Congress Works with Big Oil on Letter Suggesting Anti-Pipeline Activists Face Terrorism Charges

By Steve Horn, a freelance investigative journalist and past reporter and researcher at the Center for Media and Democracy. Originally published at DeSmogBlog

On October 23, 84 Congressional representatives made a splash when they published a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking if those engaged in activism disrupting or damaging pipeline operations should face criminal prosecution as an act of terrorism under the USA PATRIOT ACT.

Spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) and co-signed by dozens of other, primarily Republican, representatives, the letter pays homage to the First Amendment, while also noting that “violence toward individuals and destruction of property are both illegal and potentially fatal.” The letter, covered by several media outlets, was championed by the industry lobbying and trade association, the American Petroleum Institute (API), which said it “welcomed” the letter.

But according to a DeSmog review, API and other industry groups were a key part of bolstering the letter itself. API, along with the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), is listed as among the “supporting groups” on the website, which tracks congressional letters and their backers.

The website is run by Clayton Hanson, formerly a reporter for Roll Call and the Charlotte Observer, which says it exists as the “largest publicly available archive of free Dear Colleague letters.”

“Dear Colleague letters are official correspondence between members of Congress that lawmakers use to gauge or build support or opposition for legislation or other causes,” explains the website. In the case of the October 23 letter to Sessions, its genesis was a “Dear Colleague” letter written to other congressional offices to gather signatories for the cause.



Beyond API, the letter was also promoted by the oil and gas industry-funded Western Energy Alliance.

Cathy Landry, vice president of communications for INGAA, says the organization did not ghostwrite the letter.

INGAA is a supporting organization because we care about public safety, the environment, and the integrity of our pipelines and pipeline facilities,” Landry told DeSmog. “There are many ways to voice opinions about pipelines that do not involve putting the public, pipeline employees, or the perpetrators themselves in harm’s way — or threaten the environment — by trespassing and tampering with equipment. The Congressman and his staff wrote the letter and asked for our support.”

Hanson told DeSmog he sees this case as being a “chicken and the egg” situation, and that the process is often a collaborative one between congressional offices and industry.

“On many occasions, legislators work with industries to come up with the language for letters,” he said. “I think that the motivations are threefold. First is to say that they’re doing something to constituents, even if it doesn’t get anywhere. The second is that it’s something that they can they can talk about at fundraisers for that industry. Lastly, they’re used to put out feelers for support with members that they might not have a lot of contact with.”

‘Valve Turners’

This letter’s publishing comes in the aftermath of last year’s major uprising against the Dakota Access pipeline at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

Emails and memoranda previously obtained and reported on by DeSmog show that law enforcement and contract public relations professionals described those who participated in the Standing Rock protests as potential “terrorists.” Greenpeace USA and activists the organization collaborated with at Standing Rock are likewise being described as partaking in “eco-terrorist” activities in a recent lawsuit filed against the organization for alleged “racketeering,” as defined by the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Importantly, it also follows other anti-pipeline actions by the “valve turners,” or those who participated in acts of non-violent civil disobedience to shut down the flow of Canadian tar sands into the U.S. at several pipeline pump stations. The activists affiliated with the Climate Disobedience Center, in those cases, have used the “necessity defense” to say that their activism was the last line of defense they had to halt runaway climate change which could ensue from the combustion of oil and gas flowing through pipelines.

In May, API published its own letter on the issue to the Department of Justice, which addresses the “valve turners” head-on and has a footnote on their activism.

“Investigations and law enforcement actions are a critical element to preventing criminality as well as potential environmental damage,” reads the letter, which like the recent congressional letter, pays homage to First Amendment rights. “While we respect individuals’ rights to free speech and peaceful protest, robust investigations into whether laws protecting critical energy infrastructure and the environment were broken is a responsible next step in certain situations.”

‘Bipartisan’ Letter

In its press release supporting the letter to to Sessions, API refers twice to it being a “bipartisan effort.” But only four of the 84 signatories, according to the outlet ThinkProgress, were Democrats.

A key component of securing our nation’s energy infrastructure is ensuring that law enforcement has the tools needed to prosecute those who attack it,” API stated in its press release. “We appreciate this bipartisan effort and look forward to working with lawmakers and law enforcement in protecting our industry’s personnel, the environment, and communities across the country.”

