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Letters to the Editor

Pipeline decision

January 21, 2012

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To the editor:

I am writing to express my support for President Obama’s decision to deny permission for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The pipeline, which is designed to take Canadian tars ands oil to Texas for refining and export, poses a danger to the ecology of the state of Kansas by crossing some of the most ecologically sensitive areas of the state, including the Flint Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer; a spill would endanger the drinking water and agricultural irrigation of millions of people in the region. Also, the tapping of this particularly energy-intensive form of oil would release hundreds of thousands of pounds of carbon into the atmosphere, adding to the climate change that is already occurring and leading to what NASA climatologist James Hansen called “game over” for the environment.

Despite inflated jobs claims from the oil industry, the pipeline would provide at most a few thousand temporary construction jobs, and virtually none of those in Kansas. There is far more potential for job development in the transition to wind, solar and other clean, renewable and domestic sources of energy. Taking this farsighted approach would be better for Kansas, for the country and for Creation.

Comments

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 8 months ago

Yes, it would be better for the pipeline to not be built. (Maybe.)

And it would also be better if we all would refrain from driving our cars any more than is actually necessary.

There is another factor to be considered. And that is, since the pipeline is not going to be built across the United States, the fuels derived from the tar sands will be sold in Asia instead of here. That has already been announced.

Of course, that will free up other sources of crude oil for our purposes, but it's important that any decision such as this should not be thought of as an isolated thing, but rather as only one part of a much bigger situation.

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repaste 2 years, 8 months ago

No way of knowing the truth, but as Larry has asserted below, that oil is far east bound regardless. They are bypassing refineries in the Dakotas better situated for US consumption. The fact that This administration has close ties with the pipeline co. and still made this decision is the interesting point.

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jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

It's not at all guaranteed this pipeline will not be built yet.

They're free to design the new route, and renew their request.

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

The EIS was done by a subcontractor for TransCanada, with a single state dept. employee as its contact in the U.S. government. http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/11/03/361083/for-years-the-state-departments-keystone-xl-review-had-staff-of-one-person/

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 8 months ago

"What’s good for General Motors is good for the USA."

  • a popular slogan in the 1950s and 60s, its exact origin is debatable
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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, and that sort of thinking has got us into this mess!

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Jimo 2 years, 8 months ago

A) Canada has its own environmental laws and building a pipeline to the Pacific isn't much more likely to pass muster than this one was.

B) A Pacific port is just as likely to sell to the West Coast as Asia. In fact, it would be much, much cheaper (a/k/a, more profitable) to do so.

C) This wasn't intended to be sold "here". Hence, the pipeline to a port on the other side of North America!

D) If the full costs of petroleum addiction appeared in the price paid at the gaspump, I'm 100% certain that all of use would refrain from "driving our cars any more than is actually necessary." The full cost ranges by various estimates from $8-$20 per gallon. You just pay the price elsewhere where costs are hidden from view. Unfortunately, it's only "socialists" who believe in free market principles enough to insist that retail prices equal actual prices so that consumers can make informed economic decisions. Throwing pollution into the air isn't "free" in reality no matter how many bribes get paid to politicians to make it free legally.

E) This is "one part of a much bigger situation." To keep supplying an addict is immoral. Moving away from petroleum is in our best interests for financial, environmental, and national security reasons. It doesn't matter that the drug is in our 51st State or the other side of the world. Supplying "ourselves" with "our" oil doesn't protect our allies and trading partners around the world. America cannot survive without its allies no matter how isolationist many peoples' (un)thinking. (Good Lord, look at the difficulty the U.S. has right now convincing nations to stop buying Iranian oil. That's easy for the U.S., which doesn't reply on a drop, to demand; not so much India or Japan.) The problem isn't the supplier; the problem is the drug.

G) Finally, you've got that whole climate change problem. As if you needed more reasons to question this boondoggle.

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Liberty275 2 years, 8 months ago

"Unfortunately, it's only "socialists" who believe in free market principles enough to insist that retail prices equal actual prices so that consumers can make informed economic decisions."

If only the socialists believed the retail price of riding the T would be enough that taxpayers wouldn't have to pay for busses they never ride we'd be good to go.

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Steve Jacob 2 years, 8 months ago

Obama (or whomever) will approve it, in 2013.

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501gdm2 2 years, 8 months ago

This decision is totally about getting Obama elected again! Like several of his decisions, it's not good for America! The pipe line should have been approved and he hasn't to this day made a decision without trying to blame someone else for his decision. He needs to go!

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501gdm2 2 years, 8 months ago

This decision is totally about getting Obama elected again! Like several of his decisions, it's not good for America! The pipe line should have been approved and he hasn't to this day made a decision without trying to blame someone else for his decision. He needs to go!

