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BUT THE OGALLALA AQUIFER IS MORE IMPORTANT!
by Paul R. Hollrah, ©2011
(Nov. 12, 2011) — On April 11, 2011, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had a telephone conversation with National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) acting general counsel Lafe Solomon, a recent Obama appointee. According to a Solomon file note obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the watchdog group, Judicial Watch, Graham warned of what would happen if the NLRB proceeded with efforts to block the Boeing Company from producing its new Dreamliner aircraft in new facilities at Charleston, South Carolina.
According to Solomon’s file note, “He (Graham) said that if a complaint was filed, it will be ‘nasty, very, very nasty.’ He said that this was a case of how not to grow the economy…”
The NLRB ignored Graham’s warnings, and on April 20 the agency alleged that Boeing was expanding Dreamliner production in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, in retaliation for past strikes by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers at their Seattle plants. It was a serious blow to South Carolina workers who saw as many as 3,800 good-paying jobs disappear at the hands of Barack Obama and his AFL-CIO puppetmasters.
Two days later, Solomon joked about the furor created by the complaint against Boeing. In an email to an agency associate, commenting on a European news article that criticized the NLRB action, Solomon said, “The article gave me a new idea. You go to Geneva and I get a job with Airbus. We s****ed up the U.S. economy, and now we can tackle Europe.”
Some 3,800 Boeing workers in South Carolina, present and future, were not so amused. Rarely has the free world witnessed such blatant fascism in the years since Hitler’s Third Reich.
Now, on November 10, 2011, Obama has doubled down on his job-killing efforts with a State Department decision to postpone work on the US-Canadian Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 General Election. The proposed 36”-diameter pipeline would carry much-needed heavy crude oil from the Athabasca Tar Sands region of Alberta Province in Canada to refineries in Oklahoma, Illinois, and Texas.
The reason for the delay, in which finds Obama himself caught squarely between the labor unions, who want to see the 20,000 jobs created, and the radical environmentalists, who will use any excuse to damage or destroy the U.S. economy, is a totally unfounded concern that the pipeline might pollute the Ogallala aquifer.
The Ogallala is one of the world’s largest aquifers, covering an area of approximately 174,000 square miles in portions of eight states: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. About 30 percent of the ground water used for irrigation in the U.S. is drawn from the Ogallala, as well as drinking water for about 82 percent of the people who live within the aquifer’s 174,000-square-mile boundary.
In responding to Obama’s action, House Speaker John Boehner said, “By punting on this project, the president has made clear that campaign politics are driving U.S. policy decisions…at the expense of American jobs. The current project has already been deemed environmentally sound, and calling for a new route is nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt to avoid upsetting (his) political base before the election. It is a failure of leadership.”
Boehner continued, “The production of American-made energy has a direct link to American job creation. That’s why House Republicans will soon introduce and pass jobs legislation that ties the permanent expansion of American energy production to an increase in new infrastructure projects. Today is another reminder that the President’s energy policy is destroying American jobs while Republicans are focused on using American resources to put people back to work.”
In a public statement in support of the decision, Obama said he supported the delay “Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood.”
Bullroar! No one but a “community organizer” from the south side of Chicago would make such a totally nonsensical statement and do it with a straight face. Questions have been raised about Obama’s I.Q., which he has sealed under Executive Order. However, if his reasoning underlying this decision is any measure, we must assume that his I.Q. must be somewhere south of 100, and I challenge him to prove otherwise.
The project cannot affect the health and safety of the American people or the environment. However, postponing the project does affect the health and safety of the American people because of the jobs it will kill… because of the family units that will be destroyed because of extended unemployment and the homes that will be lost to foreclosure.
What is also disconcerting about the decision is that Obama lacked the courage to announce the decision over his own signature. Instead, he had the decision announced by the State Department so that he could hide behind Hillary skir… er, polyester pantsuits (made from petroleum derivatives). Since when does the U.S. State Department exercise control over domestic energy and infrastructure projects?
Obama and those around him are apparently of the opinion that the laying of 1,661 miles of underground steel pipe, 36 inches in diameter, is a “cutting-edge” undertaking, a project that must be evaluated by his team of advisors, none of whom have any real world experience and are experts at absolutely nothing.
The facts are these. The United States currently has some 485,000 miles of petroleum-related pipeline in service. This includes some 300,000 miles of natural gas pipeline, with an additional 5,473 miles of pipeline on the drawing board; 55,000 miles of 8” to 24” diameter crude oil trunk lines; 30,000 to 40,000 miles of 2” to 6” diameter oil field gathering lines; and some 95,000 miles of 8” to 42” diameter refined products pipelines.
It is a major industry, and because the pipelines are essentially all underground, most Americans are totally unaware of their existence. The people who run the pipelines know what they are doing and they have an almost flawless environmental and safety record.
The Ogallala aquifer ranges in thickness from just a few feet to more than 1,000 feet. In terms of depth, the aquifer lies from a minimum of 100 feet beneath the ground surface to as much as 400 feet. Again, no one but a “community organizer” from Chicago could possibly imagine that a rare leak from the Keystone XL pipeline, carrying highly viscous heavy crude oil, could saturate the soil beyond five or ten feet from the leak source. To conclude otherwise requires a willing suspension of reason. There is literally no possibility that the Keystone XL pipeline could ever pollute the Ogallala aquifer.
As an indicator of the unmitigated stupidity of the decision, the President of the Laborers’ International Union, Terry O’Sullivan, made the following statement on Thursday, November 10: “Environmentalists formed a circle around the White House and within days the Obama Administration chose to inflict a potentially fatal delay to a project that is not just a pipeline, but is a lifeline for thousands of desperate working men and women. The Administration chose to support environmentalists over jobs. Job-killers win, American workers lose.
“Environmental groups from the Natural Resources Defense Council to the Sierra Club may be dancing in the streets, having delayed and possibly stopped yet another project that would put men and women back to work. While they celebrate, pipeline workers will continue to lose their homes and livelihoods. We had hoped the decision would have been made on the basis of economics, facts, and the best interests of the nation, not on the basis of a political calculation.”
When the leader of a major international labor union suggests that “economics, facts, and the best interests of the nation” should be the principal criteria in the development of a business enterprise, we know that Obama has truly turned the world upside down. Economics, facts, and the national interest have never been of concern to labor bosses.
It remains to be seen whether Obama’s decision will stand. As the jobs picture worsens and the Canadians make overtures toward selling their Athabasca crude to the Chinese, it is difficult to see how he can stand by his decision. And when he reverses himself on the pipeline decision and is forced to fire his recent appointee to the NLRB, he will do major damage to his radical left base… environmentalists and labor unions… further sealing his fate in November 2012.
Nothing could be of greater benefit to the nation than to provide further proof that Obama is an incompetent fool, masquerading as President of the United States. That proof is now before us.
Editor’s Note: An editorial by Terry O’Sullivan regarding the Keystone XL pipeline can be found here.