The four Democrats have taken over $3 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry throughout their political careers, ThinkProgress reported. And as Kevin Gosztola of the independent news organization Shadowproof pointed out, the letter’s lead author, Buck, also has been a major recipient of oil and gas industry money during his political career, pulling in a total of $400,000 in campaign contributions.

Hunton & Williams Tie

Gosztola also noticed that the letter in many ways mirrors an article written by the law firm Hunton & Williams in 2016 for its clients, a post which came after the “valve turner” incidents.

“In addition to being subject to common law claims — such as trespass, nuisance, burglary, and criminal mischief/sabotage — any person who knowingly and willfully damages or even attempts or conspires to damage or destroy an oil or gas pipeline or component may be subject to criminal prosecution under the federal Pipeline Safety Act,” reads the law firm’s brief. “Beyond civil and criminal liability, individuals damaging pipeline facilities could be investigated and/or prosecuted under other statutes depending on the circumstances, such as the Patriot Act or the Homeland Security Act for domestic acts of terrorism”

Both API and INGAA have, in the past, been clients of Hunton & Williams. The firm also represented many of the country’s largest coal companies in their lawsuits against the Obama administration’s implementation of the Clean Power Plan, which would have regulated greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Database Creation

Just two days after the congressional letter was published, the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance’s (EEIA) new “Energy Builders” initiative announced the creation of an “Energy Infrastructure Incident Reporting Center.” EEIA is a “community of thousands of locally-based contractor, equipment, materials, and service businesses that support shale gas and oil operations,” according to its website. The initiative was also launched as a reaction to pipeline protests which have popped up nationwide.

The new database describes its purpose as “tracking and exposing attacks on critical energy infrastructure.”

“Incidents of eco-terrorism, sabotage, arson, vandalism, and violence are on the rise as severe actions have become a regular feature of pipeline protests, endangering public safety, the environment, jobs, and leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars,” the database’s website explains. “If you observe or hear about an incident of violence, sabotage, illegal trespass, or other opposition misconduct, please describe it briefly here and we’ll consider it for inclusion in the database.”

Annie Leonard, executive director for Greenpeace USA, decried the creation of the database in comments conveyed to the Associated Press.

“Corporations and their governmental enablers are desperate to silence dissent every way they can,” Leonard told AP. Leonard also called the new database “more fear-mongering by corporate bullies hoping to see what they can get away with in Trump’s America.”

API, Association of Oil Pipe Lines, and U.S. Rep. Buck’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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  1. pretzelattack

    when it’s the fossil fuel companies that should be the targets, since they are putting civilization at risk.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I certainly agree with that sentiment.

      I donated $100 to a No-DAPL group when that was taking place. At the time, I had misgivings only because at some ‘unspecified time in the future’ my spidey-sense told me that the Industry would pay their congressscum to outlaw protest…and eventually label it as terrorism. Then, I would be on the hook for ‘financing terrorism’ and as literally *everything* we do digitally is tracked and stored for use when the time is right…there ya go. Mandatory minimum, enhanced sentence, concrete box for me.

      Paranoia, tin-foil hats. Ridiculous, right?

      Sadly, the depths to which this country is sinking….and will sink…always seem to catch up to my fever dreams.

      Been nice knowing you Comrade, if you hear tink-tink-tinking noises on the water pipes in your cell at Pelican Bay…thats probably me. :/

      1. f f skitty

        what makes you think luxury accommodations like pelican bay will be provided?
        more likely a quick visit to a temporary detention center followed up with a one-way helicopter ride over the pacific ocean.

    2. LyonNightroad

      I’m not sure if the current human population is sustainable without fossil fuels. So it’s not clear to me how we can walk all of this back without negative consequences one way or another. Technology might come up with a solution, maybe. Or maybe not.

      1. nonsense factory

        Technology has already come up with a solution – solar / wind / storage can entirely replace energy demands that have been previously met with fossil fuels. There are literally dozens of studies showing this to be true. Even with tricky areas – shipping and air travel – it’s possible to synthesize liquid fuels from atmospheric CO2 and water, which is where all fossil fuels originate from anyway. The costs are high and it’s likely that cheap fossil-fueled air travel and shipping will be much less cheap in the future – but the technology needed for a fossil fuel free human global civilization already exists.

        Building it out to scale, while destroying the profits of the fossil fuel sector and all the shareholders and nation-state rulers who ride with them, that’s the stumbling block. The technology is not the problem.