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

Former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign staffer Paul Elliott is now a TransCanada lobbyist in Washington. Several other lobbyists for the project have ties to Clinton. You know the Kochs are in there as well. More info here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brendan-demelle/hillary-clintons-keystone_b_997523.html

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 8 months ago

Addicted? I know what you're addicted to! (skip the ad at the first!)

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Peter Macfarlane 2 years, 8 months ago

"Use it or lose it"

So, I guess we better use it as fast as possible so that some other country will not have a chance to use it? I love your logic.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 8 months ago

Yes, we must use it ASAP. Because the biggest cars have always come from the USA, I think.

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

It is Canada's oil. They were always free to sell it to the highest bidder, which I'm sure they always planned to do. If they want to continue to destroy the environment by mining tar sands oil, they can further their own country's degradation by building their own refineries on the coast.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 8 months ago

The problem won't be limited to their own country. Refining tar sands results in more emissions of gasses that are believed to be harmful than refining crude oil, and that problem will be worldwide.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 8 months ago

And, "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them." - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

I know. I have both generic and personal reasons for opposing the pipeline. I live in a county that would have been crossed by the new route, and which is already crossed by the first one. I drink water in Nebraska; 80% of Nebraska's water comes from the Aquifer. I know from my neighbor whose farm the first pipeline crosses that there is no on-site monitoring of the pipeline, save by the farmer who owns the land. A small below-surface leak insufficient to cause a pressure drop detectable at the monitor station in Oklahoma could go undetected for months. Then there's the environmental concerns of extraction and carbon emissions. There's the health impacts on Indigenous people in the vicinity of the extraction site. There's the use of eminent domain and condemnation of private land by a foreign corporation along a route that hasn't even been approved.

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 8 months ago

Don't forget that the state cut a deal where none of the counties in Kansas where the pipeline already goes through (note: it's already built here, folks, regardless of what happens to the expansion project in Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas) get a penny in taxes from the pipeline for the next 10 years.

This means that any jobs that are created by this job will not be in Kansas, unless, of course, a huge spill occurs and folks have to be hired to clean it up. Note that a couple have already happened in Kansas even tho it's brand new.

Finally, the glut will caused by the Cushing OK bottleneck will open up and gas prices in this area will definitely go up--you can count on it. Don't forget that bitumen from the tar sands costs a lot more per barrel than other types of crude to process, so everyone will have to pay higher prices.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 8 months ago

"truckers are making $125k but living in their trucks"

That is not necessarily so bad. Some rigs have a condo in the back of the cab that includes a bathroom with a shower.

There are a few downsides to them though. They are very expensive, and when equipped with one, the trailer behind needs to be shorter, and the cargo capacity of the rig is decreased by the relatively large weight of the condo. So, I don't know if they are actually being used in the situation that you are describing.

Plus, it could drive you nuts to live in a condo that small.

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jayhawklawrence 2 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for the info. This is good information and probably is closely aligned with what I already think.

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 8 months ago

The cynical political game that Obama is playing with the very important Keystone Pipeline, instead of doing what any capable U.S. President would have done long ago, is one of the most shameful acts of his failed presidency.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 8 months ago

Which doc is writing you all those scripts for Xanax?

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grammaddy 2 years, 8 months ago

Just cut the thing off, you're not using it anhyway.

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Armstrong 2 years, 8 months ago

I love the enviro-whacko viewpoint. Thanks for the morning laugh. Best yet this is just another nail in the Obam '12 election joke. No real progress with unemployment and high gas prices is a sure combination to get him out of office. Best idea Obama's had since he's been in office.

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mloburgio 2 years, 8 months ago

Key Facts on Keystone XL

Keystone XL will not lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but transport Canadian oil to American refineries for export to overseas markets.

Keystone XL is an export pipeline. According to presentations to investors, Gulf Coast refiners plan to refine the cheap Canadian crude supplied by the pipeline into diesel and other products for export to Europe and Latin America. Proceeds from these exports are earned tax-free. Much of the fuel refined from the pipeline’s heavy crude oil will never reach U.S. drivers’ tanks.

Gas prices: Keystone XL will increase gas prices for Americans—Especially Farmers By draining Midwestern refineries of cheap Canadian crude into export-oriented refineries in the Gulf Coast, Keystone XL will increase the cost of gas for Americans. TransCanada’s 2008 Permit Application states “Existing markets for Canadian heavy crude, principally PADD II [U.S. Midwest], are currently oversupplied, resulting in price discounting for Canadian heavy crude oil.

Jobs: TransCanada’s jobs projections are vastly inflated.

