they continue a civil disobedience campaign against a proposed oil pipeline from Canada to Texas. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

UPDATE (January 18, 2012): Today, the Obama administration denied a permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. In October, we explained why the issue has been so controversial.

By the end of this year, the State Department will decide whether to give a Canadian company permission to construct a 1,700-mile, $7 billion pipeline that would transport crude oil from Canada to refineries in Texas.

The project has sparked major environmental concerns, particularly in Nebraska, where the pipeline would pass over an aquifer that provides drinking water and irrigation to much of the Midwest. It has also drawn scrutiny because of the company's political connections and conflicts of interest. A key lobbyist for TransCanada, which would build the pipeline, also worked for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her presidential campaign. And the company that conducted the project's environmental impact report had financial ties to TransCanada.

The debate over the pipeline is both complicated and fierce, and it crosses party lines, with much sparring over the potential environmental and economic impacts of the project. More than 1,000 arrests were made during protests of the pipeline last summer in Washington, D.C.

Here's our breakdown of the controversy, including the benefits and risks of the project, and the concerns about the State Department's role.

Potential benefits — energy security and jobs for Americans — and how they're disputed

Proponents of the project point to two main benefits for Americans. First, it would improve America's energy security, because it would bring in more oil from friendly Canada and reduce our dependence on volatile countries in South America and the Middle East. Secondly, the pipeline would create well-paying construction jobs and provide a broader economic boost to the American economy. Labor unions have supported the project.

TransCanada estimates that the project would directly create 20,000 construction and manufacturing jobs for Americans. A study paid for by TransCanada also estimated the economic impact over the life of the pipeline at about $20 billion in total spending.

But a report by Cornell University's Global Labor Institute questioned those numbers, noting that the project would "create no more than 2,500-4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years, according to TransCanada's own data supplied to the State Department."

Critics of the project have also questioned whether the pipeline's oil, once processed in American refineries on the Gulf Coast, would actually be sold to Americans rather than being exported for sale elsewhere. As a New York Times editorial opposing the pipeline noted, five of the six companies that have already contracted for much of the pipeline's oil are foreign companies — and the sixth focuses on exporting oil.

The Washington Post, which editorialized in favor of the pipeline, said this should not be a major objection. "The bottom line remains: The more American refineries source their low-grade crude via pipeline from Canada and not from tankers out of the Middle East or Venezuela, the better, even if not every refined barrel stays in the country," the Post editorial stated.

Cozy relationships with the State Department — and a compromised environmental report

Because the project crosses the U.S. border, it requires a permit from the State Department. As part of that process, the State Department did an environmental impact report. The study concluded that, if operated correctly, the pipeline would have "limited adverse environmental impacts." But a New York Times investigation found that the company that the government hired to conduct the study had significant financial ties to TransCanada — and that this conflict of interest "flouted the intent of a federal law" requiring federal agencies to select contractors that have no potential interest in the outcome of the project being evaluated. (Update: The Los Angeles Times first reported the financial connection between TransCanada and Cardno Entrix, which helped conduct the environmental studies, this July.)

Environmental groups have also scrutinized the relationship between State Department officials and TransCanada's representative in Washington. Paul Elliott, who worked on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, was actively lobbying the State Department and Congress about the project for a year and a half before he officially registered as a lobbyist, according to State Department email messages made public by the environmental group Friends of the Earth. Elliott did not comment on the emails, but a TransCanada spokesperson said he was simply doing his job as a lobbyist.

The emails showed a friendly relationship between Elliott and his State Department contact, who wrote "Go Paul!" when Elliott secured the support of a key congressman for the Keystone project.

The State Department has said that it will consider the merits of the pipeline proposal impartially.

As the news organization Mother Jones pointed out, the emails also revealed "an apparent understanding between the State Department and TransCanada that the company would later seek to raise the pressure used to pump oil through the pipeline — even though the company said publicly it would do the opposite."

TransCanada had originally sought permission to use a higher-than-usual pressure in its pipeline but publicly backed away from the request in response to the concerns of citizens and politicians that higher pressure might increase the risk of leaks and environmental damage.

A WikiLeaks cable also revealed that a different U.S. diplomat had given PR tips to Canadian officials about the project. As the Los Angeles Times noted, the diplomat "had instructed them in improving 'oil sands messaging,' including 'increasing visibility and accessibility of more positive news stories.'"

Concerns about water contamination across the Great Plains

The proposed route of the pipeline passes over the Sandhills wetland of Nebraska — and over the most important aquifer in the nation, the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water and irrigation to a large swathe of Midwestern states.

This has prompted opposition from Nebraska politicians. The state's Republican governor wrote a letter to President Obama asking him not to approve the project, and state legislators are considering legislation limiting where the pipeline can be located.

"Clearly, the contamination of groundwater is the top concern," State Sen. Mike Flood told reporters.

Opposition to the pipeline is so broad in Nebraska that a TransCanada-sponsored video that was perceived as supporting the pipeline was booed at a University of Nebraska football game, which resulted in the Cornhuskers athletic department ending a TransCanada sponsorship deal.

But at least one scientist with significant experience with the Ogallala Aquifer said fears about contamination from the pipeline are overblown.

James Goeke, a hydrogeologist and professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska, wrote on The New York Times' website that the geography of the aquifer — there'd be clay between the pipeline and the water, and much of the aquifer is uphill from the pipeline's proposed location — means that a leak in the pipeline "would pose a minimal risk to the aquifer as a whole." He suggested the government "require TransCanada to post a bond for any cleanup in the event of a spill," and noted that in particularly vulnerable areas, TransCanada has promised to encase the pipeline in cement.

Leaks and spills

The Keystone XL pipeline would carry a diluted form of tar sands, a type of natural petroleum deposit. Environmentalists argue that the tar sands, or "dilbit," mixture that the pipeline would transport is more corrosive than typical crude oil, and thus might cause more leaks in the pipeline.

These fears were heightened by an oil spill in Michigan that leaked roughly 800,000 gallons of tar sands into Michigan's Kalamazoo River in July 2010. The spill came within 80 miles of Lake Michigan, and a year later, the Environmental Protection Agency has ordered Enbridge, the energy company responsible for the spill, to conduct further cleanup, citing pockets of submerged oil covering about 200 acres of the river's path.

The Christian Science Monitor has a good, brief summary of spills on TransCanada's existing U.S. pipeline, and notes that according to the State Department estimate, "the maximum the Keystone XL could potentially spill would be 2.8 million gallons along an area of 1.7 miles."

