by Max Brantley
The Mayflower pipeline break that showered Canadian tar sands on a nice neighborhood and adjoining wetlands has had an undeniable political benefit to pipeline skeptics. Don't believe it? See how non-stop pipeline supporter Rep. Tim Griffin has suddenly become a protector of the damaged people of Mayflower against ExxonMobil (though he remains quite deferential to the oil colossus).
Groups fighting the Keystone XL pipeline have certainly moved to take advantage. A coalition fighting that dangerous line is supporting a Mayflower group that plans to deliver a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to visit Mayflower before making a decision on Keystone XL's route through the U.S. The Remember Mayflower Coalition, which includes people affected by the spill, will meet the press at the State Department in Washington tomorrow morning. They'll be joined by Jane Kleeb, Executive Director of Bold Nebraska and member of the “All Risk, No Reward” Coalition, which is assisting in Mayflower organizing.
And who is the All Risk Coalition? I was told today by a spokesman that it includes the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, League of Women Voters, Indigenous Environmental Network, Bold Nebraska, Keystone XL Truthforce, STOP Tarsands, Sandhills Beef, Nebraska Farmers Union, Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light, League of Women Voters Nebraska, and Dakota Rural Action.
A shoutout, by the way, to Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, at last finding his consumer protection chops against a multinational energy company. I mentioned his press conference yesterday. But good for him that it is not enough to say, as Exxon's flaks have, that dangerous chemicals in the air are below actionable levels. Carcinogens have still been found. Should homeowners take comfort that they are not at demonstrably hazardous levels? Can you only be a little bit pregnant? His press for full and easier compensation for all affected by the spill is also likely to be a popular sentiment. Are you not directly impacted if your whole neighborhood stinks of crude oil?