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View Diary: Keystone XL: Cynicism on the Potomac (42 comments)

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  •  Realpolitik (1+ / 0-)
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    Roger Fox

    I am sorry, but this idea that Keystone should be rejected because it is "dirty" doesn't solve the following issues...
    1. If the US rejects it, how will this stop the Oilsands and its destruction it causes? It won't. China will accept it if we don't... the environmentalists conveniently leave that out... so how will China buying this oil stop the CO2 imprint? They don't care. By the US approving the pipeline, it can at least have some control over that oil, dirty or not.
    2. Environmentalists also don't address the fact that if rejected, China will build the pipeline to the west coast of Canada... and supertankers will be plying the West Coast.. in the winter, during major storms. One accident and the west coast will be  awash in oil...from Alaska to Oregon or California. Thats better then a pipeline break in the midwest? Think Prince William Sound, exponentially.
    3. The West Coast of BC and Washington is overdue for its 9 magnitude earthquake....and ensuing tsunami. Do you think 50 supertankers getting rolled into the coast will be nice? If the pipeline is rejected, that is a real possibiltiy.. and the US has no say in those tankers....whats worse.. tanker bombs or a pipeline that can be shut off in case of a leak?
    4. In my opinion, Obama should approve the pipeline, with conditions... a carbon tax on all oil piped thru it,make Canada follow US energy policy ( HArper has already said Canada will adopt US policies)  and make it contingent that the oil companies built out sloar and wind farms to off set the "dirty factor". By doing this, he can bypass the dysfunctional Congress and fund his green transition without congressional approval. He can also rationalize it because they have tax loopholes that the REpublicans refuse to cancel. So make them built out green infrastructure as a condition of the approval. They have no choice. Their only other option is to start over trying to get a pipeline thru to the west coast.... ( with Harper in power in Canada, it will happen.. see 1-4 above if that happens.
    Canada will sell that oil to someone, so the argument that its "dirty" and the US needs to wean itself from fossil fuels means nothing.. the damage is going to be done. Its better to have some say in the whole mess, then to just surrender it to other nations who will use it with no regard whatsoever. Canada is a sovereign nation. If the US rejects Keystone, that oil is still going to be harvested and sold.. its better to approve it and make the sinner ( the oil sands) pay to build out US green infrastructure. ( in my opinion.
    Again, its nice for the US to reject it because its not clean and make a nice moral argument.. but thats not going to stop that oil from being harvested and burned in power plants around the world. Make the oil companies fund the green conversion, and bypass Congress while doing it, and say this is the last pipeline to be approved.

    •  other items (0+ / 0-)

      I forgot to mention that the environmental groups are not talking about:
      1. Trinity Industries, a rail car maker, is backlogged until 2017 ( as are other companies) for oil cars, because the railroads will shit that gunk south on rail cars if the pipeline is not approved.... trains derail more often then pipe lines break... and usually over a creek.
      2. Water pipeline.... burn the bridge with Canada over their main resource and national income source, and see how benevolent they reciprocate when the SW of the US is dry as a bone because the aquifers have been pumped dry, and they need water from Canada ( the most fresh water in the world) The Great Lakes are controlled by both, so the US just cant drop straws into it to feed the parched south because of climate change.
      3. Pollution from China will effect the ice caps just as much as it will from the US....if CHina gets that oil, think Beijing times hundreds of CHinese cities... the US would still suffer. but with no control.
      No one has addressed the above in the march to stop the pipeline....and they are major factors to consider.

      •  PNW is not "overdue" for a M9 (1+ / 0-)
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        JesseCW

        The average return period has not been reached yet. Moreover, the return period may be much longer than average.

        The idea that anyplace is "overdue" for an earthquake is nonsense.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 07:06:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  sorry to rain on the earthburner propaganda (12+ / 0-)

      but
      1.China has no authority to build that pipeline through western canada, short of invasion, and that pipeline can be fought and stopped also. However, that fact becomes moot if Keystone XL goes through.

      Stopping XL can reduce the amount of tar sands bitumen that can be mined.  Thus, it will render the operation less profitable, slowing the emissions that result from it.  Similarly, rail transport is more expensive and can cause the financial guys to kill it.  The key is to drive up costs enough that it becomes unprofitable.  In capital intensive industries, delay can mean death of projects.  When there's a fast moving political reality, a little delay can kill it permanently.

      2. See #1 above

      3. See #1 above

      4. As a matter of law, Obama has no authority to impose such a tax or tariff.  THat would be the province of Congress.  He is authorized to approve or deny it, or possibly impose mitigation measres for environmental effects.  Unilateral imposition of fees isn't in his authority here.

