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House Passes Keystone XL Bill on Same Old Jobs Lies

Rep. Kristi Noem voted today to support the House's unconstitutional effort to violate the separation of powers and tell TransCanada it can build the Keystone XL pipeline without the approval of the President of the United States. Rep. Noem is on automatic pilot for Big Oil, so there's no news there.

Offering us something slightly more interesting is Rep. Justin Amash, the only Republican not to vote in favor of HR 5682. Rep. Amash didn't vote against HR 5682, either; he voted present, just as he did in May. Rep. Amash says he supports Keystone XL, but he has issues with a bill that targeting a specific company. Hmm... the Constitution (Article 1, Section 9) prohibits bills of attainder, Congressional acts that single out a person or group for punishment without trial; so what do we call a bill that singles out a person or company for a special favor?

Our scholarly President could likely expound on that Constitutional point to justify a veto, but he's sticking with more practical matters. He seems a bit put off by the fact that, of all the useful legislation Congress could have taken up right away after the election, the House and Senate are concentrating on a piddly little bill that doesn't seem to do much good for anyone but a Canadian company and the Chinese:

In some of his strongest language yet, Obama pushed back against the Republican argument that the pipeline is a “massive jobs bill for the United States.”

“Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn't have an impact on US gas prices,” he said, growing visibly frustrated.

“If my Republican friends really want to focus on what's good for the American people in terms of job creation and lower energy costs, we should be engaging in a conversation about what are we doing to produce even more homegrown energy? I'm happy to have that conversation,” he continued [Jim Avila, Chris Good, and Mary Bruce, "Obama Doubles Down on Immigration, Keystone Pipeline," ABC News, 2014.11.14].

Correction, Mr. President: Keystone XL does have an impact on U.S. gas prices. Keystone XL raises our gas prices.

Our own Senator John Thune helps peddle the lie about Keystone XL creating 42,000 jobs. (Come January, South Dakota will no longer have anyone in Congress capable of telling the truth.) No, the State Department report doesn't say that:

Over the course of up to two years of construction, the State Department estimates a total of 42,100 jobs "would be supported by construction of the proposed project." Some jobs are directly tied to the pipeline and construction. Other jobs are simply a nature of how spending $8 billion ripples out into the economy. And more than 99 percent are temporary.

...The State Department estimates that 26,100 indirect and induced jobs "would be supported by construction of the proposed project" during the construction phase. The jobs would be in providing the supply chain to Keystone as well as employee spending on lodging, food, entertainment, health care, etc.

The State Department calls these jobs "supported" and not created because it includes jobs that already exist [Katie Sanders, "Fox News Host: Keystone Pipeline Would Create 'Tens of Thousands of Jobs',", 2014.11.13].

Keystone XL will create at most a couple thousand temporary jobs, most to be filled by out-of-state contractors who will follow the pipeline down the route, just as happened with Keystone 1 through eastern South Dakota. Any jobs Keystone XL creates will be swamped by the jobs it kills by raising energy costs.

Republicans keep lying about Keystone XL. The proper response to such lies is not the Democratic surrenderism of Senators Mary Landrieu and Michael Bennet; the proper response is to tell the truth (Senator Johnson! Swing harder!) and put the interest of the American people before the profits of a Canadian pipeline company.


  1. larry kurtz 2014.11.14

    Shorter, Cory: MILF bites dog.

  2. SDBlue 2014.11.14

    1976. High school government class. We are talking about Russia and the lies and propaganda fed to the people via their media. 2014. The United States of America. What's the difference?

  3. Paul Seamans 2014.11.14

    Harold Hamm, of Continental Resources, was interviewed by Politico today. His quote that says a lot is, "the KXL is no longer relevant". Hamm feels there is no need for the KXL to ship Bakken crude. To bad he didn't get that word out before the election.

