Were you wondering just how far out of their way Republicans in the Michigan House are willing to go to rankle the environmental community in our state? Rep. Aric Nesbitt answered that question this afternoon by introducing a resolution on the House floor “to urge the United States Secretary of State to approve the TransCanada Keystone Coast Expansion pipeline project.”
Much like the Republicans’ signature legislation from this year’s session, the redundant late-term abortion ban, this resolution would have absolutely no real impact, other than providing Big Oil stooge Rep. Nesbitt with yet another argument to burnish his anti-consumer, pro-corporate credentials and line his campaign coffers.
Let’s review: a freshman in the state House, Rep. Nesbitt once served as chief aide for the Congressional Natural Gas Caucus in Washington. Rep. Nesbitt is a member of ALEC, the right-wing corporate advocacy group that is financed by several Big Oil corporations, and is on the Nuclear Energy Workgroup of the National Conference of State Legislators. He was also cited by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network for taking more free lunches from lobbyists than almost all other lawmakers, with $1,280 in reported benefits this year alone.
Keystone XL is a proposal to build an extended oil pipeline through the American heartland. Although its corporate defenders claim it will create jobs in the region, they refuse to publicize the basis for these claims, and neutral studies tell a different story. Cornell economists released a report saying that any job gains from the project would be temporary, and offset by the long-term environmental damage to the region. They would come at a severe cost to air quality and public health throughout the country.
The existing Keystone framework has spilled 14 times this year alone, including one that dumped more than 20,000 gallons of oil in the middle of the country. The new pipeline would extend through the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides “as much as 30 percent of the nation’s ground water used for irrigation.”
This resolution is just another example of the corporate energy lobby, and the lawmakers it controls, making outrageous claims that waste state time so they can try to increase their obscene profits at the expense of the rest of us.