  2. diptherio

    Peaceful protest = terrorism.

    Attacking peaceful protesters with rubber bullets and water-cannons = law enforcement.

    …the letter pays homage to the First Amendment, while also noting that “violence toward individuals and destruction of property are both illegal and potentially fatal.”

    Well, unless it’s the cops and their private security buddies engaging in the violence and property destruction. Remember that cop at Standing Rock who lost an eye, or the one who lost (or nearly lost) an arm?…oh wait, those were protesters…er, I mean “terrorists,” so I guess they had it coming…

    It’s too early in the morning for this….

    1. ger

      I know the feeling. My first thoughts were to just go out on the deck and puke over the rail. How did we get here as the government lines up with the enemies of the average citizen? Like a third world country!

  3. Auntienene

    Are companies that don’t maintain pipelines, causing spills and destruction of property, not terrorists?

  4. Louis Fyne

    I guess that is Russia’s and Trump’s fault too.

    If only Hillary Clinton was in office in 2001 to vigorously defend the Constitution, or at least put a hard sunset clause into the PATRIOT Act! oh wait.

    Point being that the clusterf_____ in DC pre-dates Trump. And liberals do themselves a disservice by conveniently forgetting that the road to today was paved with Democratic Party votes in DC.

    1. witters

      Indeed: “Leonard also called the new database “more fear-mongering by corporate bullies hoping to see what they can get away with in Trump’s America.” Trump’s America? Isn’t that plain anti-patriotic?

  5. Lee

    Just finished reading a 2008 prescient book of fiction on the growing power of corporations over and within our goverment and the use of a police state and private cop state against the “terrorists” who are trying to save their country. : “The Army of the Republic” by Stuart Archer Cohen….Naomi Klein thought well of it on a jacket blurb.

  6. JCC

    I have yet to hear of any protesters intentionally breaking pipelines. Has anyone tracked this to see if it is really happening (besides the pipeline industry)?

    1. Louis Fyne

      the definition of “terrorism” in the PATRIOT Act includes coercion and intimidation (not just blowing things up), if I recall correctly.

      *arguably* –for a judge/jury to decide—occupying the worksite of the pipeline = coercion and/or intimidation.

      don’t shoot the messenger. blame the Democrats who rubber stamped a lazily, broadly written blank check.

      1. pretzelattack

        so the company goons using coercion and intimidation are terrorists. good to know. and then there’s the theft of the land granted by treaty.

  7. Edward

    Here it comes. All the anti-terrorism legislation gets to be used as a weapon against the left. NC featured a similar story about the FBI. First the came for…

    1. JBird

      The Left? Dude, it never ends with just the approved “Bad People,” nor with just one’s actions. What these fools do not understand is that, like with the Soviet Union, Germany, China, Japan, and the United States in the past, the enemies list just keeps growing until it is just about everyone except whatever ruler and/or narrow oligarchy is in charge.

    1. nonclassical

      ….too funny! Actually was able speak with J Paul Bremer-asked (he ignored question) whose idea it was to depose Saddam’s already U.S. trained, equipped, financed, standing military…(Iraq overseers made million$, U.S. taxpayer dollars, “standing up” “new army”-paid by numbers on page – new enrollees..)

      meanwhile, Shell CEO Carroll stated from Britain, one month prior Iraq invasion, bush-cheney offered him “privatized Iraqi oil resources”…his answer, “We are making more money with OPEC than ever…and we don’t want to own oil wells on perpetual fire..” (interview on video, at time-“Democracy Now”)

      (enter “pacification”)

      1. Edward

        Another classic: at a public event someone asked Wolfowitz some question about the Iraq war and he replied that he wasn’t legally required to answer the question.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Paul Bremer was sent to Iraq and fired General Garner and disbanded the Iraqi Army almost immediately upon his arrival there.

        Whoever sent Paul Bremer to Iraq sent him there to do those things. So whoever sent Paul Bremer to Iraq is the person(s) who wanted Garner out and the Iraqi Army disbanded. Perhaps finding out who sent Bremer is an indirect way to find out who wanted the Iraqi Army disbanded.

        1. nonclassical

          …answer found among these (guy with someone else’s heart primary suspect):

          P.N.A.C. (PNAC’s policy document, “Rebuilding America’s Defences,” openly advocated for total global military domination.)

