Friday, February 24, 2012

Canada Seizes American Property for Oil Pipeline

Americans are already fully aware of what U.S. multi-national corporations are capable of doing in pursuit of profits, but foreign interests can also impose their will on the American people.

(Pictured on left) The TransCanada Tower, the company head office in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Canada's largest bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, owns the most shares in TransCanada (Keystone XL pipeline) and is using eminent domain to confiscate American citizen's private property to build their proposed pipeline.

About TransCanada and the Pipeline

Canada is already America’s biggest supplier of oil and petroleum, and as the tar sands are exploited further its market share should only rise. By 2030, according to IHS CERA, a firm of consultants, the tar sands should supply more than one-third of America’s imported oil.

But the Keystone XL will not lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but only transport Canadian oil to American refineries for export to overseas markets (just as the oil from America's domestic drilling is also sold on the "world market".) Read: Key Facts on Keystone XL and more at Wiki.

The TransCanada Corporation's website says the $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline would create 20,000 jobs for Americans - - 13,000 in construction (until it's built) and 7,000 in manufacturing. But those job estimates listed in their application draws from a 2011 report commissioned by TransCanada and estimates 20,000 “person-years”.

The current TransCanada pipeline network connects with virtually all major gas supply basins in North America. It also owns almost 25% of all the outstanding shares of TC PipeLines LP (a wholly owned subsidiary) and controls the general partner.

TC PipeLines manages and owns natural gas pipelines in the United States including almost 50% of Great Lakes Gas Transmission Limited Partnership, 50% of Northern Border Pipeline Company, and 100% of Tuscarora Gas Transmission Company.

The Financials

The Vanguard Group, a privately owned equity firm, is a large investor in TransCanada. Vanguard Total Intl Stock Index holds 2,539,538 shares and Vanguard Energy holds 1,460,996 shares. By comparison, Morgan Stanley Global Infrastructure holds 619,723 shares in TransCanada.

The Vanguard Group is also one of the largest institutional shareholders of JPMorgan Chase (who in turn, holds shares in  TransCanada) With $1.3 trillion in assets, Vanguard is the nation's largest fund company. Here's what Vanguard owns in JPMorgan Chase:

  • Vanguard Total Stock Market Index 42.6 million shares
  • Vanguard 500 Index Investor 34.8 million shares
  • Vanguard Institutional Index Institutional 31.9 million shares
  • Vanguard Windsor II Investor 23.9 million shares
  • Vanguard Wellington Investor 20 million shares
    * Source: Morningstar

Vangaurd's CEO is F. William McNabb III. How much does he earn? "We don’t disclose the compensation earned by any crew member. We believe that compensation matters deserve the same privacy protections that we provide to shareholders and their account information."

Institutional investors such as BlackRock Inc. also holds 16,068,790 shares of TransCanada Corporation, and BlackRock Institutional Trust Company holds 9,545,282 shares, while BlackRock Investment Management Ltd. holds another 5,022,692 shares. (Source: MorningStar)

One website mentions that CPP Investment Board (Canada Pension Plan) was once the largest shareholder, with more than 35 million shares valued at more than $1.2 billion.

The Owners

Canada's largest bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, is by far the largest investor in TransCanada Corporation, currently holding 56,935,777 shares. And who owns most of the shares in that bank? The bank itself, and investors such as Vanguard and BlackRock. (The list of the Royal Bank of Canada's board of directors)

David P. O'Brien, who is a member of the board of directors of TransCanada, is also the Chairman of the Board of the Royal Bank of Canada (Wiki bio / Forbes profile). The other members of the board of directors of TransCanada are listed below - - as of April 25, 2008, according to TransCanada's Facebook page.

S. Barry Jackson (Chair) Forbes profile
Russ Girling (President and CEO) Wiki bio / Forbes profile
Kevin E. Benson - Forbes profile
Derek Burney - Wiki bio / Forbes profile
Wendy K. Dobson - Forbes profile
E. Linn Draper - Forbes profile
Paule Gauthier - Wiki bio / Forbes profile
Kerry L. Hawkins - Forbes profile
Paul L. Joskow - Forbes profile
John A. MacNaughton - Wiki bio / Forbes profile
W. Thomas Stephens - Forbes profile
D. Michael G. Stewart - Forbes profile

(Pictured below) The Royal Bank of Canada logo is displayed on a sign at their headquarters building in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Royal Bank of Canada > JPMorgan Chase > Morgan Stanley > The Vanguard Group > BlackStone > TransCanada > and all those who are invested in the oil and gas companies. Many members on these board of directors sits as members on the boards of each others inter-connected companies (David P. O'Brien is but one of many examples, but shows how these corporate interests are less separated than once commonly believed).

