Year 2, Month 11, Day 9: Why, They Couldn’t Hit An Elephant At This Dist…..!

Dr. James Knotwell of Lincoln, Nebraska, writes a piece for the Wauneta Breeze (NE). It’s a long and thoughtful analysis of why the Keystone XL is full of shit:

In trying to dissect and comprehend the theater that is the current Keystone XL controversy, I’m wondering whether to characterize its genre as comedy, tragedy, or farce; it contains elements of all three, but one must prevail.

It’s comical, for instance, to view the special legislative session as anything but a political move designed exclusively for CYA, but that’s the only way this “development” project could be considered funny.

Similarly, TransCanada’s faux concern for presumed accrual of economic benefits, as Charlie Litton and the Nebraska News Service ably demonstrated in last week’s Breeze posting, reveals the farcical nature of the Keystone XL escapade.

But that the Keystone XL project will end up as surefire tragedy for Nebraskans is a stone-cold, lead-pipe lock.

Of course the pipeline will ultimately fail with the fragile Nebraska landscape bearing the brunt of that failure, it might happen in months, it might happen in decades, but it will happen, and the actual cost then will be much greater than however much of the $4 billion in annual profits accumulates in the pockets of producers, transporters, and investors, who by then will have made themselves invisible or invulnerable anyway.

The real tragedy in this scenario, though, is the further undermining of community sovereignty by industrial investors — those financial overseers located everywhere else but here.

Only a few years back, with the wind-energy frenzy providing the fuel for industrial deception of magnitude comparable to TranCanada and its Albertan tar sands pipe, I found myself an insider in the construction of a private transmission line designed to move the wind-generated electricity of central Texas southeastward.

The procedure for building such a massive piece of linear infrastructure is dubious because it is highly secretive and frenetically paced.

There’s more. You should read it; the guy is very good. Sent November 5:

As Dr. James Knotwell points out, the Keystone XL project is a perfect example of corporate sovereignty trumping the needs of individual localities and regions. Oil company spokespeople say our economy cannot grow without the dirty crude of the Alberta tar sands, when what they really mean is that their balance sheets won’t grow nearly as fast. TransCanada’s advocates cynically trade off the pipeline’s inevitable environmental and health impacts with the sop of a few locally-based jobs.

Dr. Knotwell’s morally-charged analysis gains force when applied on larger scales of place and time. Extracting the tar sands’ oil endangers the environment upon which all earthly life depends; the CO2 released into the atmosphere is going to take centuries to dissipate — and our civilization will be threatened in ways we can barely imagine. An economy in which corporate profits outrank the long-term survival and prosperity of our species is profoundly immoral.

Warren Senders

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