(Article changed on February 16, 2014 at 15:02)
By Dave Lindorff
Alberta's tar sands are an environmental nightmare (
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US Secretary of State John Kerry is a man of many convictions--many of them in open conflict with one another.
Recall that back in 2004, while trying to unseat President George W. Bush, he famously told students at Marshall University who wanted to know his stand on the US invasion of Iraq, that he "actually did vote for" a bill funding the war "before I voted against it."
Now he's doing the same thing on climate change, trying to say he's both in favor of taking actions to prevent or slow the earth's rapid warming, while he's also in favor of actions that will make the crisis much worse. Specifically, Kerry just warned a group of students in Indonesia that climate change could threaten their "entire way of life" and warned that "big companies and special interests" should not be allowed to "hijack" the climate debate. This was just days after his own State Department did exactly that, allowing oil industry lobbyists to micro-manage an environmental impact study for his State Department of the Keystone XL pipeline that Canada wants to build to bring tar sands oil slurry down from northern Alberta for sale to the US.
That industry-corrupted "study" concluded that if the US approved the controversial pipeline, it would be "unlikely to alter" the amount of carbon put into the atmosphere, because the tar sands would be developed whether a pipeline to the US was approved or not .
That kind of "logic," of course, could be used to justify just about any kind of crazed energy development project. For example, a new coal-fired power plant being planned in California opposed by environmentalists could be supported with an argument that if it weren't built in California, it would be built in Nevada anyhow, or a controversial drilling permit for offshore oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska could be supported with an argument that if it were not permitted there, it would be allowed to operate off Canada.
The no-harm argument is also belied by the reality that the Keystone pipeline, if approved by Kerry and by President Obama (another man with a surfeit of conflicting "convictions"), will be bringing over 800,000 barrels of high-carbon-producing heavy bitumen slurry into the US every day--a quantity of CO2-producing fuel that NASA climate expert James Hansen has warned would mean "game over" in the fight to prevent climate disaster. The environmental impact study fails to note that the pipeline's oil volume would represent fully a third of the potential production of Canada's tar sands, and fails to consider that without that export capability, the dangerous exploitation of the Alberta tar sands would be greatly slowed, and perhaps even rendered economically unfeasible.
In any case, internal State Department documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and released by two environmental organizations, Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club, show that the absurdly flawed environmental impact study was in fact the product of close secret cooperation between the State Department under both former Secretary Hillary Clinton and current Secretary Kerry, and TransCanada, the company seeking the Keystone XL pipeline permit...
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the new uncompromising four-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/2149