Concerns about eminent domain

Some property owners whose land the pipeline would cross have spoken out against the company's approach, particularly the fact that a Canadian company is able to use eminent domain to acquire the use of private land.

The issue has struck a nerve across the political spectrum and has helped bring together Tea Party and environmental activists in Texas to oppose the project.

TransCanada says it is compensating landowners fairly, and notes that, "Our permit does allow us to use eminent domain to acquire an easement and provide compensation for the landowner. Keystone XL always prefers to avoid the use of eminent domain, and if we cannot reach an agreement, then we turn to the independent processes/hearings that are established in Texas and other U.S. states."

Broader environmental concerns

Environmentalists also object not just to the pipeline itself but to the start-to-finish process of refining tar sands, which has a heavy impact on the environment, including global warming. As a Stanford University professor wrote on The New York Times' website:

Available evidence suggests that oil sands, on a "well-to-wheels" basis, have 15 to 20 percent higher greenhouse emissions than conventional oil. This is because of increased energy demand during extraction and the use of high-carbon fuels like petroleum coke. Also, water pollution concerns plague mining-based projects that produce large volumes of tailings (a contaminated, watery waste product).

Critics of the project argue that approving Keystone XL could have a "chilling effect" on efforts to create green jobs, and that it would demonstrate that the U.S. is not serious about its climate change leadership — and that Canada is not serious about trying to reach its Kyoto targets.

But as many have noted, denying approval to Keystone XL wouldn't stop tar sands production. As the Heritage Foundation's David Kreutzer argued: "Block the XL pipeline if you think the environment will be better served by shipping Canadian oil an extra 6,000 miles across the Pacific in oil-consuming super tankers and then refining it in less-regulated Chinese refineries."

Barry Schmittou

Oct. 14, 2011, 12:30 p.m.

I pray this pipeline will not be allowed for many reasons, especially considering the “relationship between State Department officials and TransCanada’s representative in Washington” as written by ProPublica.

Additionally Texas and the U.S. have too many hidden pipelines now, including Holder’s gun smuggling pipeline for murderous Mexican drug cartels, and Wachovia’s pipeline where they laundered $378 Billion for the same Mexican cartels, and no one was prosecuted by Obama !! Please see for more evidence.

Build bady build

This entire debate is so ridiculous.

First of all not a single drop of crude, conventional or bitumen derived, is exported from the US. The only thing exported are refined petrochemicals, some diesel, and bunker oil. No gasoline is exported at all.

Additionally, there already exists several large oil and chemical pipelines that run through Nebraska and the Ogallala Aquifer. 

The oil is going to be sold to someone and its either going to be the US or the Chinese, take your pick.

Most telling is your final quote, ’ But, as many have noted, denying approval to Keystone XL won’t stop tar sands production. As the Heritage Foundation’s David Kruetzer argued [30]: “Block the XL pipeline if you think the environment will be better served by shipping Canadian oil an extra 6,000 miles across the Pacific in oil-consuming super tankers and then refining it in less-regulated Chinese refineries.”

What else do you have to know and here we have a privately funded $8 billion infrastructure project.

Stephanie Palmer

Oct. 14, 2011, 12:49 p.m.

It would only be a temporary fix for our “energy security,” but the possible environmental damage is huge. Nothing will improve our energy security until we start supporting the passive energy industry. But I notice that the Republicans have severely decreased the funding for that. They are merely beating a dead horse by subsidizing and giving tax breaks to the oil industry.  It used to be that when you product was heading for obsolescence, you created new products. Now all you have to do is contribute a few bucks to the Congress.

Right now the oil from the Canadian oil sands is being refined in Gary, Ind. and other rust belt refineries.  Why not increase that capacity?  God knows they need the work.

Well, I hate to burst people’s bubble, but isn’t this democracy of ours run by special interests,ever since we, the people, were created equal, but blacks were left out on the cold.  How can we trust a “democracy” to shine its best since from its beginnings many of its citizens were up the creek w/o a paddle and, unless of course by the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, a bunch of white men meant those rights just for whites only, otherwise, why they left out blacks, their slaves out of the loop, ergo, if from the beginning we were sold the idea of equality and then to many, specially minorities, it meant racism, inequality.  When we, the people, allow a cancer to fester for far too long,isntour fault for allowing that cancer too grow too fast and to big to fail?  I dont know how this is going to turn out, nor the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, but I see just black clouds ahead and that “spring fever of true democracy” going on in the Arab world might worked there, although I doubt it very much, but what I do know is that neither one is going nowhere, except jail and death for the protesters.  In other words, we have become them.  Let’s be glad that the ovens are not brought back, I better shut up, they don’t need any ideas from me, I might become “well done” in the future ovens of our “Christian and democratic” nation.  Maybe we all are guilty as well.  Nobody dare to speak for Reverend Jeremiah Wright when he told it like it was to America with his sermon: God Damn America, which I call it another Sermon on the mountain, but changed to fit the new times.  Of course, I’m using reverse psychology giving a dark future, but what I’m really hoping for is that let’s hope that this time America decides to be for, of and by the people and decides to “Win just one for the Gipper.”

Hi Barry, you have been kind to me in the past with your postings, so I hesitate to contradict your views.
First, if US corporations were as good as TransCanada in taking care of shareholder interests, we would not have had the trillions of dollars of wealth transferred from the retirement funds of middle class America to the corporate elite through stock option programs. Corporate governance at TransCanada is the gold standard for corporate America and that includes every aspect of their operations. They operate 37,000 miles of pipelines. Do yourself a favor and take any stock that you might own or someone has recommended to you. Take that stock’s long-term chart and compare that against TransCanada’s long-term chart over the same period. You will agree with me, had you placed your Social Security contributions and/or retirement savings in TransCanada’s stock the past 20 years, you would have been able to retire in comfort by now.

Second, the pipeline could make us virtually independent of Middle East oil, which means we could bring our troops home, stop all military adventures in that region that supposedly protect “our oil,” but tick off the locals to the extent that they are willing to resort to terrorist activity against us.

War is a very environmentally unfriendly activity, not to mention the loss of lives. I wish the folk who oppose this pipeline would be just as vocal in their anti-war protests. Keystone is chicken feed compared to the trillion dollar military adventures. I don’t have the correct statistic, but I seem to recollect that if the US military were a separate state, it would be 14th (?) on the list of top energy consumers. 

