During the election of 2012, Barack Obama made big promises about transparency. He told his followers that he would voluntarily disclose all the sources of funding for his 2013 inaugural party.
Barack Obama made a voluntary disclosure of the money he took to pay for his inauguration – but that disclosure wasn’t complete. A new FEC report shows that Obama hid some of the payments he received – including one million dollars from Chevron, a huge dirty oil corporation.
Obama’s disclosure never told the public about that money.
That wasn’t the only dirty oil money Barack Obama accepted in secret. Exxon handed Obama $250,000 – and Obama didn’t tell his followers about that, either.
Both Chevron and Exxon are pushing for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, despite the fact that the pipeline would violate environmental regulations and require a special waiver from the ordinary rules to go ahead. The pipeline would take thick, half-processed oil from the tar sands of Alberta, and send it snaking across the American midwest all the way down to Texas. All along its enormous length, communities would be subject to the risk of spills like the recent one in Arkansas, in which an Exxon pipeline burst and fouled the entire town of Mayflower.
Not too long after Barack Obama received large amounts of money for his inauguration parties from Chevron and Exxon, Obama’s State Department released a draft assessment claiming that the Keystone XL pipeline would have no environmental impact… because if the Keystone pipeline was blocked, other pipelines would be built. This assertion was logically comparable to a claim that an atomic bomb dropped on Tehran wouldn’t really kill anybody, because if that bomb weren’t dropped, another nuclear weapon would eventually destroy Tehran anyway.
This week, the Environmental Protection Agency rebelled against the White House and State Department, issuing a report exposing the severely flawed economic analysis of the State Department assessment. The EPA noted that, if the Keystone XL pipeline is constructed, the resulting consumption of oil from the Alberta tar sands would release 18.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. The EPA report also reminds the Obama White House that “there is uncertainty about when, if ever, additional pipelines will be built”.
Accurate economic and environmental assessments seem to have less influence on the approval of special waivers for the Keystone XL pipeline, however, than large gifts of money to Barack Obama. Obama may not be running for re-election, and his big inauguration parties may be over, but he’s still taking lots of money from corporate powers. Recently, Barack Obama began accepting gifts of cash for his presidential library. If the Obama Administration approves special waivers for the Keystone XL pipeline, we can expect to see plump, oily payments for the Obama library from fossil fuels companies like Exxon and Chevron.