Correcting the Spin: TransCanada’s Convenient Untruths

Originally published at the Fredonia Rebel Post.

After the Tar Sands Blockade’s successful lock-down on a TransCanada pipe hauling truck, TransCanada’s silver-tonged spokesperson, David Dodson, said the protestors have it all wrong. At Lufkin-Nacogdoches’ ABC affiliate, KTRE, Alexis Spears quotes Dodson as conveniently saying, “the project does not include tar sands…”

It’s convenient that TransCanada’s original Keystone XL plans were shot down back in November of 2011. Those plans stated that the goal of the pipeline was to carry diluted tar sands bitumen from the open pit, tar sands mines of Alberta, Canada, to the re-tooled refineries on the Texas gulf coast. Those same refineries have spent millions of dollars to prepare for the refining of the heavy dilbit crude that TransCanada will be transporting through its pipes.

It’s convenient that TransCanada has cut the project into two parts and renamed the southern part “the Gulf Coast Project”. That smoke-and-mirrors move was made to cloud the issue. With it they could pretend that it would just be picking up and transporting good old conventional crude from Cushing, Okla, to Nederland, Tex. They could also ignore the EPA’s concerns about the blanket waterbody-crossing permits (the only permits needed) which TransCanada was seeking from the Army Corps of Engineers; after all, they argue, the EPA was referring to the Keystone XL, not the Gulf Coast Project. Truth be told, TransCanada already has a smaller diameter pipeline that carries tar sands crude to Cushing: the combination Keystone 1 and the Nebraska-to-Cushing Extension, so it’s just a matter of connecting.

It’s convenient that all TransCanada needs to do now is maintain the misinformation stream in order to slide their pipeline under the radar through Texas. Days before the judge’s final ruling in the Crawford Family’s contest against TransCanada’s common carrier claim and eminent domain status, TransCanada misinformed the press that the judge had ruled for TransCanada, and even argued in court that tar sands crude is the same as conventional crude, even though it is treated as something extraordinary for tax (evasion) purposes. Years before even that hearing TransCanada misinformed Texas landowners that they already had all of their permits in place. Remember the jobs claims (20,000+) TransCanada and the bought-and-paid-for Senators and Representatives tried to sell? Their misinformation stream spurts out like the leaks in their original Keystone 1 pipeline, but not to worry because the new one won’t leak like that either. Just ask Mr. Dodson.

The courageous citizens that stopped TransCanada’s pipes are under no illusions from TransCanada’s convenient untruths. Texas would be well served if more people waved away TransCanada’s smoke, cleared their minds, and stood up for the truth. Texas would be better served if more people joined the Tar Sands Blockade in demanding an end to TransCanada’s self-serving conveniences.

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