Ryan Zinke and Jon Tester Agree: Build that Pipeline!

by lizard

For in depth Ryan Zinke coverage, Don Pogreba is all over it. In the flurry of Zinke posts at Intelligent Discontent, one post I take issue with is the one declaring Ryan Zinke is wrong on the Keystone XL.

The problem with Pogreba’s selective partisan concern regarding the Keystone pipeline is the fact Montana Democrats, like our senior Senator, Jon Tester, will play a much more influential role in pushing for this disastrous project. Here is Tester in his own words, from his own website, explaining Why I support the Keystone XL pipeline. Here’s an example of Tester’s flawed rationale:

Building the Keystone XL pipeline will help Eastern Montana to reach its full economic potential. The pipeline would run through Montana and include an on-ramp in Baker for oil from the Bakken. The on-ramp will deliver up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day to market. Today, Bakken oil is getting less than market value because of shipping constraints — Keystone XL will help fix that.

I have voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline three times. I am disappointed that Congress and the president cannot work together to support this common sense project. Built with respect for private property rights and to the highest safety standards, the pipeline will safeguard our most treasured places and increase our energy independence.

Energy security means economic and national security, and a responsibly-built Keystone XL pipeline will make us less dependent on unfriendly countries. We import less foreign oil than we have in decades, but we still have work to do to become energy independent. That’s why I am pushing to keep Bakken oil right here in the United States. After all, it makes sense to power American vehicles and industries with domestic oil instead of sending nearly $1 billion per day to countries that don’t like us.

People who are actually concerned about the impacts of this project continue to have an uphill battle in messaging the realities of what this pipeline will mean for Montanans and for the Earth’s climate. It doesn’t help that our local newspaper shills for this project and our former Governor enjoys eloquently blaming delays on “jackasses” in Washington.

Keeping the partisan crosshairs trained on candidates who will obviously parrot the talking points of the pipeline to get elected is nothing but preaching to the choir, and ignores the people who actually have the influence to push for this disaster to get built.

The pros of this project are lies, and they are being peddled from politicians across the political spectrum. It would be great if partisans like Don Pogreba could include that fact in his narrowly deployed critique of this project’s efficacy.

  1. steve kelly

    Wall Street Democrats like Baucus and Tester will vote with Wall Street Republicans, against our environment and the public interest every time. When global capital says jump, they ask how high. Citizens have no chance in the current pay-to-play system.

    I happened to tune into a Jay Kohn Montana CBS interview last evening with Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) heaping on the praise for Baucus’ decades of acquiescence to everything and anything corporate.

  2. Craig Moore


    WASHINGTON — The State Department released a report on Friday that could pave the way toward President Obama’s approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

    The long-awaited environmental impact statement on the project concludes that approval or denial of the pipeline, which would carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, is unlikely to prompt oil companies to change the rate of their extraction of carbon-heavy tar sands oil, a State Department official said. Either way, the tar sands oil, which produces significantly more planet-warming carbon pollution than standard methods of drilling, is coming out of the ground, the report says.

    In his second term, Mr. Obama has sought to make his fight against climate change a cornerstone of his legacy. In a major speech on the environment last summer, Mr. Obama said that he would approve the pipeline only if it would not “significantly exacerbate” the problem of carbon pollution. He said the pipeline’s net effects on the climate would be “absolutely critical” to his decision.

    The conclusions of the report appear to indicate that the project has passed Mr. Obama’s climate criteria, an outcome expected to outrage environmentalists, who have rallied, protested, marched and been arrested in demonstrations around the country against the pipeline.

    • But I thought this was part of the environmental legacy we’d be proud to hand off to our kids? I mean, the president supported this today, and didn’t he say that only policies benefiting the future would be followed?

      You’re not going to tell me he stood up in front of the millionaires in Congress and lied to them are you?

      How will they ever forgive him?

  3. Craig Moore

    Beyond the pipeline, will Obama use his politically motivated climate policy to keep over 60,000,000 in poverty? http://www.cgdev.org/blog/natural-gas-vs-renewables-opic-whats-tradeoff

    • I guess what a lot of those people, like that woman in Missoula that got arrested, are worried the long-term consequences of fossil fuel energy will put far more than that in poverty. Many argue energy policies have already put far more than that into poverty around the world.

      Montana is a resource state, always has been. Whether it was fur trapping, gold and placer mining, silver, sapphires, sheep, cattle, wheat – all this stuff comes from the land.

      That’s why it’s so hard for representatives of either party to not support something like this.

      At this point, how would you stop it? Marshall the forces of social media and sit in more roads? I’d love to see common citizens thwart the powerful interests more than anyone, but it sure seems like that’s not going to happen.

