A short film released Tuesday by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) dissects the oil industry's claims of how America will benefit from the Keystone XL project.

"PipeLIES Exposed" takes aim at the main arguments Keystone proponents proffer in the press, particularly the wildly inflated number of jobs they claim the project will create. Far from the 100,000 jobs often cited, the film explains that Keystone XL is expected to create only about 3,900 short-term jobs and 50 long-term jobs.

The film also targets the State Department's environmental analysis, which was carried out by a third-party contractor linked to the oil industry. The contractor claimed that building the pipeline will not affect the climate, which the film points out was based on the assumption that Canada's tar sands will be tapped regardless.

On the contrary, "PipeLIES Exposed" reminds viewers of an assessment by longtime NASA climate scientist James Hansen, who warned in 2012 that tapping the one of the largest pools of carbon on the planet "will be game over for the climate" due to the elevated concentration of carbon dioxide in the tar sands. "If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now," Hansen wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

The film also explores the consequences of tar sands spills, which are much more difficult to clean up than conventional oil. To make matters worse, tar sands is an "unconventional oil," which means TransCanada does not have to pay into the government's Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, leaving taxpayers on the hook if there's a major spill. Even more ominous: If the pipeline is built, it will cross the Ogallala Aquifer, America's largest fresh water supply.

"We made this film and investigated the public relations campaign for the Keystone XL pipeline because the fake 'facts' about jobs and energy security peddled by industry-funded politicians and uncritical pundits have left too many Americans deeply misinformed," Lisa Graves, CMD's executive director, said in an advisory.

CMD added that the film was timed to launch just ahead of the government's March 7 deadline for public comment on the pipeline proposal.

"The Keystone XL pipeline is a phenomenally bad idea," the film's director, Emmy-winning journalist Dave Saldana, said in an advisory. "I looked at the claims as a lawyer: What did the evidence show me? The evidence shows that its job creation claims are grossly inflated; that better, greener alternatives would aid America's energy independence and put more Americans to work for a longer time than the pipeline; and that the pumping of tar sands oil across the U.S. primarily for export to foreign countries poses enormous risks to America's water supply, food supply, and air quality. And that's before you even get to what it does to climate change."

For more about the film, its arguments and its creators, visit pipeliesexposed.org.


Photo: Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com.


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The new head of the Environmental Protection has a history of suing the agency for trying to do its job.

The reach of this story extends from the lowliest working stiff to the highest court in the land.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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