In 2008, TransCanada’s Presidential Permit application for Keystone XL to the State Department indicated “a peak workforce of approximately 3,500 to 4,200 construction personnel” to build the pipeline. According to TransCanada’s own data, just 11% of the construction jobs on the Keystone I pipeline in South Dakota were filled by South Dakotans–most of them for temporary, low-paying manual labor.

Safety: A rupture in the Keystone XL pipeline could cause a BP style oil spill in America’s heartland, over the source of fresh drinking water for 2 million people.

The U.S. Pipeline Safety Administration has not yet conducted an in depth analysis of the safety of diluted bitumen (raw tar sands) pipeline, despite unique safety concerns posed by its more corrosive properties. TransCanada predicted that the Keystone I pipeline would see one spill in 7 years. In fact, there have been 12 spills in 1 year. The company was ordered to dig up 10 sections of pipe after government-ordered tests indicated that defective steel may have been used. KeystoneXL will use steel from the same Indian manufacturer. Keystone XL will cross through America’s agricultural heartland, the Missouri and Niobrara Rivers, the Ogallala aquifer, sage grouse habitat, walleye fisheries and more.

http://www.tarsandsaction.org/spread-the-word/key-facts-keystone-xl/

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jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Thanks - it's always nice to have some actual information, rather than just the usual spin/rhetoric stuff.

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jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

Yes, jafs, it its nice to have actual information. As long as the entire context is considered.

"Keystone XL will not lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil"

So what? It will mean work, jobs, more business for our refineries, shippers, and truckers. And there has to be some sort of compensation, whether it be money, trade, or diplomatic, for allowing a foreign pipeline to cross the entire nation.

"Keystone XL is an export pipeline."

And that whole paragraph is redundant.

“a peak workforce of approximately 3,500 to 4,200 construction personnel”

Good. Those are jobs. And there'll be a number of permanent positions as well, along w/ increased production and jobs at refineries.

" just 11% of the construction jobs on the Keystone I pipeline in South Dakota were filled by South Dakotans–most of them for temporary, low-paying manual labor."

That's 11% of South Dakotans, not Americans. Think that might have to do with South Dakota not having a lot of residents experienced in the industry perhaps?

"Safety: A rupture in the Keystone XL pipeline could cause a BP style oil spill in America’s heartland, over the source of fresh drinking water for 2 million people."

Talk about "fear mongering." Can't the same be said for any pipeline, refinery, well, etc.? We already have 200,000 miles of pipeline in the U.S. running every day. How many "BP style" spills are we suffering from? Zero, right?

"there have been 12 spills in 1 year"

The biggest being the size of a backyard swimming pool. And it ended up not being defective steel, but defective gaskets that were too easily broken by vibration. Both issues have been addressed.

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

So you'd be okay with a swimming pool full of oil being dumped on your property? Part of the reason there have been so many leaks is because TransCanada intentionally used inferior materials to build the pipeline. They applied for, and received, a waiver from standards so they could do so.

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jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

Ask a real question, deec. There's always that risk with oil until we find a Star Trekky way to "beam" from point A to B.
And I already addressed the cause of the leaks.

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

It is a real question. You think its fine for oil to degrade others' property; would it be okay with you if it happened in your backyard? The pipeline was intentionally poorly built, to save money. Keystone applied for, and was ultimately denied, a similar waiver for the new one. I drink Aquifer water. My neighbor's son owns land that has a piece of the pipeline through the middle of the field. Their land would be contaminated by a leak. The existing piece has already leaked 12 times that we know of. It is reality for people whose land and water is threatened by the pipeline.

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jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

No, it's not a real question, it's a rhetorical question. And thanks for telling me how I think. Since you have such insight, conversing with you is pointless.

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

It is a real simple question; you just refuse to answer it. How would you like it if someone dumped thousands of gallons of oil on your property?

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jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Of course he wouldn't like it - that's why he doesn't answer it.

Nobody wants their own little area destroyed, or polluted - they just seem to think it's ok if it's done to others.

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jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

You've got to be kidding me, Mr. Administrator! How on Earth did that violate the usage agreement? Do you guys actually look at the comment or is it just flagged and you just delete it then? Mighty 'delete' happy lately. That's 3 or so in a couple days when I rarely get any deleted.

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jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

......or Ms. Administrator..... sorry for the oversight.

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Alex Parker 2 years, 8 months ago

Your comments demeaning the intellectual capacity of other users falls short of respectful discussion, in my view.

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jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

Ok, fair enough. Though "I know that's a difficult concept for you two to grasp" is fairly benign compared to so much more on these boards. Where does that measure up against people throwing "racist" around here all the time?

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Alex Parker 2 years, 8 months ago

I would like nothing more than to see that stop. If you see something, I encourage you to flag it.

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jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

Fair enough. Thanks for responding.