      Now would be a good time to get into the benefits of increased wind energy funding and other renewables, but it almost seems like those are bad words in this state.

      Lots of people in Montana are already in poverty and honestly, I just don’t see that pipeline pulling a whole helluva lot of them out of it.

    • JC

      Will republicans use their “politically motivated” economic policies to keep 50 million americans in poverty?

      If you think that having access to electricity is a measure of poverty, how about access to health insurance? What do you think about republican’s “politically motivated” ideologies that keep 20 million poor people in poverty by denying them access to health insurance (like Medicaid)?

      Personally, I think that as with the “green revolution” — where we allowed corporate giants like Monsanto to control access to, and production of, food in third world countries — the “brown revolution” (brown for oil) will do the same: create a monopoly on hydrocarbon based fuels and electrical production/distribution that will keep the “impoverished” in places like Africa dependent upon the likes of Halliburton to keep them hooked on their electrical fix.

      How much simpler it would be to offer off-grid villages access to technologies, tools and materials to build locally owned and controlled wind/solar/hydro/geo power systems to provide them with power for essential needs.

      Then again, one just needs to look at our expansion of empire into Africa with all of our bases, military advisors, etc. to understand that the powers-that-be need to control the means of production of power and distribution if they are to fully assimilate the continent in their quest for strategic positioning.

    • lizard19

      Craig, let me explain the difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to poverty and poor people.

      metaphorically speaking, Republicans punch poor people in the face while Democrats prefer stabbing them in the back after delivering a bunch of empty promises.

      just because I tend to focus on the latter behavior of Democrats, please don’t think the cruelty and idiocy of Republican “policies” has gone unnoticed.

  4. Turner

    I see that Dirk Adams has filed for senate. On his website he argues against the XL pipeline and seems like a very attractive candidate on a number of issues. The Demo leadership in Montana are lined up behind Walsh.

    And so was I, until Adams filed.

    • He makes some good points and I commend him for taking a stand. It’s a brave thing to do.

      Maybe it’ll give democrats something to get excited about, which, let’s face it, Walsh doesn’t really do.


    • lizard19

      thanks Turner. I took a quick glance at his website, and I like what I see. considering Walsh’s pathetic showing so far, I’d vote for Adams in a second.

      • Craig Moore

        Look here http://www.leftinthewest.com/diary/4882/dirk-adams-why-im-a-democrat Pretty damn good stuff. Finally a Dem candidate worthy of respect.

        I’m running for Senate because I think Montana needs someone who can get things done and is unafraid to stand strong when it comes to what’s best for our state and our country.

        Because of or despite this, the party insiders in Washington aren’t interested in me. They won’t return my calls, out of arrogance, rudeness, or both. They have the liberal organizations falling in line with endorsements for their chosen candidate. But their chosen candidate is nowhere to be found. You can’t get in touch with him if you try. He hasn’t staked out any positions on the issues. He won’t respond to the press. Our one scheduled debate was cancelled because he wouldn’t show up.

        I’m happy to shout my positions from the tops of grain elevators and let the people decide whether they want to elect me. But the Democrats in power are acting like they’re scared of letting Montana voters pick their own elected officials.

  5. lizard19

    good news guys, the pipeline is a little closer to bringing us tens of thousands of jobs building the safest pipeline ever and with the energy security America won’t be dependent on all those bad countries that hate us anymore:

    The long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline cleared a major hurdle Friday as the State Department raised no major environmental objections to the controversial pipeline from Canada through the heart of the U.S. Republicans and some oil- and gas-producing states cheered, but the report further rankled environmentalists already at odds with President Barack Obama.

    • I wrote up something on my site about this tonight.

      It’s going to be real hard to convince a lot of those eastern Montana republicans to not go for that pipeline. They need to get that Bakken oil out of there and that pipeline is there way to do it fast and cheap.

      I’m assuming TransCanada is paying for the construction of this thing, and the costs that go along with them. Of course, that assumption could be pretty silly.

      Even if they are going to get 20,000 jobs (which is one of the reasonable high estimates) that’s a lot of payroll.

      But what happens when that payroll dries up and we’ve got these people over there in eastern Montana that once relied on these jobs. Although, really, I don’t know how much you can rely on a temporary 6 month to a year job.

      Still, infrastructure will be built and communities will suddenly have new residents that will eventually have to collect unemployment. Depending on how long they want to stay there, which very well could depend on the farmer’s daughter as well, they might see those unemployment benefits disappear. Ha, imagine in the irony in that.

      It seems like doing nothing is just easier, cheaper, and the overall best option for the state long-term.


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