There isn't a more egregious example of the stranglehold that "big money" has on our Congress and elected officials than this effort to build the Keystone pipeline.
As I stated throughout my campaign for the United States Senate, this is all about greed -- billions of dollars of it every year.
Early on, the perpetrators of this con, TransCanada, a foreign oil corporation and its big money investors, boasted about creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and making America more energy secure.
They began their big money television campaign and commenced convincing the people of South Dakota and around the country that this was a good thing.
In fact, during the last weeks of the campaign, there was a big money effort to tie the rail car shortage and grain problem South Dakota is experiencing, as another reason to build Keystone. The lie was if you build the pipeline, it would move oil so that the rail system would be freed up to move grain.
Fact is, there are no real jobs -- 35 permanent jobs, according to the GAO, and another 1,800 temporary jobs for the entire project.
Keystone XL is an export pipeline. Most of the oil is moving from the tar sands of Canada to the state of Texas for export to China. We get very little of the oil, so where is the energy security? We are nothing more than a passthrough, taking on the risk for no reward.
With regard to relieving the problem of the inability of our railway system to ship grain, the oil coming out of the Bakken fields in North Dakota, not Canada, ties up the rail system. These producers have very little interest in using Keystone. They want the flexibility to move their product by rail and truck to markets here in the United States.
In fact, I cannot think of one reason to build this pipeline other than to placate big oil and its big money. I can think of lots of reasons not to.
Did you know, TransCanada, a foreign oil corporation, can take South Dakota farm and ranch land without landowner permission through eminent domain?
Did you know that Keystone One, built in 2010, leaks on a regular basis -- some big leaks, too -- and that Keystone XL is going to be built over the Ogallala Aquifer, a vital source of water for our region?
And did you know, that the energy it takes to extract the tar sand oil, liquefying it for transport, refining and shipping it overseas for sale, will dump 100 million tons of additional carbon into the atmosphere?
When the threat of climate change has 99 percent of the scientists in the world seriously worried about the future of the planet and the human race, this greed is inexcusable and needs to be exposed and rejected. We should be transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, not doubling down on Keystone.