Fifty thousand dollars. That’s how much it costs to have my congressman hold a press conference supporting your pipeline construction business and introduce a bill to protect your corporate interests.
When Congressman Bryan Steil recently spoke at the Yorkville office of his third largest campaign donor (Michels Corporation), he was asked about this significant contribution made by the nationwide energy infrastructure construction firm. Congressman Steil deflected the question, emphasizing his commitment to “stand up every single day for Wisconsin workers." During this pandemic, when tens of thousands of people in Wisconsin have lost jobs, why else do these particular jobs command so much of the congressman’s attention?
A broad alliance has opposed the Keystone XL pipeline over the past decade because the oil it carries from the Alberta tar sands is not just any fuel. It is the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive form of oil there is. To transport bitumen, a heavy tar-like substance, it must be diluted with a cocktail of hazardous materials like benzene and pumped under greater pressure, making ruptures in the pipelines all the more likely. Also, diluted bitumen requires more energy to refine and releases more greenhouse gases when burned. For climate scientists, extracting oil from this 50,000 square mile reserve that sits under the world’s largest boreal forest means that its “game over” for the planet (or at least the life that depends upon a stable climate).