  4. Cody 2014.11.14

    The lack of proper education and rationality among the Republican Party and South Dakota representatives is disheartening. KXL does nothing but exploit South Dakota and the tar sands fields in Canada. The land that the Canadian company is exploiting will hardly become reclaimable in the future; check out some photos of what the ground looks like up there. Supporting this sort of behavior is not only shameful for Congress but for us as US citizens. Furthermore (and most importantly), the Indigenous Land that has been and will be exploited by the building of KXL is not only illegal under customary international law but morally deplorable. I am ready to put my 20 year old body on the ground if it means stopping such a disturbing project.

  5. Don Coyote 2014.11.14

    @ Paul Seamans: It appears Mr Hamm's main concern is not wanting anymore competition from Canadian oil. He seems to want to deny Canada the ability to export oil to the global market while advocating the same privilege for himself. From the same interview:

    “If we have an … oil oversupply looking at us, do we need more Canadian oil here? Probably not,” Hamm said.
    Instead, he said, Washington should devote its efforts to lifting the 1970s-era U.S. ban on exporting crude oil — a cause that has gained momentum in Congress during the past year, even though Republicans have been divided. “They can lift that ban on exports and level the playing field and untie our hands,” Hamm said. “That’s the number one issue right there. If anybody’s got a doubt, that’s it.”

  6. Les 2014.11.14

    With XL offering a token pass at their determined rate for a little Bakken Oil, wouldn't that be like putting a chicken in the fox den for negotiations, Don?
    Besides all that, Bakken oil doesn't go to the Gulf.

  7. Paul Seamans 2014.11.14

    Don Coyote, your assessment of Harold Hamm's motives probably contain a lot of truth. Harold also talks of the fact that we are producing enough domestic oil to meet US demand. The US Energy Information Administration projects that the US is close to oil self sufficiency. When TransCanada applied for their permit for the KXL permit from the PUC TransCanada stated that the US imported 60% of it's oil needs. The EIA projects that from 2020 to 2040 the US will only import 7% of needs and increased fuel efficiency might make the US a net exporter at the tune of 8%. The KXL has become, as Harold Hamm was quoted as saying, "not relevant".

  8. jerry 2014.11.14

    Do you think that someone will be singing about the counties this black snake wants to go through after they have destroyed all it touches. John Prine sings about Paradise lost

  9. jerry 2014.11.15

    You really must give republicans credit for their bullshit though and how cynical and gullible voters really are. The republicans have managed to tap into that ignorance from the pulpits of church congregations as well as the theft of the airwaves with the hate of limpey and the rest. They managed to silence Obama from the election cycle by painting him as whatever they wanted to. Democrats and Independents (what the hell is that anyway?) are just as gullible thinking that Obama really really wanted the XL to go through. Turns out, that may not be the case. So Democrats and Independents, you have yourselves to blame for all that will come in the next few years, get used to the crap sandwich you have served yourself and vow to be better and more knowledgeable Americans.

  10. barry freed 2014.11.15

    The Solar Industry was deserted by Congress when the Chinese gave $30 billion to their solar industries who used the money to cut prices in half and kill many strong solar companies in the US, not just Solyndra.
    Solyndra's product was a testament to American exceptionalism, their demise, a testament to the control of Big Energy on Congress and the media.

  11. leslie 2014.11.15

    barry, how so - the media?

  12. leslie 2014.11.15

    yup, jerry, larry.

  13. mike from iowa 2014.11.15

    barry freed-Raygun essentially bankrupted the Soviet Union by increasing our defense budget. He figured they would try to keep up and fail.

  14. bearcreekbat 2014.11.15

    Under the Keystone analysis, how many jobs in SD would have been created or saved had SD accepted the Medicaid expansion funds?

  15. Jana 2014.11.15

    Just a couple of things that prove who the House is working for.

    One, why would they give a Canadian company a pass that exempts the TransCanada pipeline initiative from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund?

    Someone needs to very publicly ask Kristi why she would approve that and leave South Dakota and American taxpayers on the hook for what will most certainly be many leaks.

    Secondly, the route has not even been finalized or approved yet. Seriously, you are giving a Canadian company carte blanche? So much for the rights of the State of Nebraska.

    Would a local county commission approve a new road for a Canadian firm without knowing where it would go? Didn't think so.

