OPINION – Scripture tells us, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
There is universal moral agreement on the lesson of this tenet that extends from Galatians 6 into the Fourth Karmic Law of Cause and Effect.
Unfortunately, the United States Senate has failed to embrace it.
Thursday, the Senate passed the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, a piece of legislation that would see the construction of a 2,147-mile oil pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would link up with an existing pipeline running to the Gulf Coast in Texas.
There was the usual round of backslapping and spin among the new Senate majority as it spoke in delirious terms of lower fuel prices, energy independence, and jobs – none of which will occur in abundance – while they counted the 30 pieces of silver placed in their pockets by Big Oil lobbyists.
Meanwhile, the world reacted, and not in a positive way.
The most noticeable impact reached directly south of the United States and further disturbed a Mexican economy that was already reeling.
The result was that the Mexican peso took another hit in the world money market. As I write this, it now takes 15 Mexican pesos to buy 1 U.S. dollar. The Mexican economy is best balanced when that exchange rate is 12 or less.
The effect of projected lower oil prices hit Mexico hard because 40 percent of the nation’s budget comes from the state-owned and -run Pemex petroleum company. Lower oil prices mean less revenue, which crushes an already fragile economy.
The United States should care deeply about what occurs across the border because Mexico is its third-largest trade partner, behind Canada and China.
A downturn in the Mexican economy means increased prices on goods exported to the United States. It also means severe loss of return on U.S. investments in its commercial and private sectors.
For the short term, those who do business with Mexico, and the growing number of ex-pats fleeing to the country for their retirement years because of the affordability, will flourish; that is, until prices start inflating. The stronger U.S. dollar, however, will not be of any help to the Mexican nationals who toil for, if they are lucky, $100 a week.
Besides leaving a teetering nation on a rocky edge, the Senate also continued to violate the Earth with passage of this legislation.
The pipeline will extract the world’s dirtiest fuel sources – tar sands oil – from an area about the size of Florida, scarring the land and causing havoc with the atmosphere when separating the bitumen from sand, silt, and clay before plunging it down the pipeline across six states, the Missouri, Yellowstone, and Red rivers, and depositing it in U.S. refineries. Refining tar sands oil produces higher emissions of toxic sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide.
Let’s also not forget the potential for oil spills. TransCanada, the company that would build the pipeline, has already had a dozen spills from the first pipeline it built. It’s a very real hazard. If you don’t believe me, ask the folks who live near the Kalamazoo River in Michigan where nearly a billion dollars has been spent over the last three years to clean up a spill. Nearly 40 miles of the river are still contaminated.
Or, ask the folks of Mayflower, Arkansas, where a pipeline they knew nothing about, burst under a residential community and spread to nearby Lake Conway, which provided the area with drinking water.
Then, there is the big lie buried in all of this: that the U.S. will become less dependent on foreign oil with passage of this legislation.
No it won’t.
The oil in that pipeline will come from Canada, which already sells the U.S. more oil than any other country in the world.
The promise of jobs hangs by a thread on the truth meter because most of the jobs will be temporary and go to the crews hired to build the pipeline. There won’t be enough refinery jobs added to make much of a difference.
So, again, tell me about the advantages of the pipeline, other than to fill the pockets of Senate members on the take from Big Oil.
Sen. Orrin Hatch is a big proponent of this bill. Of course, he is also a proponent of fracking, which is proving itself to have an extremely negative impact on our environment.
The president has promised to veto this bill and I hope he sticks to his word because it is doubtful the Senate will be able to scrape together five more votes to override his veto.
He needs to stick to his word to prove that the highest office in the land actually understands the importance of maintaining a healthy environment; that the highest office in the land has an understanding of the impact its nation can have on the global community; that the highest office in the land isn’t buying into the misguided actions of a Congress that continues to reach deeply into the pockets of lobbyists and special interests.
The Congress has given in all too frequently to the whims of corporate America, which has run amok with its insatiable thirst for power and greed, regardless of the impact or outcome on the environment, the global community, or the people who work loyally within its structure.
Even some of the most cash-rich corporations in the United States are undergoing practices to remove those with a bit of longevity on the job and replace them with young people who will work for lower wages, sacrificing experience, wisdom, and skill for larger profit sharing for investors.
The end result, the final product, the damage to the community and environment are meaningless in the chase for the almighty dollar.
In today’s lexicon, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” pretty well translates into: “What goes around, comes around.”
It will not be a pretty sight when the karmic hammer comes crashing down.
- Hatch lauds passage of Keystone XL Pipeline Act
- Hatch calls for moving forward on Keystone Pipeline Construction
- BLM seeks comments on gas gathering pipeline, Moab area
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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