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 8 months ago

Jaywalker, a few responses to your responses:

As noted above, truckers are shipping from Cushing, OK to the coast right now, so the pipeline will actually eliminate those jobs. Seems to me that the pipeline once it is built will reduce the net jobs used to get the bitumen to the coast.

Instead of creating jobs to build a pipeline, why not create jobs that will improve our country's transmission lines so we can ship power from wind-rich Kansas and the other plains states to other parts of the country. Building a better transmission grid helps our country a lot more than building a pipeline for Canada thru the same areas. And those jobs are I bet a lot higher paying than what the 11% of the South Dakotans got, I'll bet.

As far as spills go, we don't really have experience piping bitumen, which is much more corrosive and tricky than your standard crude. The danger is probably not as much the BP type of spill as the small corrosion leaks that, since it's below ground, will be hard to detect if it is too small to drop the pressure in the pipeline but enough to ruin the water table for the local farmers if not nearby towns before anyone notices it.

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jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

"Seems to me that the pipeline once it is built will reduce the net jobs used to get the bitumen to the coast."

You certainly could be correct, though maintenance crews and a larger work force at the refineries should make up for some of those losses. But then, a pipeline is the safest mode of transport, and if we're really concerned about impact it seems getting all those truckers from traveling 2000 miles round trip would be a good thing.

"Instead of creating jobs to build a pipeline, why not create jobs that will improve our country's...."

I'm all for the latter, but building or not building the pipeline has no effect on such development.

As to the corrosive aspects of the bitumen, that's for the experts doing the impact studies. I reckon President Obama will take that into consideration and if there's no way to safeguard then I'd hope the whole thing gets scrapped.

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 8 months ago

TransCanada is forcing the issue of bitumen transport by dumping so much of it into Cushing in the first place. By piping in 400,000 barrels a day down to Oklahoma, they are creating the backlog that requires a steady stream of truckers to try to relieve. Nobody is forcing them to do that.

Agreed about the pipeline and transmission line construction not being related, except if you are looking for job creation, the transmission line jobs will help the US job market better in the long haul than the pipeline--unless there is a major oil spill. Then there will be plenty of jobs to go around!

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 8 months ago

"why not create jobs that will improve our country's transmission lines"

Maybe we could hire people to cut down trees. (Joke!)

There's another way to create jobs, and that is to develop new technology. And that statement sure does remind me of a theoretical system that I read about years ago.

This will probably sound like science fiction to anyone that has not studied Electrical Engineering, but there is a very realistic possible way to transmit electricity without the use of transmission lines at all. But, it's not likely to be in use for many decades, or most likely, over a century.

The basic idea is to transmit a very powerful radio wave towards a satellite orbiting the earth. What would be transmitted upwards would be very similar to what occurs inside a microwave oven when it is in use. The transmission station would need to be very large, that is, miles across.

Of course, the satellite would have to be very large also. Its purpose would be to reflect or transmit the power back towards a receiving station on earth. Or, towards the moon, for that matter.

The receiving station would also have to be many miles across also. It would collect the electromagnetic energy and convert it back into regular electricity, which would then be transmitted using conventional transmission lines to where ever it is needed.

A very big problem is that the airspace used by such a system would most likely be unusable for air transport. Also, any wildlife flying though it would experience a heating effect, that is, they might be cooked. Exactly how bad these issues would be is a total unknown. What is known is that larger transmitting and receiving stations would lessen the effect.

Another potential problem which is an unknown is exactly how serious weather problems would cause for such a system.

But the net result of such a system would be amazing. It would allow electricity to be transmitted from the middle of Canada to South America, for instance.

It would be incredible. If there was a shortage of electrical power anywhere near one of the receiving stations, the beam could be quickly redirected there.

But, as of 2012, that is all theoretical, we have no technology to do such a thing, and it is barely within our capability to even calculate approximately how much energy would be lost by using such a system.

It has also been suggested that this method could be used to transmit electrical power to the earth from nuclear power stations located on the moon, and of course, that is the ideal location for a nuclear power station.

But for now, it's all science fiction. But it's often been said that yesterday's science fiction is today's technology. And, one culture's technology is another culture's magic.

Does anyone remember Buck Roger's wrist watch that was actually a two way radio? Our cell phones are much better than that!

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 8 months ago

Sucessful high tech solutions have often tended toward decentralized solutions: mainframes have been supplanted by microprocessors, wired communication by wireless networks are a couple of examples. While there is an economy of scale for centralized energy production like you are talking about, there is a real vulnerability and "brittleness" to a system designed around a few huge energy production sites that makes designing more modular decentralized energy production networks appealing in my mind.

What if every new housing development was able to produce much of its new energy demands by installing some combination of solar panels, wind and the like? Transmission costs would be virtually eliminated, and a smart grid could hook it into the larger network, making electrical supply more reliable for everyone.