          Elliott Abrams, a former Reagan-era Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs. During the Iran/Contra scandal, Abrams pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of lying to Congress but was later pardoned by the first Bush administration. He subsequently became president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is currently a member of Bush’s National Security Council.
          Gary Bauer, a Republican presidential candidate in 2000, who currently is president of an organization named American Values.
          William J. Bennett, who served during the Reagan and first Bush administrations as U.S. Secretary of Education and Drug Czar. Upon leaving government office, Bennett became a “distinguished fellow” at the conservative Heritage Foundation, co-founded Empower America, and established himself as a self-proclaimed expert on morality with his authorship of The Book of Virtues.
          Jeb Bush, the son of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and brother of current President George W. Bush. At the time of PNAC’s founding, Jeb Bush was a candidate for the Florida governor’s seat, a position which he currently holds.
          Dick Cheney, the former White House Chief of Staff to Gerald R. Ford, six-term Congressman, and Secretary of Defense to the first President Bush, was serving as president of the oil-services giant Halliburton Company at the time of PNAC’s founding. He subsequently became U.S. vice president under George W. Bush.
          Eliot A. Cohen, a professor of strategic studies at John Hopkins University
          Paula Dobriansky, vice president and director of the Washington office of the Council on Foreign Relations. Currently Dobriansky serves in the Bush administration as Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs.
          Steve Forbes, publisher, billionaire, and Republican presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000. Forbes has also campaigned actively on behalf of the “flat tax,” which would reduce the federal tax burden for wealthy individuals like himself.
          Aaron Friedberg, professor of politics and international affairs; Director, Center of International Studies; Director, Research Program in International Security, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.
          Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and the Last Man; Dean of the Faculty and Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. Appointed to the President’s Council on Bioethics by George W. Bush, January 2002.
          Frank Gaffney – conservative columnist; founder and president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C. Web-site:
          Fred C. Ikle, “distinguished scholar” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
          Donald Kagan, professor of history and classics at Yale University and the author of books including While America Sleeps: Self-Delusion, Military Weakness, and the Threat to Peace Today; A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977-1990; and The Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace. Kagan is also a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a contributing editor at the Weekly Standard and a Washington Post columnist, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Alexander Hamilton fellow in American diplomatic history at American University. Past experience includes: Deputy for Policy in the State Department’s Bureau of Inter-American Affairs (1985-1988); State Department’s Policy Planning Staff member (1984-1985); speechwriter to Secretary of State George P. Shultz (1984-1985); foreign policy advisor to Congressman Jack Kemp (1983); Special Assistant to the Deputy Director of the United States Information Agency (1983); Assistant Editor at the Public Interest (1981).
          Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-American who was the only Muslim among the group’s original signatories and the only signatory who was not a native-born U.S. citizen. Khalilzad has became the Bush administration’s special envoy to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban as well as is special envoy to the Iraqi opposition to Saddam Hussein. Khalilzad has written about information warfare, and in 1996 (in pre-Taliban days), he served as a consultant to the oil company Unocal Corporation (UNOCAL) regarding a “risk analysis” for its proposed pipeline project through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
          William Kristol, PNAC’s chairman, is also editor of the Weekly Standard, a Washington-based political magazine. His past involvements have included: lead of the Project for the Republican Future, chief of staff to Vice President J. Danforth Quayle, chief of staff to Secretary of Education William J. Bennett under the Reagan administration, taught politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
          I. Lewis Scooter Libby, who later became chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney.
          Norman Podhoretz, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and author of works such as Patriotism and its Enemies.
          J. Danforth Quayle, former vice president under President George Herbert Walker Bush and a presidential candidate himself in 1996.
          Peter W. Rodman, who served in the State Department and the National Security Council under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush, became the current Bush administration’s Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security affairs in 2001.
          Stephen P. Rosen, Beton Michael Kaneb Professor of National Security and Military Affairs at Harvard University.
          Henry S. Rowen was president of the RAND Corporation from 1967-1972. He served under former presidents Reagan and Bush as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (1981-83) and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (1989-91). He currently holds the title of “senior fellow” at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
          Donald H. Rumsfeld served former President Gerald R. Ford as chief of transition after Richard M. Nixon’s resignation, later becoming Ford’s chief of staff and secretary of defense from 1974-75. He subsequently served from 1990-93 as CEO of General Instrument Corporation and later as Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical company. In 1998 he served as chairman of the bi-partisan US Ballistic Missile Threat Commission. Under President George W. Bush, he once again assumed the post of Secretary of Defense.
          Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman from Minnesota, is now a well-connected lobbyist who has represented such firms as AT&T, Lockheed Martin and Microsoft. Weber is also vice chairman of Empower America and a former fellow of the Progress and Freedom Foundation.
          George Weigel, a Roman Catholic religious and political commentator, is a “senior fellow” at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
          Paul Dundes Wolfowitz, formerly Dean and Professor of International Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, became Undersecretary of Defense for President George W. Bush in 2001.
          Top leadership from their about page as of June 2007:[5]