    Funny that the Party of Lincoln would bastardize his powerful statement from the Gettysburg address to now read:

    "Government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations, shall not perish from the Earth."

  16. Les 2014.11.15

    Mfi, cheap oil bankrupted Russia. As they are attempting to repeat right now. It also shut down the Bakken in 1985ish. Russia needs to learn how to play nice to corporate America or they'll bankrupt us all to teach em a lesson.

  17. Les 2014.11.15

    So much for the rights of SD, Jana.

  18. Joan Brown 2014.11.15

    I wonder if Rep. Noem would be in favor of this, IF it was going to run through her families many acres.

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.15

    Cody, you'll find lots of allies at the spirit camps at Bridger and Ideal. Road trip!

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.15

    So Don, you're arguing that Congress is justified in ignoring other more pressing problems here in the U.S. and instead hurrying a vote that only serves foreign countries' interests? Are you saying the President should approve a project operates against the interest of our domestic oil industry?

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.15

    And come on, Don: you go for the secondary quote from that good article Paul mentions and ignore the primary quote:

    Hamm said his company, which had planned to use Keystone to ship some of its North Dakota crude, is already using other pipelines for half of its oil. And the percentage is growing.

    “We’re supporting other pipelines out there, we’re not waiting on Keystone. Nobody is,” said Hamm, a former energy adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, who made a vast fortune as an early investor in North Dakota’s booming Bakken oil shale region. “That thing … needed action on it six years ago. I just think it’s too late and we need to move on” [Darren Goode, "GOP Oil Titan: Keystone's Irrelevant," Politico, 2014.11.14].

    An industry leader is refuting one of the central claims Mike Rounds made to win election, that Keystone XL was essential to moving Bakken crude. Republicans always tell us we're supposed to believe American businessmen over politicians. Businessman Hamm is telling us Keystone XL is irrelevant to the Bakken. What are you, Don, some kind of socialist?

  22. larry kurtz 2014.11.15

    so, building kxl accelerates the bankruptcy of putin's russia because earth is expendable: is this a great planet or what?

  23. jerry 2014.11.15

    Putin has plenty of other resources that has put Western Europe in a throttle hold. The natural gas deposits in Russia and her closest allies is incredible. If you take a look at what the energy demands are for the west and where those resources are coming from, the oil from Keystone really is not such a concern for Putin as he can simply raise the prices on his gas and all will have to pay.

  24. larry kurtz 2014.11.15


  25. larry kurtz 2014.11.15

    why blockquotes working for you, cory but not for the comment box?

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.15

    [Ah! Because I'm awesome... and because <blockquote> is disabled in the comment section. I used a div with a left margin. Try this:

    <div style="margin-left: 15px;">insert your awesome blockquote here</div>

    ...and for Pete's sake, don't forget to close the div, or we'll blow up the whole sidebar!]

  27. larry kurtz 2014.11.15

    four score and a million or so years ago humanity made fire

  28. Les 2014.11.15

    The oil markets which have nothing to do with XL, determine Russia's energy future returns, Lar.
    I recently saw a check for 5 months Nat gas well production in the millions of cubic feet for 1100.00, Jer. At a 20% cut for the mineral owner the total production value would be 5500.00 with the government getting much less than the production company. Not gonna keep Putin in tall cotton very long with current Nat gas rates.

  29. larry kurtz 2014.11.15

    still not working, cory.

  30. jerry 2014.11.15

    Putin can control the market in Europe as he is the main source of energy for their needs. That is why Germany for one has done so much with renewable energy to offset issues that may come up. Take a look at what those countries use in Russian gas to sustain their needs in the winter which has come there.

  31. grudznick 2014.11.15

    You will find a job soon, Mr. kurtz.

    wanted: dishwasher on east north street

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.15

    [Well, Larry, I'm at a loss to explain the problem. I open your comment to edit and find no code. Maybe the comment system strips code from commenters, but not from admin?]

  33. grudznick 2014.11.15

    Make Mr. kurtz an administrator so he can enragedly delete and edit people's comments.