That's the Buck Rogers vision I've been bandying about in my head....

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beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

Really? You think the Republican nomination process will run into the summer? I guess it could happen.

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beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

Glad to see you recognize it for the debacle it is. It is a shame (and strong indication of the problems within the party) that the GOP couldn't offer stronger candidates. Even if you despise him, finding just anyone "who can beat Obama" really isn't what we need. Instead, I would like to see the Republicans saying that they want to select someone they believe "is best for the nation."

"Not Obama" is not going to win, just as "not Romney" has faced such problems and likely won't win the GOP nomination.

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Mike Ford 2 years, 8 months ago

Tar sand oil puts out three times the carbon dioxide as regular oil. The damage the extraction work does is worse than strip mining and mountain top removing. The jobs are there as long as construction occurs and then then jobs are gone. How can dimwits call jobs creating by stimulus failure when the life expectency on these jobs is just as temporary....of course no one can reason with dimwits who don't read national geographic and probably don't read at all. Why reason with deniers....just beat them in an election and leave them as angry and misinformed as they sound now on the outside looking in with their crazy uninformed opinions.

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Liberty275 2 years, 8 months ago

"How can dimwits call jobs creating by stimulus failure when the life expectency on these jobs is just as temporary."

You should write the Dimwit in Chief and ask him.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 8 months ago

Do we understand what we did here? The pipeline will now go west to the Pacific. The tar sand will be developed. We have simply avoided new spills on our turf. (there already is a pipeline)..

Apparently there is a disconnect as wind and solar energy are not really alternate solutions for what we use petroleum to power (cars, industry). They, hopefully, will avoid coal fired solutions. Otherwise natural gas (we have a lot of that) will be our solution.

I hope we all feel better. Pull pistol, cock, shoot foot!

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 8 months ago

Factoid, according to me: CNG is the fuel of the future in the USA.

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 8 months ago

George, Do some research--tuschkahoma is right: the environmental wasteland being created by the wholesale mining of the Alberta tar sands area is appalling and should not be supported in any way. Folks freak out when Mexicans cross our border looking for work to ship money back home, but don't think twice about letting our neighbors to the north rape their own land, send the heated, processed muck down through the middle of our country so the big boys up north can line their pockets so we can continue to support our oil habits.

Just because asian countries have no qualms about participating in this scenario is hardly a reason for us to participate in it. Their historical track record is not exactly the one to emulate now, do you think?

And solar and wind have very little to do with oil consumption in our country, anyway, unless you're thinking of using electric cars as a substitute for gas/diesel. If we concentrated on auto/truck fuel efficiency, we could probably not even notice not using any tar sands at all, and if Detroit got on the stick, think of all of the jobs that would be created.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 8 months ago

And what do I need to research? It will happen without us. The land belongs to somebody else and they will use it as they see fit. We can be unhappy but we have no control there! I wrote the truth.

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm a bit disappointed with your attitude--I expected more from you. We're not talking about who owns the land here; we're talking about who is trying to get rich from the tar sands deposits and who is willing to invest to get it out of there, the land be damned.

First of all, we are already getting around 400,000 barrels a day of bitumen a day coming down the Kansas section of the pipeline to Cushing OK, where they are shipping it by truck as fast as they can to Gulf refineries. All this would do would be to put the truckers out of business and triple the amount that will come down the pipeline every day if they can ship it all the way to the Gulf.

Secondly, the Pacific pipeline is being fought tooth and nail by the indigenous nations in Canada, who are understandably suspicious about a pipeline and port that would be built to ship it to asia. Here are a couple of articles of interest: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/17/businesspro-us-enbridge-gateway-idUSTRE71G1GV20110217

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/10/us-enbridge-gateway-idUSTRE80926Y20120110

One of the concerns of indigenous tribes along the coast is based on their long memory of the coastal tsunamis that occur due to the active faults that exist off the coast that are similar in distance and magnitude as the Japanese faults, which could create an environmental disaster, as you might well imagine.

Finally, the Canadian government has not only provided passive oversight of the international buyouts going on under its nose, it has actively supported its practically unbridled development to the extent that they have actively campaigned in the US to lower environmental standards in our country so their dirty bitumen could be used in our refineries and burned in our vehicles. Here's a link: http://www.ienearth.org/docs/can-tar-sands-long-shadow.pdf

Now. what is your excuse?

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jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

" the environmental wasteland being created by the wholesale mining of the Alberta tar sands area is appalling and should not be supported in any way."

Isn't it a little naive to think any lack of "support" change anything? If a nation wants to "rape their own land", they're going to do it. Particularly when it means fuel and billions of dollars. And our "oil habits" will be supported until the oil runs dry, count on it.
I'd love natural, cleaner energy production. But oil consumption ain't going away any time soon.