Other People who Might Benefit from Canada's Tar Sand Oil

The pipeline versus the railroads: How Warren Buffet could benefit or how the Koch brothers could. One of the Koch brothers' businesses handles about 25% of the tar sands imported into the U.S., and the Koch brothers are one of the biggest refiners of Alberta oil sands crude oil. (more articles about this at Koch Brothers Exposed.)

The Canadian Land Grab for a Proposed Pipeline

Evidently TransCanada is threatening to seize the property of American landowners and start construction of its Keystone XL pipeline - even though President Obama last month rejected the permit to build.

The pipeline path includes the 600 acre working farm that Julia Trigg Crawford's grandfather bought in 1948, on the Texas Oklahoma border, where the Red River meets Bois d'Arc Creek, which waters the farm.

Fearing for the safety of her farm and it's water source, Julia Trigg rejected TransCanada's offer to buy an easement on her land.

TransCanada announced it was seizing her land under eminent domain and would begin digging, but according to the Huffington Post, Julia won a temporary restraining order, at least until this Friday when the court will hear the case challenging Transcanada's status as a "common carrier" under Texas law.

It's bad enough that TransCanada expect landowners like Julia Trigg to accept permanent damage to their land and possible oil spills. But it's beyond arrogant for this foreign oil company to trample on private property rights and start construction on a project whose permit has just been denied!

Under eminent domain, the government can force landowners to accept monetary payment for the use of their land for certain public-good projects like highways and railroads.

Of course, TransCanada's massive fuse to the carbon bomb of the tar sands shouldn't qualify as one of these projects — it does great harm and only helps the profits of a foreign corporation. But regardless, the company doesn't even have the permit to build it, because the White House just rejected their application. But that hasn't stopped TransCanada.

According to The New York Times, the company has at least 34 eminent domain actions against landowners in Texas, and 22 in South Dakota. And their threats to landowners in Nebraska helped spark massive public opposition and a special legislative session that were key in the decision to consider a different route.

Many of these landowners are being sued by the company, and told that if they don't take the small monetary offering — sometimes less than $10,000 in exchange for the permanent damage to their land, and huge risk of spills — their land will be condemned and TransCanada will seize the easement.

Julia Trigg and others are fighting back and doing everything they can to oppose TransCanada's land grab.

According to the L.A. Times, everyone from environmentalists to Tea Partiers in Texas are showing their support for Americans' property rights. As these court challenges unfold, we need to build pressure against TransCanada and spread the word about their reprehensible tactics.

More on Big Oil - No Energy Independence and Still High Prices

I was searching for historical data for U.S. oil exports, consumption, prices, and production – - and found this article (which also includes 30 charts) about oil from 1868 to the present:

I was hoping for a brief and less comprehensive (but more comprehensible) synopsis on this article.

The very long-term data and the post World War II data suggests a “normal” price far below the current price for a barrel of oil. However, the rise of OPEC, which replaced the Texas Railroad Commission as the monitor of spare production capacity, together with increased interest in oil futures as an asset class, introduced changes that support prices far higher than the historical “norm.”

It appears that speculation (by those who never actually take delivery) in oil futures is the biggest driving force of oil prices. Goldman Sach’s alone has huge blocks of stock in oil companies and trades vast quantities of oil futures.

Domestic production under Obama has risen (even with the moratoriums) and domestic consumption is down, and supplies have not been disrupted, but prices are still going higher…even before discussions of the Keystone pipeline and Iran’s threats to close the strait (which our military could still keep open if that was ever attempted).

If the Keystone pipeline only adds to the “world supply” at “market prices” that can be sold to other countries, how can it help domestic prices and supply, and give the U.S. “energy independence” (or for that matter, besides just oil, any other energy “asset”, including bio-fuels)?

While I understand that many average Americans benefit from profits made in the oil industry, like day traders, or if our 401ks, pensions, or Roth IRAs are invested in oil companies - - but when WE withdrawal our funds, we’re taxed as ordinary income.

There was recently a petition started: Tell TransCanada: Stop using eminent domain to confiscate private property for the rejected Keystone XL Pipeline.

My Other Related Posts

*** 1 Hour Video - Featuring: Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor Heather McGhee, Leo Hindery, businessman and “Patriotic Millionaire” Natalie Foster, Co-Founder of Rebuild the Dream, and Robert Borosage of Campaign for America’s Future - National Teach-In To Take Back The American Dream

No comments:

Post a Comment