The industry’s PR response from Deepwater is shaping up nicely. This is the industry message:
We will give you improved safety and you give us resumed drilling. The Gulf of Mexico represents energy security and jobs for the boys to boot.
The tar sands of Canada also represent energy security, so if you let us build a 2,000 mile pipeline from northern Alberta to the US refineries, the Gulf and tar sands will give us guaranteed safe energy for generations. No more Middle Eastern wars for oil.
However, the problem for the industry is that a growing number of people are now opposed to both parts of the plan. Millions of affected people in America’s Gulf States do not want a repeat of the Deepwater disaster. And no none it seems – apart from the industry itself – believes the spin about dirty tar sands being part of any clean energy solution.
Adding to the debate, nearly 50 members of Congress have warned the State Department against agreeing to the 2,000-mile 12 billion Keystone XL pipeline, which would import up to 900,000 barrels of tar sands a day and double U.S. consumption of the controversial fuel source.
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, nearly 50 members of the House of Representatives said the agency “must determine whether the project is in the national interest” in terms of “clean energy and climate change priorities” before agreeing to it.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), one of the lead signatories, said the pipeline “poses a direct threat to America’s heartland. It cuts through sensitive ecosystems, crosses rivers, invades ranches and farms and could scar this land forever.”
The congressmen argued that: “Numerous scientific studies have found tar sands oil to produce much higher lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than convention oil.”
The congressmen called on the Department of State “to clearly and openly articulate its criteria for weighing the pipeline’s climate change impacts against other considerations.” Amongst others things they demanded that the US EPA should conduct a comprehensive life-cycle greenhouse gas assessment for tar sands oil. “We should only move forward after this assessment is complete and the full impact of tar sands oil can be understood.”
Rather than be part of the solution,“Building this pipeline has the potential to undermine America’s clean energy future and international leadership on climate change” concluded the congressmen.
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), another signatory, said investing in clean energy and not relying on the “dirty fuels of the 19th century” is necessary to build a stronger economy. “It’s where the jobs of the future reside,” he said. The pipeline was like “embracing the past,” said Welch.
They are not the only ones voicing dissent. One of Obama’s closest advisors, John Podesta, surprised an audience of tar sands supporters this week when he denounced the fuel source as “inherently dirty,” saying it “cannot be our energy future.”
In a keynote speech at an event sponsored by Canada 2020 that was actually designed to whip up support for “greening” the dirty tar sands, Podesta admitted he was “skeptical about the ‘green’ vision for the tar sands.”
He continued: “If the ‘greening’ in the title of this morning’s program was conjured up to evoke a garden party in the oil sands, I’ll try not to play the part of the skunk,”
He added bluntly: “Oil extraction from tar sands is polluting, destructive, expensive and energy-intensive. These things are facts. I think suggesting this process can come close to approximating being ‘greened’ is largely misleading, or far too optimistic, or perhaps both. It stands alongside clean coal and error-free deepwater drilling as more PR than reality.”