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

Nebraska government also opposed the pipeline route over extremely sensitive habitat and the water supply for Nebraska. Nebraska government is basically Brownback-lite. In fact a special session of the unicameral was called last fall to deal with Keystone.

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jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Sorry, but that's not a fact, it's an opinion.

Forced by Republicans into making a quick decision, he made the only responsible decision he could have, given the circumstances.

That's my opinion.

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jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

"Months" as you use it is not a sufficient amount of time to make a decision to allow this pipeline, given what I've read about the route, and other assorted issues.

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 8 months ago

Surely he'll have sufficient time and sufficient information to make a decision by mid November. Actually, I'm not a big supporter of our continued use of fossil fuels and I would rather the government make an investment in alternate renewable energies. But just say so. Be honest. All this "blame the other party" by both major parties is an insult to the intelligence of the voter. Then again, reviewing the actions of the voters, maybe our collective intelligence is worthy of insult. Or maybe I just rolled out of bed on the wrong side and I should just keep my thoughts to myself.

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jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I have no idea whether or not that's true.

When will TC show their new route for examination? When will any necessary environmental studies of it be completed?

Is it possible that Obama wanted to delay the decision until after the election because he thinks it will help him be re-elected? Sure.

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

Given that a new route will need to be determined, (although I assume they already had a plan B route) it will need a new EIS. Hopefully this one can be done by impartial experts like engineers, geologists, and environmental biologists, not a consulting firm hired by TransCanada. That takes time, including mandatory public comment periods. It is unlikely that completion prior to the election will occur.

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 8 months ago

Forced into making a quick decision? Maybe we should all take a page out of the SLT debate and carefully weight the merits of both sides. That way my grandchildren's grandchildren will make the wisest decision, given all known facts. In my opinion.

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jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

Given the ways in which we've managed to mess up things by making quick decisions, I prefer to take some time.

The Republicans forced this decision to be made more quickly than Obama wanted to do, as part of some other compromise bills.

He made the decision within their timeline - they're just not happy with the decision he made.

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jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I submit that every one of your criticisms of the president applies to each and every politician in Washington.

They all "pander" to their voting base. They all make decisions based on political advantage. Etc.

You don't think it was politically driven for the Republicans to force this decision before the next election, knowing that either way he decided would bother some of his likely constituents?

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 8 months ago

Why do you keep overlooking the fact that the alternate route has not even been submitted by TransCanada? How can you make a decision on the current pipeline when the route of the pipeline hasn't even been released with less than a month to go before the deadline imposed by the Republicans???

The Republicans wanted Obama to do this for the political mileage they could try to get out of it. Either that, or they're just plain stupid to put the deadline before the plan is submitted. You pick which of these two reasons--matters not to me.

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purplesage 2 years, 8 months ago

I suggest that all of y'all who are so opposed to the pipeline turn off your fossil fuel furnaces and quit driving automobiles. Otherwise, you can't continue to complain about efforts at exploration or transportation of oil and gas to the places where it is used.

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

Transcanada intends to ell their oil to the highest bidder. Since it is their oil, they surely can do that. The pipeline is also intended to relieve a glut of stored oil in the midwest so that they can manipulate the oil market and raise prices. While it would be unpleasant to live without oil energy, it certainly is possible. It is not possible to live without water, breathable air, and food.

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beatrice 2 years, 8 months ago

The proper term is "all y'all". "All of y'all" sounds like something a yankee would say.

It isn't the efforts to export oil and oil products that people are complaining about here. Rather it is the specific case people are objecting to. Is getting the oil to Texas (so it can be processed and then shipped to China anyway) really more important than making sure it won't harm our natural resources, including our nation's drinking water? Do we really want to put our aquifers at risk so China can have lower priced gasoline?

If it is to help America and American reliance on Saudi oil, why aren't they proposing building a refinery in Detroit and do away with the need for the pipeline in the first place. Ever stop to ask that one?

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

It is not the responsibility of the citizens of the U.S to make up for Big Oil's failure to plan ahead and build any new refineries since 1976.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 8 months ago

Maybe Big Oil didn't build new refineries because if they did, the prices for their product would fall. Then, their profits would decrease.