          Project directors:

          William Kristol, Chairman
          Robert Kagan, Co-founder
          Bruce P. Jackson, bio President of the Project on Transitional Democracies. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He was on the Board of Advisors of the Center for Security Policy. He is the President of the U.S. Committee on NATO. Past experience includes: US Army intelligence (1979-1990), Office of the Secretary of Defense (1986-1990), chief strategist of proprietary trade operations at Lehman Brothers (1990-1993), high level management positions at Martin Marietta and Lockheed Corporation (1993-1999?).
          Mark Gerson, bio
          Randy Scheunemann, bio, founded the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, served as an advisor to Rumsfeld on Iraq in 2001.

  8. Chauncey Gardiner

    Under our system of governance, the sovereign state is the only party with the legal right to use violence and incarceration to enforce the rule of law. We rely on the values and wisdom of those we elect to public office and their judicial and agency appointees to make the law, to determine when such measures are appropriate and just, and to comply with the Constitution when doing so.

    Peaceful civil protests against pipelines as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act?… Ironic use of the Patriot Act. Seems to the perps and victims have been reversed and those who are relentlessly pursuing a political and economic agenda for their own short-term financial benefit at the cost of loss of human life and property losses from global warming are the ones should be held criminally and civilly liable. Perhaps some property and casualty insurers and creditors would agree.

    As environmental activist Tim De Christopher said after being sentenced to two years in a maximum security prison for his creative peaceful protest by bidding on leases of public lands for extraction of oil and gas resources with no intent to pay: “This is not going away. At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like. In these times of a morally bankrupt government that has sold out its principles, this is what patriotism looks like. With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow.”

    Noteworthy is that in their pre-sentencing report, the Prosecution openly admitted that deChristopher himself was not a threat to society or at risk to reoffend; the stated purpose of the sentence was to deter other activists from taking similar action to further the climate movement. And isn’t that what remains in play today as evidenced by this legislative initiative.

    1. nonclassical

      ..Naomi Klein’s, “The Shock Doctrine-Rise of Disaster Capitalism” come home to roo$t…(aka, Milton Friedman-“Chicago Boys” economics – privatization post september 11, 1973)

  9. Scott

    I have written that we are in the death throes of the 100 Year Oil War. It started when battleships converted from coal to fuel oil.
    I suppose what we need to see is for Elon Musk’s Solar Power Wall company to spend as much & more on lobbying and laws as Exxon, or whatever the name is of the faceless and soul-less corporate persons invented to protect the humans who are part of them from the bother of any conscience.
    (I need to listen to the Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” again so I can just rock on, do what sane people do and look for the theater exits.)
    Lately I do recommend those who’d rather watch than be sucked up into the prison system for thinking like a real human being, as did the great hero of our times, Tim De Christopher, Uruguay.
    Or: I recommend Uruguay.

    1. nonclassical

      ..historically documented here:

      “America’s greatest untold story: the United States’ rise to world dominance under the guile of Allen Welsh Dulles, the longest-serving director of the CIA. Drawing on revelatory new materials—including newly discovered U.S. government documents, U.S. and European intelligence sources, the personal correspondence and journals of Allen Dulles’s wife and mistress, and exclusive interviews with the children of prominent CIA officials—Talbot reveals the underside of one of America’s most powerful and influential figures.

      “Dulles’s decade as the director of the CIA—which he used to further his public and private agendas—were dark times in American politics. Calling himself “the secretary of state of unfriendly countries,” Dulles saw himself as above the elected law, manipulating and subverting American presidents in the pursuit of his personal interests and those of the wealthy elite he counted as his friends and clients—colluding with Nazi-controlled cartels, German war criminals, and Mafiosi in the process. Targeting foreign leaders for assassination and overthrowing nationalist governments not in line with his political aims..”

