Mason Speaks

Uninformed Consent: The other Republican plan to give Mason students the shaft

Nasty stuff happens when you let other people think for you. Especially if those people happen to be House Speaker John Boehner and his allies, who are still mourning the death of a bill this month that would have let them approve the Keystone Pipeline XL.

But every Mason student should be dancing on the bill’s grave.

The Keystone Pipeline XL is an anti-green project, and when I say “green” I mean your money.

According to an independent study by Cornell University, if Keystone XL is ever built, your gas could cost you between 10 and 20 cents more per gallon.

Speaker Boehner would prefer you didn’t know that.

“We can’t wait for this project to get started,” Boehner wrote in a recent letter to President Obama.

Boehner is happy to let the public think that this project is a brand new pipeline and a solution to high gas prices.

What Mr. Boehner isn’t telling you is that the Keystone Pipeline already exists.

The Keystone Pipeline was built almost two years ago. As you read this, it’s moving oil cheaply from a source in Canada to refineries in Illinois and Nebraska. Without that oil, your gas would be even more expensive.

Boehner doesn’t want you to know that, because he’s part of a plan to ship that oil overseas.

This plan is called, “The Keystone XL project.” If approved, the project will allow the pipeline’s owner, TransCanada Corp., to extend the already-built Keystone Pipeline all the way to Texas. Oil once bound for refineries in the heartland will end up in two major ports, Houston and Port Arthur.

Then it’s just a short boat ride through the Gulf of Mexico and/or the Panama Canal, and suddenly we’re paying a lot more for gas here in Fairfax.

Keystone XL demonstration, White House, 8-23-20

Keystone XL demonstration, White House,8-23-2011 Photo Credit: Josh Lopez (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Canadian oil companies don’t like that the Keystone has made your gas cheaper. Extending the pipeline to ports means they can sell the gas to other countries instead, creating an artificial shortage here that will only end when you’re willing to devote whole paychecks to your fuel tank.

The oil will be exported, it’s a free market.

American corporations find it profitable to export 1.6 million barrels of oil out of the country every day. Canadian oil companies aren’t going to feel guilty doing the same.

John Boehner and company won’t feel guilty either: I’ll close by clarifying their motives.

By reading this article, you know more about The Keystone XL project than most Americans. If Boehner exploits that ignorance carefully, it could translate into a Republican victory in a tough election year.

Let’s not forget the money. TransCanada and the oil companies who use Keystone are publicly traded corporations.

If you’re a wealthy politician like John Boehner, you could make a fortune buying stock now and selling it after you help approve the Keystone XL scheme.

But what if you’re a regular Mason student? All Keystone XL offers you is higher gas prices.

Join the fight to keep your gas affordable. This issue will resurface and the pro-Mason side needs to refortify its defenses. Call Jim Webb, the VA Senator who joined Boehner on this issue. Tell him you know what’s up, that you’re not fooled. Tell him that Mason students think with their brains, and not with their Boehners.

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