I can’t get involved in the political bickering, but if the Keystone project is approved, I can’t think of any other company but TransCanada that I would want to be in charge of the project. They are the premier operators in the energy industry. They don’t come any better than TransCanada.

@ Ralph C.

BP Whiting is finishing up a major expansion to increase capacity for oil sands.

Emile, what does that dribble have anything to do with a pipeline?  We live in a Representative Republic.  If you don’t like it, change your representatives. 
If green initiatives do make economic sense then go back to the drawing board don’t try to starve America off of oil until it makes sense.  Please drill more wells, build more pipelines and refineries!!!

As a Canadian I agree.  Do not build this horrible nasty pipeline!  (Build the Enbridge pipeline instead so we can sell all of the oil to China!)


(I am learning Chinese…)


Barry Schmittou

Oct. 14, 2011, 2:22 p.m.

Hi Albert,

Thank you for your kindness in disagreeing with me. If we could all learn to disagree so kindly it would greatly help our world and please God too.

I learn about our energy needs from those who support projects like these. At the same time I am always surprised that in every business activity in the U.S. we see industry lobbyists who have very close connections to the government officials who regulate them.

I believe the reason that solar and other natural sources of energy are not being utilized as much is because of unfair influence from other energy sources that have lots of lobbyists and campaign contributions. 

Albert I understand we need energy, and commenters here have pointed out reasons they believe this is a good project. I respect those comments but I still have a great concern about environmental damage. I believe it’s likely that our world will change so much in the next ten years many more living beings will be suffering from lack of food and water.

To see why I do not have trust any project supported by the U.S. leaders please paste

You will see evidence that proves the U.S. government has allowed so many corporate crimes with no prosecutions, including Wachovia’s $378 billion laundering for murderous Mexican cartels.

The corruption is so widespread, and intricate and complex at the same time. I believe the only explanation is the leaders of the U.S. government leaders are wickedness in high place mentioned in Ephesians 6:12.

I do not trust the U.S. Government leaders to regulate anything in the best interests of the people.

I respect those who do not believe it is Biblical. I do not understand how anyone could think the destruction of so many lives (seen in the evidence I’ve compiled) is not very evil.

Quotes from Numerous Federal Court Judges Prove Insurance Company Doctors’ ignore life threatening medical conditions including Brain lesions and Multiple Sclerosis, cardiac conditions of many patients, and a foot that a new mother broke in 5 places.

Multiple Judges prove MetLife is also very fond of endangering Psychological claimants lives as seen at :

Obama and Bush’s Directors reviewed the evidence and did nothing. I believe Obama and Bush should both be indicted, and I do not trust either of the Clinton’s.

One more example of the corruption is seen in ProPublica quotes :

“Workers fought long battles for medical care, including such things as prosthetic devices and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Labor Department seldom took action to enforce the law.”

“Labor officials can recommend cases for prosecution to the Justice Department–but have only done so once in the past two decades, according to Labor officials.”

WFAA - TV in Dallas wrote this about Workers Comp :

“a remarkable number of Texans committed suicide because they could no longer endure the pain caused by their injuries and they had been repeatedly turned down for worker’s comp care. Some insurance companies send peer review doctors medical files “stripped” of records important to the possible approval of workers’ comp claims.”

There are many more examples seen by pasting

I’ve had surgery on both eyes and only post here because I believe our nation and world are being destroyed rapidly, and I may not respond on this topic anymore because I need to rest my eyes.

I do hope and pray that solar power and other natural sources will receive more attention from everyone.

Albert , thank you again in the kind way that you disagreed. I believe discussions and debates are much more productive and friendly when we communicate like you did.

It is annoying when pipeline construction is claimed to create massive numbers of “permanent” jobs….it is equivalent to the guy who wants to build a house next to you claiming that your permission to build will result in 20 permanent jobs.

Doing what?  Sure, 20 people may be needed to build the house, but the house eventually reaches the stage of “built”...and the work for those 20 people who built the house is gone...and so their jobs are gone, too.

Carol Davidek-Waller

Oct. 14, 2011, 2:47 p.m.

Real energy security will come from the exploitation of renewable resources not from giving the authors of global warming a license to kill. Canada is welcome to poison it’s own air with refineries and taint it’s own water supply.
Clearly we won’t have rational policies until we break the back of corporate governance who think only of their own short term profits and for whom living things have no value.

So, Whitewater II?  I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, since Secretary Clinton was appointed in direct violation of the Constitution (the position was given a raise by Congress when she was a Senator, which is specifically rejected).  I guess the bigger surprise is that it took so long to revert to form.

Likewise, “Hollywood” Biden has apparently doing the job he’s been hired to do—by big media, not the American people.

(I hate to link to what amounts to a techie blog, but it’s the most thorough coverage I see at the moment.)

Typical…supporters of the pipeline have the usual myopic, short-term thinking of all true capitalists.
Just for once, I’d like to see the decision-making based on a simple founding principle, ie , “DO NO HARM”
If they can guarantee the pipeline will “DO NO HARM” then by all means build it…but if there is a chance of doing minor or major harm to the environment or any of the environments stakeholders, then DONT BUILD IT.
For crying out loud…are the decision-makers idiots or what???

The sad thing about the pipeline is the pipeline should not be the issue.
You can Goggle oil refineries and see the concentration that is strategically unsound. Not to mention the extra money big oil rakes in every time there is a flood or hurricane. Or a fuse blows.

The issue should be building the second yes the second refinery in America in 30 years. Somewhere where the Iranians can’t shut them all down when they sell the bomb to the some drug load who sets it off my mistake.

So, if I understand this, we spend the money to build an expensive process to send oil to other countries, so that we have to buy it back from them.  Even “W” didn’t approve this

Give it up. All resistance is futile; corporate already OWNS the planet.
No civilized protest will matter a bit. Citizens don’t have the money to buy politicians like corporations are allowed to by law. GIVE IT UP.