  10. Vatch

    This is discouraging, but not at all surprising. Ag Gag laws are a similar phenomenon, designed to hide the truth and protect the rich and powerful. Five states in the United States have ag-gag laws designed to prevent whistleblowing by prohibiting filming, videotaping, or photography on farms without the consent of the owners. Of course, the conditions on factory farms (CAFOs, concentrated animal feeding operations) are horrendous and should be widely publicized.

    These are the five states with such laws on the books:

    Idaho (temporarily declared unconstitutional)
    North Carolina
    Utah (temporarily declared unconstitutional)

    I say that the laws in two of the states have been “temporarily” declared unconstitutional because the cases haven’t reached the Supreme Court yet. Anyone want to guess how Neil Gorsuch would rule in such a case? Remember the frozen trucker case?

    Other states have tried but failed to pass ag-gag laws.

    For more info, see:

  11. drumlin woodchuckles

    Obviously this effort to define resistance against new pipelines as terrorism should be highlighted and described and opposed. If the governing powers succeed in getting this new definition of terrorism accepted by the legal enforcement system, then pipeline protesters should understand the legal and punishment risks they run by protesting.

    If this new definition of terrorism is accepted into law, then political opposition to that definition will have to focus on electing people pledged to repeal that law and all laws which lead to that conclusion.

    In the meantime, citizen opposition (of whatever wing) to such new pipelines may have to think about what the Communists used to call ” the correlation of forces”. If a hundred million citizens oppose such new pipelines, that hundred million citizens will have to figure out how to reduce enough oil and gas use from their hundred million individual lives so as to weaken the oil, gas and pipeline industries. That hundred million people will have to keep weakening those industries until those industries are too weak to support the “protest equals terrorism” law against political efforts to repeal it.

    1. Vatch

      If a hundred million citizens oppose such new pipelines, that hundred million citizens will have to figure out how to reduce enough oil and gas use from their hundred million individual lives so as to weaken the oil, gas and pipeline industries.

      Yes! For those who drive a car, at some time in the future it will be necessary to buy a replacement car. Car shoppers should buy the most fuel efficient car that they can find which meets their needs. If you don’t need an SUV, don’t buy an SUV. If you do need an SUV, find one with half way decent fuel economy. Here’s a web site to start your search:

      This web site shows how some cars are really worse than their official statistics:

      Some SUVs get better than 20 MPG, and some are close to 10 MPG. Pay attention to the numbers!

      Also, don’t forget to adjust the thermostat on your home when you leave and won’t be back for several hours. You can save money by doing this in both winter and summer.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        There is a concept called “hypermiling” which refers to extracting maximum fuel efficiency from the car you have and from the driving you do. Here is a link to hypermiling. Some of its suggestions are about alternatives to driving, but some of its suggestions are about pure fuel efficiency increase while driving a car. I am sure there are other links to the subject of hypermiling as well.

      2. downunderer

        Vatch, I’ve enjoyed and respected your comments for years, but this is one that I tried putting into practice even more years ago, and well . . .

        Being both conservation- and economy-minded, our first and only new car was a 1970 VW squareback, with a computer-controlled fuel-injected flat-4 under the rear cargo area. It got from 30-34 mpg on regular, under any ordinary conditions, whether thousand-mile, 80 mph I-5 jaunts from Washington State to Los Angeles or trips to the store. The American majors said they could do that too, but not for less than maybe triple the VW price. So everyone else went on getting 1/3 the mileage we got.

        But we had to slow down to 55 mph with the rest. To save gasoline during the Great Shortage. And I never noticed that the appetites for SUVs among those in wealthy areas of LA (who didn’t need them) did anything but increase over the decades.

        Apologies for a downer, but hoping that the public’s awareness and gut-level desires will ever escape the dominance of the experts who are paid to manipulate them now seems a lost cause to me.

        1. ABasLesAristocrates

          Given the industry’s desperation to explain to millennials why they should own a car they can’t afford when there’s a perfectly good bus stop in front of the apartment they can’t afford, the experts don’t seem to be doing their job particularly well. At some point necessity becomes habit becomes zeitgeist, and then it will be too late.

  12. Curtis

    Back in the day in South Dakota, it was common knowledge that a good Indian was dead Indian. Does that fit in here dealing with the terrorism problem?

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