Newsflash: The current fluctuation in gas prices is mostly due to instability in Iran and, to a lesser extent, Europe. And the fossil fuel industry isn’t exactly floating it’s own boat. The US government subsidizes big oil to the tune of $40 billion per year. So why not spend our tax dollars on investing in the future of energy technology and jobs, rather than the past?
In all the back and forth about the Obama Administration decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline permit, there’s been little coverage of the fact that oil industry repeatedly misrepresented the project — exaggerating the jobs that would be created and hiding the impact on fuel prices.
1. Keystone XL Would Not Reduce Foreign Oil Dependency
The oil to be sent through Keystone XL pipeline was never destined for US markets. In its own presentation to investors about the proposed pipeline extension, TransCanada (the company behind Keystone XL) boasted that most if not all of the extracted and refined oil would be exported — sold in oversees markets where oil fetches a higher price (and thus turns a higher profit for the company).
3. Keystone XL Overstated Number of Jobs to be Created
In 2008, TransCanada’s original permit application to the State Department said the Keystone XL pipeline would create “a peak workforce of approximately 3,500 to 4,200 construction personnel” in temporary jobs building the pipeline. By 2011, now facing growing opposition to the pipeline, TransCanada had inflated these numbers (using undisclosed formulas) to 20,000. Supporters of the proposal, backed by big oil, have since trumpeted these trumped up numbers.
My frenemy Tony Katz took a swipe at me in a post on Big Journalism because I had the audacity to point out that loans to the failed green energy company Solyndra were initiated under President George W. Bush. Damn me and my facts!
Tony then went on to write:
The left is more desirous of punishing the American people; forcing them to pay for technology that has no home in the marketplace at this time because the technology is not yet viable.
Versus, what, big oil? Because according to the Union of Concerned Scientists:
There is growing awareness in this country that the full cost of using oil for transportation is “subsidized” — that is, gasoline prices paid by consumers do not reflect the full economic cost to society. The true cost is hidden by myriad direct and indirect public subsidies, which include
* reduced corporate income taxes for the oil industry
* lower than average sales taxes on gasoline
* government funding of programs that primarily benefit the oil industry and motorists
* “hidden” environmental costs caused by motor vehicles, namely air, water, and noise pollution
Meanwhile, the leading Republican critics of helping green energy compete with subsidized oil and gas are — big shocker! — funded by big oil and gas. For instance, I saw a Koch Industries spokesperson on television the other day making the case for why our government shouldn’t be investing in the future of energy and jobs and “picking winners and losers” in the marketplace. This from the company that has spent millions buying and lobbying Congress expressly so it could be a hand-picked winner.
Green energy is among the fastest growing industries in American today — but if China keeps subsidizing its green industry and we keep killing ours, America will be the loser in the global marketplace. Big oil would like us to think Solyndra is a warming against green energy investments. But the real warning is if we don’t invest, the future will leave American workers and our economy behind.
NEW YORK TIMES PROFILE
JOIN SALLY’S EMAIL LIST
FOR A GOOD TIME, FOLLOW
RUMORS ABOUT MELoading Quotes...
TV DOESN’T PAY THE BILLSMake a tax-deductible contribution via our fiscal sponsor, the Grassroots Policy Project
POPULAR TAGS2012 Election 2012 Elections barack obama budget capitalism civility Congress corporations debt deficit democrats economy feminism financial reform Fox News gay rights Glenn Beck government greed ideology inequality jobs marriage equality Mitt Romney Obama occupy wall st occupy wall street Paul Ryan popular education populism president obama progressive protests race racism Republicans Right wing sexism social movements strategy taxes Tea Party unions values Wall Street