R. E. Guy, you disappoint me, what part of this nation being run by special interests don’t you understand.  That, in turn Gur, means that no matter what people have to say, no matter how many demonstrations people to go protest, we, the people, will always lose.  Doesn’t the article talks about the government always doing what the Koch brothers, millionaires, billionaires want it to do?  Since you seem so confused with my opening statement, let me copy it again and then tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about.  Here it goes:“but isn’t this democracy of ours run by special interests,”  Clearer I can’t make it or better yet, let me quote Nixon when every thing he said he made it “crystal clear.”
I guess I have to live from one disappointment to another with that baloney of “We live in a Representative Republic” BS.  How can you claim, with straight face, that this nation run by special interests lives in representative republic.  I can tell you dozens of cases, facts where elections are/were stolen more times than money by Bernie Madoff.  From landslide Johnson, to stolen elections in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004.  And what have you to say about the strategy of tea partiers, republicans that want to change the way of counting votes, so it can benefit them, or what have you to say about the game those two groups play about gerrymandering.  Or what about corporations being individuals so the rich can dictate to this “republic” as you call it, who they should vote for and if that doesn’t work, they “fix” the voting machines so the crooked politicians of always have their way.
Now about changing my representatives.  I live in Texas and unless you are racist, tea partier, republican, I have as much chance of changing my “representatives” as you have of going to Venus, since Pluto is no more a planet.  You lucky, you.
As for drilling more for oil, you sound like another Sarah Palin, all agenda and zero substance, zero facts.  Or have you already forgotten about the Exxon Valdez catastrophe, or how about the many oil disasters that have done more damage to Earth’s eco system than, I’m sure, all cars.  Don’t tell me you already forgot about the BP oil tsunami and why, we the people, should pay for those ecological disasters when they are caused by companies that bribe, purchased our “representative republic.”  Why do you think, republicans, tea partiers refused to investigate Whitewater?  We now know why the disaster happened.  Big oil, through Mr Deferment’s energy commission, had no plans, no shut off valve, no know how, etc, etc.  All they knew and oh boy if the master it, was to buy congress.  You can have your opinion, but not your own facts.
Last but not least, where did you hear that drilling for oil is going to solve our energy problems?  Don’t tell me you heard that from Sarah Plain and his tea partiers zombies.  For beginners, what good is to solve our energy dependency by drilling, if then we have one, two, three BP disasters?  I don’t know if you are a religious man- my subconscient tells me you are-, because those people are nuts about religion and just as racists, but they know not what religion, specially Christianity, is all about, but let me quote Christ: What good is for man to gain the whole world, if he loses his soul?  What good is to become independent from oil, if our planet, nation becomes a Whitewater?  And what about future generations?  Remember Guy, we are passers by, care takers of this land, not owners.  In penance, say five Our Fathers and ten Hail Marys.  Go my son and sin no more and I don’t want to hear that nonsense of:  Drill, baby, drill.  We already have enough zombies, enough nuts and one more, you, won’t be missed.  Happy trails!

Hello, Barry Schmittou.  I’ve really enjoyed your comment, but I disagree with so much politeness.  The adage says:“Desperate times, call for desperate measures”, ergo, we can’t be so pleasant when it’s the future of coming generations that are at a stake.  You don’t fight a wild fire with a garden hose, you get helicopters, planes and all available men to fight, extinguish that fire.  Would you fight if some one came to take your house away?  And no, I don’t mean through foreclosure.  I mean as this “Christian and democratic” nation stole native American’s lands.  They, that were outnumbered, outarmed fought tooth and nail to defend their ways, their lands until they could no more.  I read what happened to the Lakota nation in Wounded Knee and I cried so hard that I don’t remember crying just as hard as with the Jews and to make matters worse, if that could be possible, the U.S. Army gave the massacrers 18 congressional medasl of honor.  Even the word honor sound prostituted. How can there be honor in killing mostly old indians, children and women.  I admire so much Keith Olbermann, because he is the only source of unbiased journalism and to me his program Countdown is my cup of Java, w/o which I can’t live, nor function and now the point of my plug fort the program, Keith uses words that I know you can’t say in regular media and I understand his judicial, fair rage.  He calls that tea partier zombie from Alaska an idiot and I understand.  You can’t be all politeness with someone that wants, if allow, I’m sure, bring the ovens of her Hitler, ergo, politeness, courtesy are not the ways to go about.  There is too much at stake to be so fine.  Let me give you the same advice that someone gave Truman:“Given then hell, Harry.  I had it up to here with Obama’s control, specially when the Titanic is going under. Have a nice weekend.

Build it already!

We need to sort out the strictly technical/environmental issues from the other issues that seem to be clouding this controversy. The simple question is: can this be built in such a way as to insure 100% safe transport of oil with no leaks EVER? (It’s a reasonable goal.) If so, build it. If not, figure a way to make it safe (even if it costs more money to build) or abandon it.

Walter D. Shutter, Jr.

Oct. 15, 2011, 7:13 a.m.

The USA needs to import a lot of oil because we don’t produce enough at home to satisfy our needs. Put another way, we are dependent on foreign nations to fully supply our energy needs,  Thus,the question we need to answer is this: Do we want to be dependent on Canada or the whack-job dictatorships of the middle east? So, until and unless Toronto starts issuing Fatwas, I think we should go with Canada, Eh?

The US needs this pipeline for the following reasons.
1.  Renewable energy sources are unreliable, expensive and hurt the environment too.  Solar is too expensive for mainstream use. Windmills are too inefficient, require back up energy sources and kill 300K-400K birds a year. (6000 birds were killed in the 2010 gulf oil spill) Energy bills skyrocket when these sources are used or they are subsidized with your/my tax dollars. (eg solindra and many other examples)
2.  The US now kowtows to the Middle East and other unsavory countries due to its dependence on foreign oil.  We deploy and station forces in that area costing billions to keep the peace because of it.
3.  The US and Canada have abundant resources that can be exploited to reduce dependency but have been locked away due to EPA and enviromental pressure. 
4.  This pipeline can be built safely and without hurting the environment.  100% absolutely sure no drop of oil will ever spill? No, but risk is a part of life.  Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those age 5-34 in the U.S.1 More than 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009.  I missed all the comments about banning driving.  Number of people dead from polluted gulf oil last year: Zero.
5.  The tax revenue, jobs and positive economic impact from energy exploration and production is substantial and needed by the US more than ever. US unemployment is 9.1%, include people who have given up looking, closer to 14%.

@Rick H:  Where did you get your numbers on bird kills?  API?  They disagree with “mainstream literature”...for example:

The American Bird Conservancy link is broken, but if you go to:

you see that they anticipate roughly 10 bird deaths per turbine in 2030 (1,000,000 bird deaths / 100,000 turbines).

I personally consider “bird kills” be a specious argument inasmuch as automobiles kill 60-80 million birds a year - so if the hydrocarbon industry were using bird deaths as anything other than camouflage, they’d be urging mass transit upon the nation regardless of the dramatic impact upon their sales.