  34. Les 2014.11.16

    Saudi ain't going for it Lar. They're shaking the markets with everything but XL. Why, XL is irrelevant.
    Dove, easy on the hands, Lar.

  35. larry kurtz 2014.11.16

    sure is frustrating watching the media reminding readers about the failures of the rounds/daugaard years after the election.

  36. Paul Seamans 2014.11.16

    Because of an IRS ruling the tarsands oil is not considered crude oil and as a result does not have to pay the 8 cents per barrel fee into the federal spill fund. An amendment was offered to HR 5682 to require that tarsands shippers also pay this fee. The amendment was voted down. Our Kristi Noem voted with the majority. Any federal money payed out from this fund to clean up spills will not come out of TransCanada's pocket. Thanks TransCanada, you are a great neighbor. Thanks also to you Kristi, you are a great representative.

  37. mike from iowa 2014.11.16

    Tarsands is bitumen and is much worse than sweet crude from Bakken. W/O chemicals and heat the crud won't flow through a pipe.

  38. Don Coyote 2014.11.16

    Nor will any taxes come out of BNSF's pocket when a train derails. Thanks Warren!

    Actually once you tease the real story out, you'll find that the tax is collected on any crude oil and/or petroleum products that are mixed into the tar sand crude.

    The tar sand crude is considered a synfuel by a law passed during the energy crisis of the late 70's, aka as the Jimmy Carter Era, to encourage the production of oil from non-traditional sources. Thanks Jimmy!

    It's also interesting to note that Sen Charles Schumer had introduced an amendment in 2012 to end the exemption. However the failed amendment was tacked on to a transportation bill and would have diverted the tax to the Highway Trust Fund. Gee thanks Chuck!

    FWIW, here is the IRS ruling:

  39. Don Coyote 2014.11.16

    Cory, so Congress is incapable of dealing with more than one issue at a time? Besides do we really want a lame duck Congress dealing with those "pressing" issues which in MYOP would be better dealt with in the new Congress.

    Your xenophobic economics are laughable. Keep in mind that the "foreign interests" of which you speak happen to include substantial interests/investments of US oil companies including Marathon, Devon Oil, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, Exxon-Mobil and Occidental. KXL would hardly be working against "domestic oil companies" as you say.

    Also Canada accounts for 28% (IIRC) of US imported oil, more than the amount from the entire Mideast. We are hardly a disinterested party.

  40. Jana 2014.11.16

    So Don Coyote, you must be for a foreign company taking family farm land and putting farmland and precious water supplies to boost foreign economies?

    Ask the growers and producers whose lively hoods depend on that water, or have you already?

    Does the fact that South Dakotans take all the risk in an oil spill make sense?

    You'd really sell out family farmer to stay true to your ideology?

    Protecting South Dakota farmers, our collective environment and the moving target of why we should build it is hardly xenophobic...I actually think it's quite conservative.

  41. Jana 2014.11.16

    Jeez, Don. If the NRA was actually concerned about hunting and the potential damage to waterfowl and upland bird hunting members, they should be screaming bloody murder!

    Oh wait, South Dakota hunters are not their puppeteers.

  42. Paul Seamans 2014.11.16

    Don Coyote, despite what you have stated about the history of the exemption on the 8 cents per barrel fee on crude oil shipped by pipeline the fact remains that the house had a chance to make this right by allowing an amendment to HR 5682 on Friday. The Republican majority voted it down. Kristi Noem voted with the majority. TransCanada thanks Kristi Noem.

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.11.17

    Don: Congress incapable of dealing with more than one issue? When it comes to doing favors for Big Oil, apparently, yes. Where's the jobs bill they passed at the same time as the KXL bill? Where's the Highway Fund bill? Where's immigration reform?

  44. Les 2014.11.17

    China has a major ownership interest in the tar pits.

  45. larry kurtz 2014.11.17

    Noem decrying the EPA for seeking the sources of pollution as a federal land grab while heralding TransCanada's condemnation of land held by American property owners is simply uproarious.

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