Chip Cravaack Votes for Keystone XL Pipeline,
based on study paid for and benefiting oil companies

In his last telephone town hall Congressman Cravacck repeatedly used what appear to be highly inaccurate figures for new jobs which will be created by the Keystone XL pipeline.  He claimed there would be an immediate 20,000 jobs created and another 1,000,000 ancillary jobs resulting from the pipeline going forward.

No one supports the claim of 1,000,000 million secondary or related jobs in areas of manufacturing and construction.  Nobody.  It is a bogus figure, a ridiculous figure.   Even the 20,000 job number was largely discredited at the time of the telephone town hall this past fall.

I spoke with a legislative assistant, Ian Foley, in the D.C. office of my congressman Chip Cravaack this afternoon, because now my congressman has VOTED in favor of this pipeline, based on those unreliable numbers.  I’m still looking into how much money Cravaack has received from oil companies and oil related sources, but I expect it will turn out to be substantial.

Apparently Foley did not expect me to check out the Canadian Energy Research Institute.  Their  own website acknowledges they are funded by industry companies (bold enlarged type in the first paragraph is my emphasis):

Canadian Energy Research Institute

The Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) is a not-for-profit research organization established by government and industry parties in 1975. The Institute’s principal role is to undertake objective, independent studies to assist corporations and governments in making energy and energy-related decisions and policy choices. The Institute contributes to the development of energy and environmental expertise through applied research, training courses and conference programs involving business, government, academia, and the public.
CERI’s international research contributes to improved understanding of the competitiveness of Canadian energy companies in foreign markets and enhances the Institute’s reputation for excellence through the application of its methodologies, approaches and/or analytical techniques. In addition, CERI’s international studies provide a vehicle for advancing Canadian interests in the developing energy sectors of foreign countries through the transfer of sound approaches to energy and related environmental regulation.

I was calling to inquire about his vote on the payroll tax and particularly on the Keystone XL Pipeline issue.  Mr. Foley discussed with me the research done to inform Congressman Cravaack’s vote.  He explained to me that he had dismissed or not highly valued the study by Cornell University which indicated that there is likely to be little job creation  Foley specifically indicated to me that he relied on a study of the Canadian Energy Research Institute.   Mr. Foley assured me that the CERI was non-partisan and NOT funded by oil companies.  He later revised that to assert that even though the study appears to have been substantially paid for by oil companies that will directly profit from a recommendation favoring the pipeline, that didn’t make the CERI  a questionable source.

Media Matters notes (larger type and bold is my emphasis):

The Canadian Energy Research Institute is sponsored by oil companies such as Imperial Oil Limited, which is represented on CERI’s Board of Directors and would directly benefit from the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline.
CERI’s claim that the pipeline could support 85,000 U.S. jobs is far higher than even TransCanada’s figures. TransCanada estimated that Keystone XL would create 13,000 direct construction jobs, stressing that those are temporary jobs. And even that is a stretch according to the State Department’s analysis, which puts that number closer to 5,000.

No surprise, Media Matters is faulting the Weekly Standard, which was the same source of the erroneous job numbers attributed to Obama administration economists, while not acknowledging that the Bush Tax Cuts produced fewer jobs and by the same formula cost considerably more than the Obama administration supposedly did.

I looked at the study on which he relied, “The Economic Development of the Stage Development of Oil Sands”; and I specifically inquired what fact checking of the information and data in this study either Mr. Foley or his  colleague had performed.  He has assured me he had done ‘some’, but couldn’t tell me what.  If relying on this study is any indication, Foley doesn’t have a clue how to fact check.  In fact, I doubt highly that any fact checking took place at all.  Further, I distrust anyone who doesn’t see an inherent conflict of interest.

I object to being misinformed by the congressional office that is paid for by taxes.  We should be getting better value from our representation and from the funding for members of Congress.

Mr. Foley then tried to assure me that the pipeline would absolutely result in lower prices for petroleum products.

That is highly questionable as well.  In fact, Canada can’t sell their very dirty tar sands oil to anyone BUT the U.S., as noted here.

Keystone Pipeline Enables Global Competition for TransCanada

TransCanada, the oil company that wants to build the Keystone Pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands oil to the Gulf of Mexico, can’t really sell to anyone beyond the US.  This prevents them from competing on the global market, which means they have to offer us dirty oil for cheaper prices.  But, what happens when they do build the Keystone XL Pipeline?  The rules of supply and demand now cause their prices to rise.  TransCanada and their dirty tar sands oil has now hit the global market.  They can raise their prices to match that global market and the supply that was previously restricted to the US now shrinks.  Supply decreases and demand rises.  Guess what Americans are left with?  The same fuel prices they had before the Keystone Pipeline was built.

Republicans in Congress rely on us being low information voters, who do not look at a variety of sources, who do not fact check, who do not question what we are told.  We cannot afford Republicans putting the majority of us in increasingly bad positions relative to energy while they get fat on big oil money buying them off , whether it is Canadian oil money or U.S. oil money.  Wikipedia’s article on the Keystone XL pipeline posits that there is an allegation the Koch Brothers on this side of the border with Canada also are supporting the pipeline going forward and that they would also profit hugely from it.  AlterNet elaborates on the relationship between the Koch Brothers, and government, and their anticipated profits here.

Hidden Koch Brother Abuse Exposed in the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

Uncovered emails between lobbyists and oversight officials in the Obama administration reveal new pay-to-play tactics favored by Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who donate millions to promote an anti-government agenda.

The brothers stand to make a fortune from an international oil pipeline that’s making headlines for its divisiveness and the shady tactics its developers are using. We have been exposing the Koch brothers‘ involvement in the Keystone XL oil pipeline and we continue the fight to protect American homes and farmland.

While I generally disagree that firing federal employees is a course of action that raises rather than lowers unemployment, I can only observe that Cravaack and his staff leaving could only help our energy policy and could only help our citizens come together on a basis of fact contrary to the divisive ideology and fiction that comes from Cravaack and his Republican / Tea Party colleagues.  Firing them will help our economy and create more jobs for all of the rest of us, and is justified for poor performance by them.