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camper 2 years, 8 months ago

Here are some more reasons to not encourage the use of oil derived from tar sands:

a) Natural gas is needed (depending on the depth of the bitumen) to generate steam in order to warm it up enough to extract. For every three barrels of oil derived, the equivalent of one is used in extraction. Using a cleaner fuel such as natural gas to produce a dirtier crude makes no sense. Furthermore, natural gas must be piped in (from a different pipeline alltogether!) to achieve this mining of tar sand.

b) For every barrel of oil refined from Alberta's tar sands, four tons of dirt, rock, and bitumen must be dug up in the process. At current production levels, this is enough waste to fill Yankee stadium every two days.

c) Canadian communities near the mining areas are afflicted with high rates of debilitating illnesses such as rare cancers, lupus, lymphomas, leukemia, and autoimmune diseases. In the formerly pristine region of Fort Chipewayne and Fort McMurray Alberta, fresh water can no longer be used. It must come from a treatment plant. The once blue river in the area can no longer be fished. It is now brown. There is an oily scum that floats on top of your glass if you still drink the water.

d) Mining tar sands is also water intensive! Twice as much is used for this oil than the residents of Alberta Canada use in a single year. The water use also creates other problems because it drains the Canadian aquifer, the wastewater resulting from the mining must be cleaned via water treatment if it is treated at all. Much of the wastewater is diverted to poisonus tailings ponds.

All of the above was paraphrased or taken directly from the following book "Coming Clean: Breaking America's Addiction to Oil and Coal", Michael Brune. It provides much awareness to the actual effects of our energy usage....something we don't often think about when we fill up at the pump. The time is now to start introducing cleaner energy infrastructure systems for the future. Going to tar sand is a step backward!

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jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I have to say I'm a bit disappointed in Canada here - I thought they took better care of the environment and made better decisions than these.

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camper 2 years, 8 months ago

Good point. Because it is in upper NE Alberta, perhaps the Canadians believe it is far enough away. Maybe Canada has it's own unique set of lobbyists who have pull....just like here in the US.

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 8 months ago

You are entirely correct. Check out the resources I gave George further up the line of comments to see more details.

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camper 2 years, 8 months ago

Thanks DougCounty. I also found some more information regarding the pollution externalites (impact) in Canada. You can get there if you google Chipewayn Alberta. I don't think we should be encouraging this type of crude in any shape or form.

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camper 2 years, 8 months ago

And other reason. Apparently, the Obama administration's decision drew criticism from the Canadian Prime Minister. I don't know about anyone else, but this irritates me a little. Since when does Canada pressure the United States? To take the risk a spill will would cause?

I would be happy when the decision is finalized, that we say to Canada "No Thanks". A few thousand temporary construction jobs does not comensate for the long-term risk the US would inherit.

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deec 2 years, 8 months ago

Along the same lines, TransCanada has been threatening to use, and I think has used,eminent domain and/or condemnation against reluctant landowners for both pipelines. A foreign private corporation is using U.S. law to force property owners to grant rights of way.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 8 months ago

Hey, Germany, how's the solar energy thing coming along? "...Solar energy has the potential to become the most expensive mistake in German environmental policy..." Read all about it at http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,809439,00.html

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camper 2 years, 8 months ago

From Wikipedia snap:

There are several solar power plants in the Mojave Desert which supply power to the electricity grid. Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) is the name given to nine solar power plants in the Mojave Desert which were built in the 1980s. These plants have a combined capacity of 354 megawatts (MW) making them the largest solar power installation in the world.[1] Nevada Solar One is a solar thermal plant with a 64 MW generating capacity, located near Boulder City, Nevada.[2] The Copper Mountain Solar Facility is a 48 MW photovoltaic power plant in Boulder City, Nevada.[3]

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camper 2 years, 8 months ago

The solar power plants in the mojave desert, to my knowledge, actually use mirror systems to concentrate sun rays and direct it to create steam. It is like the experiment we used to do as kids with a magnifying glass. I think 354 megawatts is the equivalent of a mid-size coal powered plant. There is promise.

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Mike Ford 2 years, 8 months ago

camper, the canadian leader is a conservative. so much so that the bush label was used as an albatross to slander the guy with in recent elections. steven harper is his name I think. The cannucks can accurately blame bush but the tealicans here have amnesia and blame the leader who inherited the bush mess because they know no better and have racist tendencies. that part of canada is in the hillbilly belt of canada. rednecks and tribes on the prairie except in places like wennipeg, saskatoon, regina, and calgary. money speaks and common sense walks there.

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jayhawklawrence 2 years, 8 months ago

I read that sometime in the future we will need to build fresh water pipelines from Canada because they have a large surplus of fresh water.

If we want to create jobs from building large piplelines we only need to wait a few years because our reservoirs and our rivers are drying up and cities in places like Nevada, Arizona and Southern California to name a few are going to be in dire straits.

Canceling this pipeline for further study is not a big deal at all. In the larger perspective, this is about the size of a pimple compared to the problems our kids are going to face very soon.

We may not be able to find the lying and stealing politicians to blame in about 20 years from now, but we will want to pee on their graves.

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camper 2 years, 8 months ago

I think that future generations might very well despise us for our lack of foresight on conservation and environmental protection issues. We may be handing them a terrible mess.