And by the way…that ain’t going to be “light sweet crude” coming down that pipeline.  The pollution associated with cracking/distilling it isn’t to be taken lightly; extraction and refining of heavy oils and oil sands generates as much as three times the total carbon dioxide emissions compared to conventional oil.  And do I have to mention sulfur and heavy metal content?

And then there is its viscosity, which will require toxic diluents and/or high pressures and/or heating, particularly during “cold snaps”...i.e., a blowout is liable to get right interesting right quick.

I’m still laughing at using bird deaths as an argument for your position when, in the same argument, you discount human deaths as “risk is a part of life”.


Barry Schmittou

Oct. 15, 2011, 10:30 a.m.

Hi Emile,

I appreciate your thoughts and true patriotism.

I agree about using the proper intensity but I’ve learned even if your life is on fire the politicians (and the corporations who own their soul) will single that out while ignoring evidence of mass murders committed by multiple corporations while Obama and Bush turned their backs.

(One example, during the time that I filed the complaint that led to the conviction of State Senator John Ford I was misquoted by Governor Phil Bredesen and Speaker Jimmy Naifeh made comments about me in Nashville that made the Knoxville papers front page)

I have PTSD because MetLife ignored my eye cancer claim for six years and they knew I often had no money for medical treatment as seen by pasting

So I work hard to stay calm while trying to correct the fact that our government has been overthrown.

There is so much corruption the truth is strong as evidenced by the following :

The Whitehouse received a certified copy of the motion I filed in Federal Court that has these five paragraphs of quotes that can be seen by pasting

In a claims decision U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen wrote :

“MetLife and its henchmen should appreciate that such conduct may itself precipitate the suicide death of a person who has placed implicit trust in their organization to foster mental health.

Multiple Judges and Doctors have written that MetLife endangers Psychological patients. MetLife also pays doctors who ignore brain lesions, Multiple Sclerosis, cardiac conditions of many patients and a foot a new mother broke in 5 places as evidenced in quotes from numerous U.S. Judges and Doctors that were filed as Exhibit A on 5/13/11 and are also seen at :

I assert the U.S. government’s decision to not prosecute anyone at Wachovia for laundering $378.4 billion dollars in drug money connected to murderous cartels is insane, psychopathic, treasonous, an insurrection against the laws of the United States and selective prosecution that favors large businesses who make huge campaign contributions while repeatedly violating laws over long periods of time. It is arbitrary and capricious, a violation of due process, and a complete and intentional destruction of due process and justice.

I pray this Court will appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate the DOJ’s failure to seek prosecution regarding this overwhelming evidence of dangerous and deadly criminal activity.

(end of quotes from motion)

Obama’s DOL and DOJ Directors also received copies of the motion

Of course the Court denied my motion. I expected that because Judge Trauger’s husband is one of the most powerful lobbyists and she and her husband went to the SuperBowl with Governor Bredesen mentioned above.

(In Tennessee the lobbyists have lobbyists !!)
I also wrote this in the motion :

President Obama, you pray and quote the Bible on TV, and preach Eulogy sermons where you said we should :

“expand our moral imaginations”
“sharpen our instincts for empathy”

Your actions are exactly the opposite of the love of Jesus !! Your Directors are enabling the destruction of thousands of very sick and injured Americans, and I’m sure you know it because I have been assertive with my presentation of evidence recently since my polite requests have been ignored for years !!

(end of quotes)

Emile, you wrote “as this “Christian and democratic” nation stole native American’s lands”

I struggle to be a Christian, but one thing I understand for sure is there are many people who claim to be Christian and then steal and murder on an individual level, or mass murder or are accomplices to mass murder like Obama and Bush.

These fake Christians actually confirm the Bible’s quote about false prophets.

As a Christian I pray that Obama and the Dems and the Republicans will realize and stop the tremendous suffering they are enabling.
I also pray for and appreciate the efforts of non Christians who work for justice and good things for all living beings. (In my life Buddhists and many non Christians are some of the nicest people I’ve met)

I have taken time to right this because I believe we are on the brink of destruction and this forum can be a source of light for the world. I am trying to rest my eyes so I may not be able to respond for awhile.

I believe this is all related to the proposed pipeline, because we cannot trust the U.S. Government to have the best interests of the citizens in mind while they are protecting repeated crimes committed by multiple corporations, including Wachovia laundering $378 Billion for Mexican drug cartels, who have murdered 35,000 and disembowel and hang people from bridges on a regular basis as seen at and

James Goeke is a retired Prof. He is basing much of his assessment off of the Entrix/TransCanada EIS for the State Department. The Ogallala Structure along the pipeline route is NOTHING like that described by Entrix, as Heidi Tillman was using data from an 1890’s study of a completely different area of the Sandhills and Ogallala Aquifer in her Toxicology report. Tillman also fails to mention that the proposed route crosses over an ACTIVE fault line in central Nebraska, just had a 3.2 on it a little over a year ago!

Why not use the existing refineries- exposing our country and the beautiful land to potential haszardous chemicals in NOT IN THE BET INTEREST of our nation, our people, and our infrstructure. Don’t build it!

The six points Rick H.
The US needs this pipeline for the following reasons.
1.  Renewable energy sources are unreliable, expensive and hurt the environment too.  Solar is too expensive for mainstream use. Windmills are too inefficient, require back up energy sources and kill 300K-400K birds a year. (6000 birds were killed in the 2010 gulf oil spill) Energy bills skyrocket when these sources are used or they are subsidized with your/my tax dollars. (eg solindra and many other examples)
2.  The US now kowtows to the Middle East and other unsavory countries due to its dependence on foreign oil.  We deploy and station forces in that area costing billions to keep the peace because of it.
3.  The US and Canada have abundant resources that can be exploited to reduce dependency but have been locked away due to EPA and enviromental pressure.
4.  This pipeline can be built safely and without hurting the environment.  100% absolutely sure no drop of oil will ever spill? No, but risk is a part of life.  Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those age 5-34 in the U.S.1 More than 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009.  I missed all the comments about banning driving.  Number of people dead from polluted gulf oil last year: Zero.
5.  The tax revenue, jobs and positive economic impact from energy exploration and production is substantial and needed by the US more than ever. US unemployment is 9.1%, include people who have given up looking, closer to 14%.

