Thursday, July 18, 2013

The High Cost Of Low Information

As the media circus surrounding the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman story begins to ebb, and the fallout from the near-nuclear actions in the Senate settles, many in the media are being forced at the height of summer to run around and do something they appear to desperately hate: enage in real journalism and reporting.

Admittedly, on the reporting front, some of our colleagues in DC had an easy day Wednesday, as the perpetually unproductive House GOP slammed their collective head against the rock of Obamacare again, attempting to repeal all or part of it for the 67th time. There was also a bit of excitement in the media about the latest edition of Rolling Stone, as well as a couple of major stories about the ongoing Mid-East turmoil.

What we didn't notice our media colleagues paying much attention to, as they zipped across town from interview to appointment, is that gas prices went up an average of 15 cents nationwide this past week. Of course, the unrest in Egypt and Syria has a lot to do with the current jump in the pump price - but considering the study we saw yesterday, we can't complain too much.

That study, from the group "Consumer Watchdog," says that if the Keystone XL pipeline is allowed to be built, Americans will have even more to worry about than their already-fragile water supply. The Midwestern section of the United States will also get the not-so-hidden benefit of a 40 cent bump to the base cost of a gallon of gas, as the oil companies try to suck the American people dry.

That bump to prices will come in part because TransCanada will naturually choose not to help the Midwesterners over whose water supply the new pipeline would be built. Rather, TransCanada would actually be using the pipeline to effectively bypass the U.S., shipping the oil from the Gulf of Mexico while significantly decreasing the amount of oil available for Americans in the Midwest.

The story goes even deeper than Keystone though. There's another oil company attempting to fast-track yet another pipeline through the approval process of the Army Corps of Engineers. That other Midwest pipeline could carry even more tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico - which would likely increase the cost of gas in the Midwest even more.

The name of the company behind the other pipeline, Enbridge, Inc. of Calgary, Canada, may ring a bell for you. They're the geniuses responsible for the disastrous oil spill in Michigan three years ago that still isn't 100% cleaned up. What's worse, Enbridge is looking to get their new pipeline approved under a special permit process which would allow them to ignore the rigorous Clean Water Act standards - even though this new pipeline would cross the largest inland river in America, the Mississippi River.

We can't say we're surprised at the gall of the oil companies, who long ago lost any ability to be cowed by shame or reason. They've made it clear many years ago: Their entire reason for being is to suck as much money as possible out of the pockets of every American, and damn consequences to the environment or the American people.

What keeps amazing us is that so many American people keep acting like the oil companies have not only sucked out their money - but sucked out their brains to boot.

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