      5.  Canada isn't selling the oil.  An oil company is.  Thus, targeting the profitability and slowing the development of the tar sands is a very important point of this effort.  What people with limited grasp of energy economics don't understand is that this is not an all or nothing game.  A delaying tactic can eventually win victory by a death of a thousand cuts.  It is war of which this is but one battle, but a disastrous one to lose.  

      IN particular, this is not necessarily true:

      If the US rejects Keystone, that oil is still going to be harvested and sold.
      6. Reducing supply is key to raising prices and raising efficiency.  There is absolutely no rational policy basis for facilitating bringing this oil to market.  We can burn a limited amount of fossil fuels, which ought to prioritize the least polluting sources first.

      7. The notion of trotting out a non-existing and likely infeasible water pipeline is utterly unrealistic in any event, since no such pipeline exists or is feasibly available.  In any event, I am not sure that huge majorities of Canadians wish to see the planet die to make oil companies profitable.  I'm even more sure the won'tl feel that way in ten years when conditions get worse.  SO, this is an red herring.

      Finally, these have been considered and refuted repeatedly, but not so much that the denial industry cannot successfully muddy the waters with falsehoods.

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:44:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Beautiful rebuttal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JekyllnHyde

        Thank you.

        Gitmo is a Concentration Camp. Not a Detention Center. Torture happens at Concentration Camps. Torture happens at Gitmo. How much further will US values fall? Where is YOUR outrage at what the United States does in OUR names?

        by snoopydawg on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 08:18:41 PM PST

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      •  China has no authority (0+ / 0-)

        to build one... your 100% right.... but they just bought Nexen oil company, and will certainly back one.. with lots of $$. That oil WILL find its way .. even to the US... on train cars... which DO NOT require approval... so the oil will be harvested, whether the US approves the pipeline or not.. how does that reduce emmision?
        YOu talk about "stopping" the production. The US can't stop anything.. its Canada, not the US.
        Obama can use the EPA to impose regulations, like he is doing for the coal plants....he can require companies to build out solar and wind to offset the the dirty factor.. so he does have leeway.
        Kinder Morgan already has a pipeline to Vancouver... without the pipeline, more and more tankers will be traveling thru the Salish Sea, with accidents just waiting to happen.
        As for the comment about the "overdue earthquake". Its a fact. The Pacific NW is overdue. Look at what happened in Indonesia....imagine if oil tankers were part of that equation.
        Stopping the pipeline in no way stops the production of the oil sands....they will ship it on trucks rails and boats.
        "Utterly realistic" about water pipelines? Really? What planet are you living on? Don't you see the SW is drying up? Where do you think the millions of people will get their water from? Talk about unrealistic.. or perhaps living in a bubble....? Give it 10 years and get back to me on that one...Water will be the new oil...
        PS.. I live in Canada. Ask any Canadian about shipping water to the US... whether they are Green, NDP, Liberal or Tory... they pretty much have one answer. As for the pipeline, they are split right down the middle. Do you really think one pipeline denial will stop theoil companies from harvesting the oilsands? Whats worse... fracking the entire US and polluting the water supplies, or building a pipeline ... its all bad... its the western lifestyle and our ways. People will not change, nor will governments to the extent that is required to stop what has happened to the planet. Stopping that pipeline has no effect on China or India. Mother Nature always bats last, and will do so with humans-just another overpopukated species. The pipeline is a pretty moot argument actually.  a drop in the bucket to a situation that is so severe that nothing will counter it. Humans and economies have pushed the edge to the point of no return. Overpopulation is the real issue, which no one wants to talk about. The planet can't sustain 7 billion people with lifestyles that you or I have. Most people here have 2 cars, a house way larger then they need, fly off to see relatives or friends a few times a year. Those are the things that need changing. Change those, and the pipeline isnt needed..But no one will... including 99% of those posting here.

        •  TOo bad you didn't number those (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias

          You arguments about China are a little unspecific full of unrealistic assumptions and over simplifications.  Much of your argument boils down to this:

          That oil WILL find its way
          and
          Stopping the pipeline in no way stops the production of the oil sands....they will ship it on trucks rails and boats.
          Yes, CHina owns an oil company.  THat does not mean that defeat is inevitable.  Under your logic, no action would be worthwhile.  Absent more specific and credible discussion that takes into account the limited access points and political realities (such as the need for First Nation approval) this is just pie in the sky talk.   This notion completely ignores the reality of project development.
          That oil WILL find its way .. even to the US... on train cars... which DO NOT require approval... so the oil will be harvested, whether the US approves the pipeline or not.. how does that reduce emmision?
          Again, this is a vast oversimplification that ignores the actual realities here.  First, shipping hazardous substances by rail DOES require approvals, particularly at the volumes required.  Matching the flows of XL by rail would a) require a massive volume b) require significant investment in infrastructure and c) would be more expensive to ship even after.  again, the basics of project economics show clearly that delaying a project and making it more expensive makes it more likely to be uneconomical and reduces the rate at which it is exploited.  Here, we could substantially slow the exploitation, even if it isn't halted.
          Obama can use the EPA to impose regulations, like he is doing for the coal plants....he can require companies to build out solar and wind to offset the the dirty factor.. so he does have leeway.
          Obama has leeway where authorized by Congress.  Here, these actions are taken under the authority under the Clean Air Act.  IT does not include authority to regulate this pipeline as it is not a stationary source, much less to impose taxes (did I mention I am an environmental lawyer?).
          Kinder Morgan already has a pipeline to Vancouver... without the pipeline, more and more tankers will be traveling thru the Salish Sea, with accidents just waiting to happen.
          As for the comment about the "overdue earthquake". Its a fact. The Pacific NW is overdue. Look at what happened in Indonesia....imagine if oil tankers were part of that equation.
          Yes, a major earthquake is due in the next couple of hundred years.  However, if there's no pipeline, there are no tankers.  It's a point, but not a very relevant one.
          "Utterly realistic" about water pipelines? Really? What planet are you living on? Don't you see the SW is drying up? Where do you think the millions of people will get their water from? Talk about unrealistic.. or perhaps living in a bubble....? Give it 10 years and get back to me on that one...Water will be the new oil...
          I live in the west, so I know about our water issues.  HOwever, there is no current proposal of any kind for such a pipeline, nor will there be unless the Pacific NOrthwest dries up.  THis is so unbelievably speculative, it's barely worth rebuilding.  Besides in ten years, even boneheaded Canadians will recognize that climate change science is real and majority opinion will thank environmentalists for blocking the XL in the teeth of opposition.  THey'll give us the water out of gratitude. (o.k., that was snark)

          And here's the kicker:

          Do you really think one pipeline denial will stop the oil companies from harvesting the oilsands?
          No, I don't, and I don't think anyone does.  Stopping many pipelines and blocking rail, and engaging in shareholder actions, boycotts, divestment campaigns, lawsuits, and the like.  THAT will stop it.

          Lose the pipeline battle, and the tar sands war is lost.  Win it, and we stand a chance

          As for the rest, mother nature does bat last, but she has help, and we're NOT going to stop fighting against the doomers and earthburners who want to find any excuse to wipe out human civilization for a quick buck.

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 08:20:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Under your logic, no action would be worthwhile" (0+ / 0-)

            Those are your words, not mine. I just think the energy you are expending on that doesn't address all the things that will result from no pipeline. China will buy it and burn it, with no restrcitions, creating a larger dirty footprint then the US...tankers will end up on the west coast which I feel are more of a threat then the pipeline.
            Ironically, the best thing to stop the pipeline would be a major depression, as oil prices will plummet making the oil sands less profitable or make them operate at a loss.
            Given the sequestration and the debt ceiling, we may very well be headed for one. Life sometimes takes us places we never think we will be...while giving us the solutions we seek. It will also simplfy the lifestyles we can't voluntary give up by free choice but are required to to live on the planet more sustainably..
            The best thing people can do is learn to grow their own food. Just imagine how much fuel it takes to ship food items hundreds or thousands of miles across the country when people can grow or support locally. Thats where I put my energy. Reduce the need for the oil, and the oil sands will dry up themselves. Even container gardening in the city, multiplied by millions or people, can have a massive effect on oil reduction. But most people food think comes from a grocery store.  My action is growing as much of my own food as I can. Reducing my own footprint.

            •  great is the power (0+ / 0-)

              of steady misrepresentation.  I've refuted your claims that because oil companies are powerful and rich, resistance is futile (it will be developed anyway) now several times.  I'd recommend learning more about the actual issues involved and the parameters of what is a very complex issue.  

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 05:47:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  surreal utter bullshit (4+ / 0-)

      Right. Out the mouth of exxon

      We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear. Robert Louis Stevenson

      by Christin on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 06:52:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mixed and matched facts (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, snoopydawg, FishOutofWater

      Keystone will enable super tanker transport of light sweet syncrude to Western EU. This syncrude matches the EU refineries which are set up for light sweet crude with no cat cracker capacity to speak of.

      Photobucket

      Trans Mountain, Enbridge, Morgan Kinder etc will enable super tanker transport to Asia.

      China will not build any pipeline to the Pacific coast of BC.

      The first pipeline to the Pacific coast of BC was built in 1953.............

      Photobucket

      ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 07:16:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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