Yes, please do block the pipeline.  As a Canadian, I am fed-up with Americans exploiting our resources when they want them, and then breaking contracts and defying the NAFTA when that suits them too.  I think the Chinese would be much fairer to deal with.  So keep your troops overseas; pretend to support alternative energy sources; legislate wherever/whenever the lobbyists tell you to; and leave our resource-rich nation alone (and btw; maybe the Chinese will want even more of our beef, lumber; wheat, minerals and the like as well - after all, once they’ve secured enough oil, they’ll be in a better position to buy all of these other things that the US has been cherry-picking over the years).

Hey, it’s only business, right???  No hard feelings, eh.

@Dennis C Our understanding down here is that the oil is going to China anyway. That the movement of the oil to Houston is to overcome the glut in the Midwest that is suppressing the price of refined Canadian oil. I’m sure you will find a willing partner in China. In fact, I believe they now have a controlling or near controlling interest in the Alberta Tar Sands. Of course the oil is going to China. Your threat is an empty one. And the TransCanada messaging is dishonest. We love Canada. We dislike the disrespect for our land and country by TransCanada.

@Dennis C   Oh, and one more thing. TransCanada can’t sell its Tar Sands Oil to Europe, because they won’t allow it on their continent. They consider it below their environmental standards to support tar sands dirty oil that creates three times more carbon pollution than normal grade oil.

One is forced to assume that “Dennis C” is from Canada rather than, say, Exxon.

A Response to The five points of Rick H.
1. This country is in transition to new alternative fuels. Building additional pipelines is like giving crack to an addict. The way you break the habit is to withdraw from the addiction.
2. Only 12-15% our oil actually comes from “unsavories!” The idea that TranCanada oil is saving us from unsavory dictators is a canard that doe not seem to die. Reducing the amount by forty percent, as promised by TransCanada produces little relief. Fifty percent of our oil comes from the Western Hemisphere and the remainder from Africa.
3. EPA restraint is sane, the loss of the Ogallala aquifer or Nebraskan farm land would be devastating. EPA restraint is sane, more oil pollution is not.
4. The issue of the pipeline is more about the degradation of the country from spills. Here is a link to a map of the oil spills in the USA, from pipelines. The damage is vast. Google the Kalamazoo River and the Yellowstone River oil spills for starters. After the spills, the issue of air pollution at the refineries in Houston which local citizens are protesting is important. This is never mentioned by TransCanada. The pollution will be severe.
5.  As to the jobs the pipeline will produce, Cornell Global Labor Institute, that wants jobs produced, determined that the pipeline may actually cause a loss of employment. Here’s a link to the study: 092811_GLI_study_finds_Keystone_XL_pipeline_will_create_few_jobs.html
Overall TransCanada does not care about our land or our people. It cares about profit, over the welfare of land and people. It is in the unconscienable process of destroying vast areas of Canadian land in Alberta Tar Sands in the most irresponsible way possible. It has an even lower regard for our land. This pipeline should not be built.

Barry Schmittou

Oct. 17, 2011, 10:19 a.m.

I greatly appreciate everyone who has provided evidence regarding dangers and risks of the pipeline, and we don’t even know if the oil will stay in the U.S. !!

Barry Schmittou We already know the oil is going to China. That’s a given. That’s why it is so infuriating that TransCanada sells the pipeline as a way to reduce American oil dependence on “unsavory” Middle Easter countries, from which we get only 12-15% of our oil! Early documents indicated the intention to ship from the convenient port of Houston to China. That intention has been replaced with the better marketing language about oil dependence of evil Middle Eastern countries. The deceptions and lies should be exposed. And don’t get me started on Koch Bros. who ARE prime movers.

Michael Hiner

Oct. 17, 2011, 3:57 p.m.

If we (as the general public) continue to block oil and gas projects such as the pipeline, we will need to take ownership of our decisions when oil and gas prices climb and greenhouse gases increase.  You can stop or handicap a project, but good-ole Yankee ingenuity or Chinese capitalist creativity will always find a way to make something work in another way.  It’s like plugging the leak in a levee, and while celebrating atop the sandbags you watch the levee break on the other side of the river.  Potentially—what you protected is small in value to the community when compared to what is lost on the other side.
The China example—These days it appears that state supported capitalism as employed in China will succeed because its progenitors and benefactors are in lock-step on principles, strategy and tactics for being effective in the energy market.  If they need crude oil to be imported, they will find a way to get it in any part of the market place where it is available.  They are effective in the use of government to government diplomacy to obtain contracts and gain opportunities.  They have a proven track record.
A troubling aspect of the Chinese business plan is that environmental and human impacts are recognized or identified, and then analyzed for mitigation options with successful outcomes molded into the plan to fit the strategy.  Let me repeat that—molded to fit the strategy.  It is a very pragmatic approach.  It may not always a friendly one, but it is very effective anyway.
If one worries about global warming (sorry, so un-PC of me –climate change), and the individual and collective of thought is to reduce greenhouse gases for all.  Then oil refining in a loosely regulated market is a profound negative. (Exporting oil to China)  If the oil is going to be produced because free market demand outstrips alternatives, then pragmatically I would rather work with the oil industry at home where safe guards and protection can be stipulated.  If you disagree, and you have never stood on the streets of Beijing and suffered an asthma attack from the air pollution, then you might think it better to not have the oil pipeline in your backyard.  After-all, in a rather shameless and self interested point of view,  why should the collective of human thought in the US care about what happens to a Chinese citizen?  Into the sublime—reducing greenhouse gases only in North America might create climatic shifts in weather patterns for another part of the world that generate negative impacts.  Atmospheric patterns are not homogenous.  Like I said, just musing…
Ok about now, I should have Barry and ibsteve2u boiling and blistering a strong rebuttal to all of the gaps in my high altitude commentary.  And sincerely, I know that most all well-intentioned contributors in the blog do care.  I never doubt you.  But the issue is back to economics.  It is nothing about big oil, environment, or the aquifers.  As long as energy demand requires the production of oil and gas into the next century the market will set the price, and companies will produce or mine the product wherever it is located.  There is no doubt that alternative energy will come on-line and offset many of the needs of our hydrocarbon based societies.  There is also no doubt that it will take a very long time (beyond my lifespan) for alternative energies to do the heavy lifting for our supply needs.
Just for fun calculate the predicted energy need for the US in 2030, 2040, 2050, and then crunch the numbers for replacing our traditional MW generation with combinations of wind and solar power.  The numbers make the costs of our military deployments look very small.  Also one begins to realize that taxing the oil industry and providing vast subsidies to alternatives cannot cover the costs or make the effort singularly profitable.  We will need more Yankee ingenuity, which I count on.
So with all these considerations I would rather see the pipeline go forward and put people to work (without the need of government stimulus).  I would rather use the best of technology to protect the environment.  And, I would like to use all domestic resources to offset our energies, recognizing that we may not be able to offset foreign imports.  But if we can create economic offsets to the imports, the percentage of improvement will help our economy.  That is inclusive of our Canadian of our cousins.

