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Steve Horn
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Sunday 18 November 2012
“The Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), an oil and gas industry front group, CEA Counsel John Northington said he believes a ‘Keystone XL North’ rubber stamp is in the works by the Obama Administration.”

Former Clinton and Bush Cabinet Members, Now Oil and Gas Lobbyists, Expect Keystone XL Green Light

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The Tar Sands Blockade of TransCanada Corporation's "Keystone XL South" continues in Texas, but former members of the Clinton and George W. Bush cabinets believe the northern half will soon be green-lighted by President Barack Obama. 

In a Nov. 13 conference call led by the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), an oil and gas industry front group, CEA Counsel John Northington said he believes a "Keystone XL North" rubber stamp is in the works by the Obama Administration. 

“I think the Keystone will be approved in fairly short order by the administration,” Northington said on the call.

Northington has worn many hats during his long career:

[He] served in the Clinton Administration at the Department of the Interior as Senior Advisor to the Director of the Bureau of Land Management. Mr. Northington also served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management with energy policy responsibility for the former Minerals Management Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Mr. Northington began his government service at the Department of Energy, where he served as White House Liaison, Chief of Staff for the Office of Fossil Energy and Senior Advisor for Oil and Natural Gas Policy.

After his tenure working for the Clinton Administration, he walked through the revolving door and became a lobbyist, representing many clients over the past decade, including the oil and gas industry. Northington has represented ExxonMobilDevon EnergyCONSOL Energy, and StatoilExxonMobilDevon and Statoil all have a major stake in the tar sands. 

Northington was joined on the call by Michael Whatley, CEA's Executive Vice President. Whatley seved as senior policy advisor for the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of Energy under George W. Bush and as Chief of Staff of former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC). 

CEA fronts for HBW Resources, a lobbying firm run by David Holt, Andrew Browning and Whatley (hence the "HBW"), with a developed speciality of lobbying on behalf of the tar sands industry.

Whatley, above and beyond working for the Bush Administration, Sen. Dole and CEA, has also lobbied on behalf of ExxonMobil and General Electric (GE). GE, like ExxonMobil, also has a fiscal present and future interest in tar sands production

Win, Win for Some; Lose, Lose for Most: Tar Sands With Or Without Keystone XL

Though outfits like CEA are working overtime to ensure "Keystone XL North" is built soon, there are other ways to skin the cat and bring tar sands crude to market. The most important one, covered here on DeSmogBlog and in a recent story published by the Calgary Herald, is freight rail. 

Warren Buffett, the "Oracle of Obama," has a major financial stake both in tar sands production, as well as in moving tar sands to market via the Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) freight trains he owns under the auspices of his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway.Buffett gave over $60,000 to the Democratic National Committee during the 2012 election cycle, as well as another $70,000 to President-elect Barack Obama, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. 

“Railroads too present environmental issues. Moving crude on trains produces more global warming gases than a pipeline,” explained Bloomberg in January 2012.

BNSF isn't the only rail company eager to move tar sands crude to market. Southern Pacific also envisions a major market opening for freight rail transport. A recent Calgary Herald story explains,

While Canadian and U.S. railways are scrambling to meet demand, opening small terminals close to production in locations such as the Bakken area of southern Saskatchewan and North Dakota, the Athabasca oil sands have not been part of the rush. Until now....Unlike pipelines, that means no public hearings and no environmental protests.

The verdict is in.

Chock it up to yet another win-win for the oil and gas industry and a lose-lose for all who have to suffer the consequences of the ecological damage in Alberta, as well as the climate change amplified disasters it's engendering around the world. 

ABOUT Steve Horn


Steve Horn is a Madison, WI-based Research Fellow at DeSmogBlog. He is also a freelance investigative journalist whose work has appeared in Al Jazeera America, The Guardian, The Progressive Magazine, CounterPunch Magazine, TruthOut and others. Follow him on Twitter at @SteveAHorn.

Science-based solutions to

Science-based solutions to Climate Change cannot be effectively implemented because we currently have government of the people by the lobbyists for the rich and powerful corporations (for example Exxon Mobil). Those who have the gold make the rule. And those people refuse to allow any science-based solutions that jeopardize their sources of income. If you want to change this unfair situation we first need to reinstate government of the people by the people and for the people. The vast majority of US citizens very much desire science-based solutions to Climate Change. We can implement science-based solutions when we get as many signatures as possible on the following petition (Click on, or if necessary, please copy and paste into your browser.):

I'm dismayed that apparently

I'm dismayed that apparently no one has realized (definitely haven't seen it stated anywhere) the possibly most troubling aspect of this cross-country pipeline: it will be a solid, impenetrable physical barrier dividing our country in E-W halves.
ALL access will be controlled ("security" ya know) likely by another of AG Holder's "former" clients-Blackwater/Xe/ their latest name.
Another lie is the number, length, and type of "jobs" that may be created; there will be a few skilled tech/maintenance jobs and many more low wage service/"guard" postions.
Any construction jobs will be 1) temporary, and 2) filled by NORTH Americans, not just "Americans."
(I've worked on drilling rigs, seismograph crews, construction, maintenance, ranches, farms, and lately healthcare; also a USMC combat vet)
This XL pipeline is a hoax and a fraud. (not unlike the Unocal Afghani pipeline we invaded for-check locations of our bases there)
Stop corporate entitlements !!

The only difference to ever

The only difference to ever exist in this matter between wealthy in one hand and the wealthy in the other is that the Demoncrips will help you cover the expense of your cancer treatment where the Rebloodliscums will leave you on your own to suffer and die. YoBama is just a kinder gentler GeeWhiz. The bottom line is still the bottom line.

Bednarz has it right. The

Bednarz has it right. The toxic sludge that will flow is destined for foreign markets and is merely being processed in Texas. Canadians are upset that this processing is not happening at home, but international big oil controls Canada's oil resources from the ground to fuel pump and so it's off to the gulf with the raw product. The real question is how to get the energy industries to switch from their death march of using fossil fuels to tap into the life saving renewables, especially geothermal for electrical generation. Be what may this god awful project will more than likely win the day as the corptocracy is the real government we serve.

SOLD to the public WITH

SOLD to the public WITH LIES.....the oil is for EXPORT NOT IMPORT - - not for consumption within the United States
gee, sound like the Republican wars

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