Césped Artificial: Lobbying The Obama Administration For Big Oil, Hispanic Style

easigrass astroturf van photo

A van covered in Astroturf, just off Brixton Road. Image credit:Flickr, victoriapeckham

Gulf coast refinery operators are excited to get that Alberta Tar Sands oil down their way, via pipeline. The US State Department has been intensely lobbied to approve the international boundary crossing needed to get the 2,000-mile, north-south pipeline built. The final government decision will be all about business.

Refiners naturally would prefer to bring the tar sands oil south, to existing operations and related infrastructure in Texas and Louisiana. That way they can take advantage of not only existing refineries, but also of existing deep injection wells, incinerators, & water treatment for various waste streams; of hydrogen suppliers vital for cracking the heavy oil; and, last but not least, to take advantage product storage, distribution, and export (port) facilities. 'Hispanic leaders' are supportive of the pipeline, according to this release.The press release, as published by Reuters, says: "A varied group of Hispanic leaders is calling on the U.S. State Department to issue a permit that will allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built and operated. Support for the pipeline, along with impatience about how long the process is taking, is being expressed by leaders from Hispanic organizations, including veterans, business, professional, trade, grassroots and other groups."

Today's political stereotype is of oil-related companies donating most of their campaign money to Republican candidates while, conversely, Hispanics align mostly with Democratic politics. Comes down to what Hillary thinks matters most, then, I guess.

How many Hispanics does it take to build a pipeline?
The proposed pipeline route may be fairly straight, but permitting for it has been on a slow and twisted path. With Presidential primaries heating up on the Republican side, it will be interesting to see if the Keystone pipeline comes up in the debates and if that becomes a segue to discussing climate change?

Tea Party angle.
The Federal government gets to decide because...of you know...the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, a portion which Federalists and Libertarians on radical right want to downplay and limit in scope as much as possible. Tea Party types seem to gravitate to that narrative or at least to symbolic fragments of it. Pretty high stakes, then, for a Republican to bring it up in a televised debate.

TreeHugger has a good list of background posts on the Keystone leaker.
Another Day, Another Spill: TransCanada Shuts Down Keystone Pipeline
Alberta Tar Sands Oil Flows South As Keystone Pipeline Opened ...
TransCanada Pipeline Spills 21000 Gallons of Oil in ... -
House Rushes Keystone XL While State Dept. Sued Over ... -
25 U.S. Mayors Speak Out Against Tar Sands Pipeline :
Ad Campaign Asks Obama to Stop 2000 Mile Oil Sands Pipeline ...
Big picture
Oil and motor fuels are globally traded and will be sold to the highest bidder. If the high bidder is China, that's where the Gulf Coast gasoline will go. Keep this in mind when you read about how important this pipeline is for 'freeing the US from dependency on the Middle East...blah blah blahh.'

If the pipeline does not get built to the Gulf, one alternative is to refine in the northern states. For perspective, see: Midwest Still At Risk Of Getting Texified By Oil Pipelines & Refineries