Why all the fuss about the Keystone XL pipeline?

I just don’t understand why the Keystone XL pipeline is such a high priority for the Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Maybe I’m missing something, but this is how is see the project.

  1. The pipeline will be owned by Tanscanada, a Canadian company.
  2. The oil running through the pipeline belongs exclusively to the oil companies (and their foreign investors) that extracted it from the tar sands in Canada.
  3. The crude oil is of the bituminous type, meaning it will be expensive to refine and cause more pollution that other crude oil types.
  4. The crude oil will be refined in America and then can be exported worldwide.
  5. There will be NO impact on gasoline prices in the US. For reasons too many to list, that’s just a silly thought. Google “fungible” to see why.
  6. The construction will take place over two years, but workers will only be hired temporarily for two construction seasons of 4-8 months each.
  7. During the construction phase up to 46,000 temporary jobs in supporting services will be created.
  8. After the construction is completed, there will be 35 permanent jobs created to monitor and maintain the pipeline. No, that’s not a typo. Thirty five (35) permanent jobs.

So, there will be no real job creation, no impact on gas prices, no revenue for you unless you’ve sold a swatch of land to Tanscanada or unless you’re an investor in one of the oil companies.

If all of the above is even close to true than why has the pipeline become such a political juggernaut that it  has distracted our elected representatives from working on things that have a real impact on an average American’s life. That’s me. I’m average and I’d really like to know.

Unfortunately, I think I know the answer, or at least part of it. It’s THE GAME. Politicians inside the beltway are hopelessly disconnected from reality. Their reality is not about accomplishing something important for you or me. No, it’s about how to best screw the other party and increase their own political capital. Score is being kept! That’s the only reason I can think of that someone would say we need Keystone because it will create jobs and and lower gas prices. Or, that the pipeline represents an imminent environmental catastrophe. That’s just absurd. Neither are true, but it doesn’t matter if you’re playing THE GAME.

Washington politics reminds me of a playground tussle among five year olds where one kid bumps into another and things escalate into a raging confrontation. In the end, it was just one kid tripping into another and a teacher would intervene. But, they were five. Sometimes I think Congress would fit right in on a play ground and I would love that there were a teacher that could intervene with them.

Since no teacher will intervene, all we average people can do is watch from the sidelines and shake our heads at the ineptitude of our elected officials. That is, until the next election when we vote them back into office. The real source of the problem is in the mirror.


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