Grassroots in Nebraska via Shelli Dawdy
As we’ve noted here, more than once, our primary interest in the Keystone XL pipeline project was the conduct of Nebraska’s elected officials at both the state and federal levels, and serious concerns about property rights. We did not have an overall position on the project and we did not recommend any particular action. Our simple purpose was to expose, as widely as possible, the truth according to all of the information that we had available so that Nebraskans would learn who is representing them (or not) in office.It was our analysis that Nebraskans’ primary concern is the property rights issue; people are particularly repulsed that a private foreign company has the power under our state laws to invoke eminent domain.
We did not call for a special session of the State Legislature because:
- Too many legislators who had previous opportunity to act chose not to; they were either deliberately obtuse, at best, or actively worked to bury information about the State of Nebraska’s ability to exert its sovereignty.
- The eminent domain problems within Nebraska’s statutes have not been mentioned by any legislators expressing concern, or by the Governor, so it was unlikely to be dealt with by them during the special session.
- We were concerned that legislators would create or expand a state commission with appointed or hired members not accountable to the people of Nebraska, which would result in yet another morass of bureaucracy. In addition to poor stewardship of taxpayers’ money, elected officials would be provided “political cover”. Ultimately, we feared, it would prove ineffective now and in future.
Nebraska’s officials have already placed the State in an intractable position…
- No action meant no fix for the property rights problem, no exertion of state sovereignty, inadequate reimbursement to counties for expenses caused by project, etc., and continued concerns about the pipeline’s placement through Holt County, which arguably, is a point of vulnerability along the route.
- Action as proposed still meant no protection for property owners, high potential for running afoul of the Constitution (ex post facto1. and “special legislation”2), and delays resulting in a costly lawsuit filed by TransCanada (bad faith3) and now, reportedly, potential lawsuits filed by other states in the line of the project.
Prior to this past weekend, at most, we would’ve recommended concerned Nebraskans focus on a “Hail Mary” effort to impact the eminent domain problem during the special session of the Unicameral. But, in researching some questions associated with this, we discovered some very disturbing information. It’s been difficult to absorb.
Our research is ongoing – what we know so far leads us to the following conclusions:
The TransCanada Keystone Xl pipeline project will result in increased gas and diesel prices in 15 Midwestern States – to the detriment of those states’ citizens and economies.
The project, led by TransCanada, was apparently designed by a cartel-like group of interests, essentially, as a market price manipulation tool.
TransCanada’s own documents confirm the purpose of the project; a 2009 permit application submitted to the Canadian National Energy Board lays out the facts. In addition, a group researching questions regarding TransCanada’s claims of “job creation”, allege the company made similar statements in shareholder presentations; but we have not had time to confirm as of this writing.
The permit application document includes the following points4
- Bitumen projects (tar sands oil) are cheaper to develop than synthetic crude
- New export markets are needed to handle increased heavy crude output
- Keystone XL Pipeline provides a line for getting heavy crude to new markets now – option to move synthetic crude in future
- PADD III (see map, below) is the largest untapped market for western Canadian crude oil producers
- The U.S. Gulf Coast (USGC), within the PADD III region is the stated target market for the Keystone XL Pipeline
- TransCanada has binding long term contracts with shippers in the USGC which are not fully available for public viewing
- The fifteen state Midwest region, PADD II, is oversupplied with Canadian heavy crude and currently receiving “a discount” (translation: selling for a lower price)
- Keystone XL will “strengthen” (translation: increase) prices for Canadian producers by removing oversupply
- Keystone XL provides additional benefit for transport out of any synthetic crude oversupply in Midwest (PADD II) “to mitigate a price discount” (translation: avoid price reductions)
- All Canadian producers should benefit from resulting price increases (estimated at $2 – $3.9 billion)
Market analyst Philip Verleger projected a $.10 – $.20 increase in cost per gallon as a result of the project, in his editorial entitled, “If gas prices go up further, blame Canada“, in the March 13, 2011, edition of theStarTribune.
Energy Information Administration U.S. Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD)
We do not claim to be the first group to point out the purpose of this pipeline, but it’s clear that the most important aspect of this issue has gotten completely lost or was never considered. Our research shows that several national news outlets and a U.S. Senator have attempted to draw attention to the market manipulation issue. See Footnote5 for a couple of examples.
Several groups in Nebraska have included, at one time or another, passing references to the fact that the pipeline will increase gas prices, but we have only seen it included in a general list of concerns, and it is always overwhelmed by a long list of environmental rhetoric.
One story on the subject did appear in the Lincoln Journal Star in February of this year, but for no explicable reason, this information has not appeared in any of the recent articles or editorials we’ve seen. Since the entire project is predicated on the concept of “national interest”, any coherent analysis of the subject would necessarily include concerns about negative impact.
The pipeline project undermines America’s sovereignty, erodes energy security, and decreases the likelihood we will tap our own oil.
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Posted by Sandra Crosnoe for Finding Gems & Sharing Them
Cross Posted OKGrassroots