From: The Honorable Alan Grayson
Sent By:
Date: 2/6/2014

Deadline Feb 12 COB

               Current signers: Conyers, Ellison, Grayson, Grijalva, Huffman

Dear Colleague,

I invite you to sign this letter to the State Department asking why it did not consider the impact of Chinese investment in Canadian tar sands in its study on the Keystone XL pipeline. Join me in saying the United States government should work for the benefit of Americans, not for Chinese energy independence.

To sign on this letter, please contact Matt Stoller at

Alan Grayson
Member of Congress
February 12, 2014
The Honorable John Kerry
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

We write with concerns about the lack of consideration of the Chinese government’s involvement in the exploitation of Canadian tar sands.  As you know, companies connected to the Chinese government have invested up to $30 billion in Canadian tar sands. Why hasn’t this investment been taken into account in the State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL pipeline?

The Chinese economy consists of taking raw materials and energy, making that into stuff, and then selling that stuff – a/k/a “manufacturing.”  Chinese leaders understand that in order for that model to work, China needs steady supplies of raw materials and energy.  By how do you get a steady supply of energy, in a world where those supplies are dominated by a cartel, and are concentrated in a part of the world prone to war?  In America, we’ve been trying to puzzle that out for four decades, without success.

The Chinese have figured it out.  They’re going to get their energy from Canada, a stable country, and pass it through the United States, another stable country.  They will pay the Canadians the world price for oil.  They will pay us nothing, or next to nothing.

For the past decade, China has pursued an utterly unscrupulous and incredibly successful strategy in “trade” with the United States.  China has been importing from the United States roughly $50 billion in goods each year, much of it food, raw materials and energy.  China has been exporting to the United States roughly $350 billion in goods each year, mostly manufactured goods.  And China has been buying roughly $300 billion in U.S. assets each year, mostly U.S. Treasuries.  So we buy their stuff, putting their people to work.  And they buy our assets, driving us deeper and deeper into debt.  America loses – twice.

Now China has peeled off a tiny portion of that trade surplus, just $30 billion, and audaciously is trying to parlay that into permanent energy independence.  China has put that money into Canadian tar sands.

Canadian tar sands are easily one of the dirtiest energy sources on Planet Earth.  Does China care?  No.  As Deng Xiaoping used to say, “it doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.”  China’s leaders are so indifferent to environmental concerns that they have no problem with 8-year-olds in Beijing contracting lung cancer from pollution – but they get upset when the U.S. Embassy in Beijing puts an air quality monitor on the roof, and posts the readings on the internet.  Canadian tar sands are a very, very black cat, but China’s leaders care only about catching mice.

Chinese leaders have seized key elements of the world industrial supply chain, like rare earth minerals.  According to our government, they engage in pervasive industrial espionage.  They have threatened American companies like Apple, Google and WalMart. In short, they know how to play the game.

All of the oil that passes through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline has to be sold in the United States.  Why not the same rule for the Keystone XL Pipeline?   But instead, we allow a tax-free zone, to facilitate Chinese energy independence at the expense of our own.

There are plenty of reasons to be against the Keystone XL pipeline.  Environmentalists recognize it as the ultimate “bonfire of the vanities” – planet-wide carbon bonfires.   The pipeline passes through an active earthquake zone.  One bad spill could permanently poison the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water to millions of people, and 30% of our irrigation.

Here is another reason, perhaps the best reason of all:  It doesn’t do us any good. China, yes.  Us, no.