U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin has been caught in a bit of a pickle. He ran for election in 2012 almost solely on the wonders of building a big Canadian tar sands pipeline through the heart of America, right through a sensitive Nebraska aquifer.
Then, darn! An ExxonMobil pipeline blew out in Arkansas, soaking a Mayflower neighborhood with tar sands and polluting a creek and lake, all not many miles upstream from the water supply for about 20 percent of the population of Arkansas.
So tone deaf was Griffin — unsurprising given his historical financial support from oil companies — that his first wade into the muck of Mayflower was as a pipeline apologist. The Keystone XL pipeline will be safe, oil companies learn from their mistakes, pipelines are not environmental problems, yadda yadda.
But then a funny thing happened. A fan club didn’t instantly form up for ExxonMobil, as it has for, say, the Fayetteville shale exploration companies. So Griffin has pivoted. He’s all concerned now. He’s meeting with residents. He’s filed a largely meaningless bill to give the handful of people to whom ExxonMobil eventually deigns, maybe, to pay any money, a little tax exemption on the payment. He is, I suspect, the one leaking selected info to the Democrat-Gazette on inspection reports on the pipeline, information that Exxon continues to refuse to share with the public at large. He needs some friends in the press, that’s for sure. And, of course, he hasn’t stopped pushing for more pipelines moving more dangerous and environmentally unfriendly tar sands across America to refineries that will ship finished goods to China. That the Koch boys own tar sands property in Canada as well as refineries is just a delightful coincidence.
And just to be sure the reaction to future pipeline disasters is appropriate — TIM GRIFFIN AND OTHER HOUSE REPUBLICANS PROPOSE TO SLASH THE BUDGET OF THE FEDERAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. Who needs the EPA? Or the ADEQ? Or any other regulatory agency? If you can’t trust ExxonMobil and Tim Griffin, who can you trust?
Here’s the news on the proposal to cut the EPA budget by ONE THIRD. (Yahoo News used Tim Griffin’s picture for illustration. He’s on Ways and Means, after all.) He and the other House Repubs also want to cut arts spending in half. Who needs art? What we need is oil. And lots of it. If some of it spills, hey. You gotta crack eggs to make an omelette.
UPDATE: The Democratic Party uses the occasion to note Griffin’s votes detrimental to pipeline safety: