2012 started with a bigger political bang than expected. On December 17, 2011, while America was preparing for the holiday season, President Obama allowed Congress to hijack his authority regarding the Keystone Pipeline expansion. In return, he was offered a meaningless 2-month extension to the Payroll Tax and Unemployment Bill so that democrats and republicans could work through stalemate issues.
The way the bill’s extension is worded, if President Obama does not fully reject the Keystone project inside 60 days, the expansion will automatically approve as originally planned, without alteration, through America’s Heartland. Amongst the first casualties of this expansion would be to the animals of the Heartland regions. The expansions are scheduled to run through Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Combined, these states produce more than three quarters of the nation’s total agricultural and animal resources. In addition to supplying sustenance for America, these states produce a bulk of food resources for the world. Beyond the catastrophe that would consume America, oil spills in these regions would have a staggering global impact.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is the principle force behind the inclusion of the Keystone Pipeline expansion amendment into this 60-day farce. He declared that the Keystone expansion is a “shovel ready resource to restore the American economy” and makes the United States less reliant on oil resources from “unfriendly countries.” McConnell is clearly out of the loop, as Canada is already the United States primary oil source. He also must have missed the memo that discussed the additional oil resource as intended for exportation to countries like China and not for American consumption. Logically, what this means is America assumes all of the risks to its natural resources without any effective benefit to constituents.
From a pragmatic standpoint, this expansion scheme does not create more jobs for Americans but further stagnates the American economy while upping the ante to include contaminating water, air, plant, and animal resources, placing Americans in an increasingly vulnerable position. Whereas, from a political standpoint it does create more jobs for Canada in oil extraction, refinery, construction, and general labor fields, in addition to generating work for India to produce metal supplies necessary to get the job done. Further, this political mindset will have Americans pay for this expansion through increased gas prices to make up for the intended deeper tax cuts promised to the oil industry. Additionally, at a conservative estimation, it is going to cost Americans about $8 billion dollars just to install the expansions.
Politicians are not authoritative bodies on matters of planetary sciences and therefore should not have the license to refute its validity, as several republican politicians did in December 2011 to justify the addition of the Keystone expansion amendment to the bill. Unless the global community acts swiftly, the general population is putting the care of their lives and the lives of future generations into the hands of politicians who view the world as a unilateral conglomeration, which by default does not represent an unbiased, well informed perspective. The role of the United States political body is to listen to empirical data and act in accordance to lawful responsibilities for the whole of the constituency, which includes providing a stable planetary environment over political gains.
America’s continued complacency towards Tar Sands extraction violates the United States Pelly Amendment, Endangered Species Act, Canada’s Fishery Act, and the international Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation. These acts were created to better assist governmental bodies to more responsibly regulate balanced outcomes to the planet and its inhabitants by turning empirical data into political policy. However, the only way for the system to work is if governments act in accordance with the law, not contravene it.
By forcing the Keystone expansion into the Payroll Tax and Unemployment debate, the Obama administration must firmly render a ruling of "No" to the expansion scheme prior to the deadline. Otherwise, face the fallout of ambivalent decision-making. The absence of a decision from the President would infer that animal life is viewed as unnecessary for sustaining our own lives and that the decimation of North America’s animal sanctuaries, crop depletion, hazardous water pollution, permanent contamination of fertile soil, and the loss of agricultural animals in the United States are immaterial consequences for oil profits.
For those interested in making their voices heard, sign the Urgent Cessation of Keystone Expansion to Save Animal Life.