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jafs 2 years, 8 months ago

I think there's little doubt on that point.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 8 months ago

DougCounty (anonymous) replies… I'm a bit disappointed with your attitude--

Moderate Responds.

You seem to be very loaded against my comments. I did not support doing this I observed it is being done in another country and that our actions are unlikely to change what is being done.

In my youth I spent time up there and am very much aware of the fragile environment just not from a book - from people who live there/

Our northern neighbors are not known for being insensitive. If they think they can manage it are we being "ugly" Americans messing with them. After all they can run the pipeline to their west coast and even build refineries there. Would that not be an environmental disaster?

Is there a compromise anywhere here before we get an uncontrolled outcome?

My "shoot foot" comment referenced the authors tie to renewable energy which IMHO is not directly related to this debate. Renewables are not the answer to everything - at least not yet

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 8 months ago

If I seem "loaded against (your) comments" it's because my expectations of you are so high! The links I provided you were so that you could see that

1) Canada's tar sands are being sold to the highest bidder and there is an active Canadian and Indigenous Nations opposition movement that is strongly opposed to both the Pacific and US pipeline expansion projects. Public opposition in our country due to the reasons listed by camper and others above not only may slow/stop the Keystone XL project; it could also hamper the Pacific pipeline. Neither project is inevitable.

2) Hard lobbying from the north has not only built the pipeline through Kansas, it has also managed to get our environmental standards lowered so we can burn a dirtier fuel than would otherwise have been the case. If Canada can affect our laws, surely we can put pressure on them to stop this massive sellout.

These are two areas where your/our actions can make a very big difference in what is being done, and all I was doing was pointing that out to you with my additional research, which you stated was not necessary. Sorry if I offended--I figured that you would be interested in the whole picutre. These types of forums can be unintentionally inflammatory and there was no intention to do so from my end.

Finally, I agree that renewables are not the answer to everything--that's exactly what I said in my comment to you. I then went on ahead and said: "If we concentrated on auto/truck fuel efficiency, we could probably not even notice not using any tar sands at all, and if Detroit got on the stick, think of all of the jobs that would be created."

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George Lippencott 2 years, 8 months ago

What are we arguing about? From past experience the northern territories (I think there is a new name now) are controlled by the central government. Should we not be lobbying the central government for redress? Business is there to make money and unitl we change the laws with respect to investors that will continue. Governments must provide the policing mechanism as they try to do here. Why is the goverrnment there not receptive to shuting it down?

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 8 months ago

The tar sands are not in the territories--they are primarily in Alberta and a little bit in Saskatchewan. If you look up Athabascan oil sands on Wikipedia, you'll find a pretty good summary of the collusion between foreign oil companies who own a majority stake in the tar sands, the provincial government, which is the landowner and has giveaway royalty rates, and the central government, which has allowed 100% write-offs for companies to extract the tar sands.

The public input was so paltry in all this process that a "multistakeholder committee" (msc) was put together in 2006 to address the issue. Unfortunately, the 2007 recommendations by the msc were lauded and completely ignored and nothing has come of those recommendations.

So why are the provinces and central government so passive? I'm sure that they've been bought off quite effectively, don't you think? It sure would be nice for the US to put some pressure on the Canadian government to do a better job, but with us chomping at the bit for a piece of the action, I don't think we've done much better on this whole thing. So that's where you and me come in!

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George Lippencott 2 years, 8 months ago

Do you really think that us putting pressure would be positively received by the majority of Canadians? Perhaps this is an issue best left to the people of Canada when they next go to the polls??

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 8 months ago

A CBS Poll on Sept. 27 showed that 50% of Canadians thought that the risks outweighed any benefits for extracting the tar sands.

A January 9, 2012 poll showed that 75% of British Columbia citizens had real concerns about US and Chinese investments in the tar sands and the loss of control of Canadian natural resources.

Seems to me that showing some solidarity with the average citizen would be quite positively received by the majority of Canadians. Considering that the process has excluded them so far (see the history of the mcs I talk about earlier) should create a backlash at the polls, and the best thing we can do is give Canadian citizens time to organize, just like a delay on the Keystone decision will give US citizens a chance too.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 8 months ago

Well you have thought this through. We shall see how the polls turn.

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jayhawxrok 2 years, 8 months ago

The pipeline would not have done any of the miraculous things the Big Oil liars claim but we can count on all the faux snooze parrots to repeat their claims ad nauseum.

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 8 months ago

That was the talking point of the day?

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 8 months ago

In other pipeline news, Warren Buffett makes even more money from the decision of his good buddy. http://hotair.com/archives/2012/01/24/at-least-somebody-benefited-from-obamas-no-on-keystone-xl/

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