Snuggling with an oil pipeline


Both the old and new media agree on this: If you need a story that’s guaranteed to be popular — go with animals. Kute kittens, for example, or the P-group of puppies, porpoises, penguins and polar bears.

Now, corporations are all over this animal ploy as a way to push some of their ugliest profiteering schemes. For example, the Keystone XL pipeline. A cabal of TransCanada Corporation and such oil giants as Exxon Mobil wants to shove this massively polluting, ozone-depleting, wildlife-threatening pipeline from Alberta, Canada, right through the center of America, carrying tar sands oil all the way to the Gulf Coast.

It’s not exactly a popular idea in our country, and it was made less popular by a couple of recent, very nasty spills of toxic tar from existing pipelines — one in Michigan and the other in Arkansas. So, cue the animals!

Larry Kudlow, a shameless, corporate-hugging host of a TV show on CNBC, proclaimed in an August episode that — by gollies — the Keystone pipeline would be terrific for wildlife. Why? Because, explained this noted expert on beastly habits, the loveable bears, deer and such would “like to snuggle under the pipeline [for] warmth.” An economist at the American Petroleum Institute — the chief lobbying group for Big Oil — immediately agreed with Kudlow, asserting that “animals like the Alaskan crude oil pipeline quite a bit.”

How darling! And how wrong.

What we have here are a couple of shills mouthing a right-wing myth that’s been promoted on the political circuit for a while. Actual animal experts, however, note that Canadian caribou are now “listed as threatened,” largely because of the tar sands rush. And independent scientists studying the Keystone project say it will “wreak havoc” on animals all along its nature-destroying path.

How cute is that?

Respond: This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.