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Foggy Bottom Shuck and Jive

By       Message William Boardman     Permalink
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By William Boardman  

It's that deep, but only this far, honest.... by politico

Secretary of State John Kerry promised a "transparent" assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline, and now the State Department has delivered on that promise -- with a transparently fraudulent [1]"environmental impact statement"[1] which, according one critic, "makes no mention of the [pipeline's] impact on the world's climate." 

After meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on February 8, 2013, Kerry made his first public comments as Secretary of State about the pipeline then under review by his department.  He said, in [2]response to a question[2] about the review:  "I can guarantee you that it will be fair and transparent, accountable, and we hope that we will be able to be in a position to make an announcement in the near term."

Environmentalist opponents of Keystone XL warned for years, as [3]anyone attentive[3] to the issue would know, that the development of tar sands oil in Canada will increase greenhouse gas emissions beyond the point where there is any hope of mitigating climate change.  Stopping the Keystone XL pipeline would not, in itself, control tar sands development.  But permitting it would mean losing control. 

In evaluating the Keystone project, one of the challenges the State Department faced was credibly assessing what effect the pipeline's operation -- or more precisely the effect of burning billions of gallons of the world's dirtiest oil over a period of 30 years or more would have on the global climate. 

The first signal that the State Department report would be bad news for the climate was that it was released on March 1, on a Friday afternoon, a time when news media are often at their least attentive. 

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Why Would Government Ignore Impact on Climate? 

Two days after the release of the report, investigative [4]historian Eric Zuesse[4] wrote:  "The study does discuss "Climate Change Impacts on the Proposed Project, ' but not the proposed project's impacts on climate change. It finds that climate change will have no significant impact upon either the construction, or the operation, of the Pipeline."

The State Department's environmental impact statement, executive summary section ES.5.5, tiptoes up to the critical question of tar sands oil development: 

"Finally, climate change considerations--which are influenced by GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions--could affect the construction and operation of the proposed Project. GHG and climate change issues were the subject of many comments

received during the public scoping process for the proposed Project." 

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But there the analysis stops, like a shell game in which none of the shells conceal a pea. 

The State Department statement (section E.S.5.5.2) concludes "that approval or denial of the proposes [Keystone] Project is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf Coast area." 

In other words, even if there were a pea under one of the shells, there's nothing to be done about it. 

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)

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