Published February 28, 2017
REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN – “I’ve taken steps to begin the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines,” President Donald Trump boasted at his recent rally in Melbourne, Florida. “As I was about to sign it I said, ‘Who makes the pipe?’ They said, ‘Sir, it can be made anywhere.’ I said, ‘Not anymore.’ So, I put a little clause in the bottom: the pipe has to be made in the United States of America if we’re going to have pipelines,” the president told his faithful. There’s no “little clause” about materials at the end of his executive memos advancing either pipeline, that requirement has a memo of its own that states pipelines “use materials and equipment produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible.”
If he didn’t already know it, the answer to the president’s question, “Who makes the pipe?” is Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. In the case of Keystone XL, some 40 percent of the pipeline has already been produced by EVRAZ in Regina, Saskatchewan, and is waiting to be laid. EVRAZ is controlled by Abramovich, one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest political allies and confidants. The Russian billionaire was instrumental in the creation of Putin’s political party, Unity, and the depth of his influence has extended to vetting members of Putin’s cabinet. Abramovich is also a close associate of President Trump and his family. Abramovich’s wife, Dasha Zhukova, daughter of Russian oil magnet Alexander Zhukov, was Ivanka Trump’s guest at President Trump’s inauguration.
“If you are close to any oligarch in Russia, then you are one degree from Putin himself, which means he has a loyal, trusted FSB or ex-KGB officer on his staff whose job it is to make sure that everybody does what Putin wants. Certainly, you can’t be an oligarch in Russia without them,” commented Malcolm Nance, author and retired counterterrorism and intelligence officer for US Special Operations, Homeland Security, and Intelligence agencies.
During the Obama administration, EVRAZ suffered significant loses on the stock market, particularly on the London Stock Exchange. President Obama ultimately vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline bill, leaving stacks of Abramovich manufactured pipe piled in a North Dakota field. The Trump advanced Keystone XL pipeline will feature the Bakken Marketline, an extension to enable the transportation of fracked oil from the Bakken with Alberta Oil Sands crude. In 2015, Abramovich invested $15 million in Propell Technologies Group to produce Plasma Pulse Technology (PPT), a supposed “clean” fracking technology, that was developed at the St. Petersburg Mining Institute and the St. Petersburg Scientific Research Institute for Electrophysical Apparatus. Propell has been a major booster of the Bakken, the prime market for PPT, which Abramovich is positioned to control. The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) will run from the Bakken to Patoka, Illinois.
“All of them are connected to the oil and gas industry,” stated Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), of Trump campaign insiders and now some senior administration officials she dubbed “the Kremlin clan.” Congresswoman Waters cited Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, advisers Carter Page and Roger Stone, and recently fired National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn. Among the current administration, Representative Waters highlighted Wilbur Ross, the president’s nominee for Secretary of Commerce, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Ross is tied to multiple Russian oligarchs, and President Putin directly, through business ventures with Cypriot banking houses. One of Ross’s associates, Dmitry Ryvoloviev, paid Donald Trump’s asking price of $95 million for a mansion in Palm Beach nine years-ago.
Secretary of State and former ExxonMobil CEO Tillerson has been associated with Putin since 1999 when he oversaw a deal with Russian oil titan Rosneft. In 2006, Roman Abramovich invested $300 million in Rosneft, and in 2011 Tillerson struck a $3.2 billion quid pro quo deal with Rosneft through which Exxon Mobil would develop offshore oil fields in the Russian Arctic, and in return Rosneft would reap benefits from Exxon’s US operations. In 2013, Putin awarded Tillerson Russia’s highest civilian honor, the Order of Friendship medal. The sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration suspended Exxon’s exploration in the Arctic. “Tillerson’s real job is to get those sanctions lifted,” Congresswoman Waters told MSNBC’s Hayes. “All of them want these lifted because this clan, this Kremlin clan, is all about getting the oil and gas money, and drilling.”
In response to President Trump’s Executive Memoranda advancing DAPL and Keystone XL, Abramovich’s company wrote, “EVRAZ North America applauds the Trump administration for advancing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.” EVRAZ has plants in Portland, Oregon, Pueblo, Colorado, and Chicago, which suggests Abramovich will be able to comply with the president’s order “to the maximum extent possible.” TransCanada, the company President Trump has invited “to promptly re-submit its application” for Keystone XL, projects to pump 830,000-gallons of Oil Sands crude per day through Keystone XL. One of the worst Oil Sands spills to date was Enbridge’s July 2010 catastrophe that dumped 800,000 gallons of Oil Sands crude into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. TransCanada will transport more of the toxic crude per day through the Great Sioux Nation and over the critical Ogallala Aquifer which underlies 174,000-square miles of 8 states and provides for 20% of the irrigated farmland in the US.
“Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history,” confirmed Professor James Hansen, retired head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Hansen has described Keystone XL as “the fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet.” Alberta’s Oil Sands extend over 54,000 square miles of the traditional lands of the Dene, Cree and Dane-zaa peoples. The cumulative effects of these multinational operations over the past two decades are considered by many to be inflicting a “slow industrial genocide” on the First Nations in that region.
Struggling to avoid the same, defenders of the sacred south of the border are being subjected to a renewed round of attacks for challenging DAPL, Keystone XL, the Enbridge pipelines, and multiple prospective extractive industry operations in Greater Yellowstone. The day before President Trump issued his executive memos on DAPL and Keystone XL, an Interior Department administrator confirmed that there are presently 21 oil and gas “Plans of Operation” for Greater Yellowstone upon the delisting of the sacred grizzly bear from the Endangered Species Act, and added, “There are a heck of a lot more mining claims because a given plan of operation can be associated with multiple mining claims.” Officials have already voiced concerns about “Standing Rock happening in Wyoming” if protectors descend on Yellowstone to shield sacred sites, sacred land, and this sacred being.
“Had these actions been undertaken by foreign nationals, they could only be described as acts of terrorism,” Joey Mahmoud, Executive Vice President of Energy Transfer Partners, parent company of DAPL, testified to the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee about water protectors at Standing Rock. “These comments aren’t really worth dignifying with a response,” countered Chief Stan Grier, Chief of the Piikani Nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy, “but I will say this: among those who have and will continue to defend the sacred are the descendants of survivors from Sand Creek, from Wounded Knee, from Camp Grant, from Bear River, from the Marias River Massacre, and other such heinous acts of terrorism.”
Grier said the Piikani Nation is drafting a declaration opposing President Trump’s revival of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is scheduled to be issued at the end of March.
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