@Michael Hiner:  I don’t need to make the effort of “boiling and blistering a strong rebuttal to all of the gaps in my high altitude commentary”.

Nope…I only have to point out the artificial realities of the energy market by quoting realities such as are revealed in ongoing M&A activity.


one little quote: 

“With their dominant share of the market, Morgan Kinder and Equity Transfer are well placed to potentially charge high fees for use of their pipelines.”

That is b-speak for:

Any “energy dividend” that might have boosted the American economy as a result of our accepting risks such as using fracking to bring more natural gas online or laying pipelines such as the Keystone XL to bring more oil online? 

Fuhgeddaboudit.  All of that environmental - all that human - risk, for nothing.

Instead, prepare for a repeat of the 2006/2008 gasoline price run-up that hammered consumer spending and the ability of people to pay their mortgages - ‘cept this time the last of America’s non-cottage industries and the ability of the American family to survive winter are on the chopping block.

When the right - which is essentially financed by those who harvest, refine, distribute, and market carbonaceous forms of energy - speaks, the right lies.

That link I included above also includes another interesting quote:

“Companies spent the first half of the year pocketing a lot of cash from high prices,” said Justin Jacobs

That is b-speak for the prices were artificially high - i.e., driven by speculation and/or price-fixing rather than supply and demand a.k.a. market conditions - and represented an enormous increase in the uncontrollable private tax known as “profit” that the energy monopolies (which, thanks to the enormous surge in M&A activity, are becoming ever stronger…ever tighter…ever more inescapable) can and do levy at will.

Private taxes that hit the American people at rates that are subject to and controlled by Big Energy’s whims, and not “the market” - let alone “democracy”.

@ibsteve2u Thank you. The power of the Big E’s to confuse and obfuscate what is actually happening is breathtaking. It is no wonder people are in the streets. The pipeline is just a masterful bait and switch plan. But, somehow the word began to leak out. I believe this is one of the pivotal issues of our time. If it is stopped, all hell is going to break loose. If it is not stopped, all hell is going to break loose. There is a rocky road ahead.

And for those of you who are amused by contradictions:

If you live in the middle of the orange groves in Florida, you rather expect that oranges will be cheaper for you than for somebody who lives way up North and who couldn’t grow oranges without their own private natural gas wellhead and a greenhouse, right?

‘Cuz after all, once harvested it is the transportation that adds the expense?

Well, check this out.  First I give you a picture of the “traditional” (i.e., they been spewin’ for a long time) natural gas production fields:

now, a picture that includes the “new” (I use the term loosely, geologically-speaking) gas-bearing shale fields:

Now the kicker:  A picture of the average residential (i.e., what you pay to heat your home) price of natural gas:

Eh?  The price is typically higher if you live right on top of big natural gas fields - especially if you live up where the season named “winter” is known to exist?  Even with just about zilch in transportation costs, relatively speaking?

That is because Big Energy has become accustomed to using their energy monopoly to extort money from you - and when they have got the weather (oh…and the Republicans) on their side, too, they really let their greed run amok.

And, just for your amusement, consider how the Texas Republicans are always talking about how wonderful their “business climate” is and what a great place Texas is - even though they’re pretty much last in every social and educational measure - and that is why American business is moving there.

Now look at this page that shows the industrial price of natural gas on a state-by-state basis:

lollll…lemme know if you see anything unique about Texas (discounting Alaska, which for a multitude of reasons [ok, weather and distance] is a special case) and whether or not you think that has anything to do with Corporate America relocating there. 

And ponder why is it that Texas has such cheap natural gas for “business” customers, but relatively high prices for “residential” customers?  Is it ‘cuz Texas excels at moving the wealth of the many to the few - and at making the many subsidize the few?  And is that what the Republicans want to inflict upon all Americans in all states (answer being “yes”, seeing as how they’re always saying that is their goal)?

What I’m getting around to is Big Oil/Gas - that entire industry, and the right whom they fund - are way worse than crack dealers.

@janjamm:  Thank-you.  But I actually am amused by the guy.

For instance, he is so vested in ensuring Big Energy gets to stomp upon the American people that he flat-out said that the communists in the People’s Republic of China have far more business acumen than all of the capitalists in America put together.

I was laughing so hard at that that I decided that mentioning the impact of their rigged currency exchange rate was at least temporarily beyond me.

@ibsteve2u I think you’re going to have your own show, or at least you should have.

The heinous thing about Big Energy’s, Corporate America’s, their owner/operators, and their Republican proxies in American politics’ stance on resource harvesting, conversion, and methods of production?

They know that in a capitalistic system - especially if they have the success they hope for at destroying social safety nets - life depends upon having income; i.e., upon having “a job” for 99% of working-age America.

We don’t have enough jobs because of what the Republicans have previously done; specifically:

1)  They sided with the Islamic OPEC nations against the American people and the United States of America from 1973 forward, rigorously enforcing America’s addiction to foreign hydrocarbons by blocking all conservation, mass transit, and alternative energy measures.

2)  They used the economic shocks they created by enforcing that addiction - economic shocks resulting from the wildly and artificially variable cost of energy - to make the lie of “flood-up/trickle-down” economics palatable.

3)  “Flood-up/trickle-down” economics unleashed greed on a truly Biblical scale…in looking for ways to make more money faster, the right (the Republicans and their variants such as “the Tea Party”, neoliberal Democrats, “libertarians”, etc.) inflicted both deregulation and inequitable free trade upon the American people.

4)  The ability to make massive amounts of wealth in the stock market (assuming you had the seed wealth to start with) gave Wall Street primacy over Corporate America’s decision process.  The former told the latter to cut costs and so increase “shareholder value”; instantaneously the CEOs (now paid in stocks, creating a vicious feedback mechanism) began treating American “labor” (a.k.a. the America people) as a despised “cost” that they were only too eager to dispose of.  Jobs roared offshore.

To repeat, the right and Corporate America (to include Big Energy) destroyed the jobs of the American people.  Now they’re telling America that if the American people want more jobs then they must accept the weakening or total destruction of environmental regulation, perhaps to include the destruction of the EPA itself.

Given that Americans need jobs to live, the reality is the right is telling the American people that if they wish to live they must accept a greater possibility that they will be killed in the course of attempting to satisfy the right’s insatiable greed.

If that level of greed is not heinous…is not monstrous, then what is? 

Given that the right has been pursuing precisely this objective for 40 years, I would further state that the right’s current course of action is the most blatant and enormous case of premeditated murder in human history.  All of which convinces me that - regardless of what they say - the right doesn’t believe in God. 

How could you, and still make every effort to pile up a list of crimes - and victims - nigh unto Heaven?

Barry Schmittou

Oct. 18, 2011, 11:58 a.m.

Janjamm wrote :

“The power of the Big E’s to confuse and obfuscate what is actually happening is breathtaking”

Breathtaking obfuscation is everywhere in the corporate political world.
U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab wrote :

In light of counsel for MetLife’s repeated and flagrant obfuscation, smoke screens and “clever” couching of its statements of fact, it is ironic, to say the very least, that MetLife’s brief in opposition to plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment accuses plaintiff repeatedly of “lack of candor and attempts to mislead the Court.”

The crimes of the breathtaking obfuscators are often heartless, widespread, intricate and complex and so globally connected I believe there must be an evil supernatural spirit named theDevil connecting it all. Also seeing love and caring exhibited by so many humans and living beings has led me to believe in God and Jesus in the Bible.

I respect those who do not agree with that, and I am happy to see so many Americans (including commenters on this forum) seeking justice and posting truths to challenge the obfuscators.

I hope everyone will review the most succinct evidence of overwhelming injustices and obfuscations I’ve posted that is seen in the quotes from Numerous Federal Court Judges proving insurance company Doctors’ ignore life threatening medical conditions including Brain lesions and Multiple Sclerosis, cardiac conditions of many patients, and a foot that a new mother broke in 5 places.

(Obama and Bush’s DOL and DOJ Directors have seen this evidence but will do nothing to stop these crimes even though the patients may die before their case is heard by the Courts !!!!)

The quotes can be seen at the following website :

Then if you want to see overwhelming evidence of the criminal connections to multiple corporations please view

As my vision allows I’m working on a more succinct version and links.

I believe this comment forum is very important in seeking justice. One example is people who obviously or secretly support Big Corporations comment here, sometimes in mass. Some of their comments are enlightening to me and some seem completely biased to favor corporate greed and profit. I am very thankful for the commenters who provide truths that point out any fallacies of big business plans that are unjust and/or dangerous or deadly.

Michael Hiner

Oct. 18, 2011, 4:27 p.m.

Hi Guys,
Long day at work in the oil patch.

Yep Chinese currency and diplomacy is a rigged game which American companies do not play.  I bet none of you can estimate the corporate costs for FCPA compliance.  :)

The one thing really good about the mis-directed protestors is that they are almost right about who to blame.  As long as one focuses on the word speculation, the trail to price run-ups can be tracked to hedge funds and the like.  And yes, the oil companies made a profit.  But you know, drilling and exploraiton costs are not cheap.  Neither is the cost for seven and ten year exploration plans that are needed for maintaining a steady supply of fuel.

Funny too—when I started working in the industry in 1980, everyone talked about the gas bubble lasting until the late 1990’s.  Seems there were a couple of decades of very low gas prices due to long term energy “contracts” that kept the price down, and gas exploration unprofitable.  Back then some of those contracts were for 20 cents per mcf, no adjsutments for price shocks or inflation.  It kind of screwed up the economics for steady exploration work.

So is anyone going to calculate the cost for replacement of hydrocarbon based energy with wind?

I promise to get to your links sometime after the young ones go to bed.

The XL Pipeline is not “controversial.” Sure a handful of libs that oppose all fossil fuel innovations and efforts, is opposed to it; apparently one or two Republicans “oppose” it though I suspect they are “concerned” about it not opposed to it.

You are right that lobbying burrowed its way into the State Dept and may have swayed the outcome. The same is true of Obama care and the NLRB’s atttack of Boeing. Are you calling for the repeal of Obamacare and an end to the NLRB lawsuit??? I thought not.

The XL pipleline is a done deal; get over it. Stopdrawing silly lines in the sand and put your efforts into a robust carbon tax.

Unfortunately it is not POLITICALLY feasible in the US because the global warming crowd has bungled the sales jobs for a meaningful carbon tax by relying on shyster salesmen such as algore, Obama’s crony capitalism and ill-fated CAP and Trade, Pachauri (head of the UN’s IPCC) and East Anglia University as well as conflating climate change with “social justice” and global income redistribution.

So without a meaningful carbon tax, you’re just dreaming.

There is a way to bring about a carbon tax but it requires the courage to step outside of your ideological cave and answer the following ideological questions:

1) If the solution to too much CO2 in the air is to use less fossil fuels, why is NOT the solution to too much federal debt to use less government?

2) If the optimal amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is 350 ppm (current=389 ppm) because that is the optimal concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere that life as we know most likely can continue, why is 18% of GDP (current =25% GDP) NOT the optimal size of the federal government since that is the size that most likely yields maximum economic growth?

Think about it. Progressives and Conservatives are actually making the same apocalyptic argument albeit on different issues. They both make good arguments for action. But the public is yawningly uninterested in AGW and unwilling to make the hard choices on America’s fiscal problems. Buying off the opposition is the American way.

It’s time for progressives concerned about rising temperatures and conservatives concerned about rising federal debt to realize the obvious: they need to BUY each other off in order to effectively address their pet ideological concerns-there is no other way. This means trading, among other things, a carbon tax for a balanced budget amendment and a more limited government. This plan is outlined at

LMAD BUYS OFF Liberals with much more than just a $600 billion carbon tax. It also adds fully-funded Healthcare for every American, a public option health insurance entity, and the implementation of tax schemes frequently advocated by Liberals such as a “sugar” tax and a value-added tax. The LMAD plan even grants overnight amnesty of 10 million illegal aliens.

LMAD buys off Conservatives with much more than a balanced budget and limited government ; it permanently ends future illegal immigration, adds tort reform and completely replaces all taxes on production, labor, saving and investment with the new carbon tax, the value-added tax and the sugar tax. The LMAD plan even removes the burden of healthcare expenses from corporate balance sheets by ending our reliance on employer-provided health insurance.

Wahla! Green tech, energy efficiency, green jobs, cleaner air WITHOUT costly government regs or Obama-instituted crony capitalism.

Plan Blog:

Or just Google “LMADster” for more info.

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