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Please begin with an informative title:

Do not mistake the Tar Sands Partners for political neophytes, they are politically savvy and from all appearances are planning for all contingencies. They are conducting a 3 front campaign to deliver tar sands oil to the Pacific, the Atlantic, and to the Gulf coast. From there supertankers will take to oil to markets in Western Europe and Asia. Remember that at $10 a gallon, a worker is Asia can afford to spend $20 to fill the tank of a scooter to drive to work for the week. Our suburban sprawl makes that impossible for many Americans.

The Keystone XL proposal heads south to the Gulf of Mexico, the Western routes to the Pacific are the Trans Mountain and Enbridge proposals, and the proposed route from Alberta to Portland Maine. Formerly called the Trailbreaker, a pipeline proposal dating from 2009, was put on hold due to the economic downturn. Now Enbridge has resurrected the Trailbreaker proposal and in November of 2012 Enbridge filed the Applications to reverse the flow on the line 9B pipeline, and an expansion of line 9. The 9B and B pipelines may be the most limiting factor with a limit of 150k to 200k bpd. The Portland Montreal pipeline was opened in 1941 and has a 600k bpd capacity. Not exactly Keystone East, but the system is old and should be considered a short term solution.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Meanwhile the title of Keystone East should go to this proposal, the 850k bpd Energy East pipeline. Sunny Freeman at HuffPo covered this proposal just 2 weeks ago. The Energy East would move tar sands oil from Alberta to the coast of New Brunswick, Canada. Using an existing natural gas pipeline that must be converted to oil, existing oil pipelines and building new pipelines to connect all the pieces, Energy East would be able to deliver 850,000 barrels a day to a New Brunswick port on the Atlantic. Before we explore the Why? Lets explore some background.

Powering the Tar Sands

Among the myriad pipeline proposals are the natural gas pipelines needed to power the Tar Sands extraction. In September 2011, I wrote about the quantities of nat gas required over the life of the Tar Sands project, it roughly equals the known conventional reserves of Canada and Alaska.

Now realistically these numbers I am throwing out are back of the envelope, and recovery techniques will undoubtedly improve over time. But even the Wiki article on the Tar Sands suggests that Canada would limit or halt nat gas exports to the US in favor of tar sands production.
Alaskan nat gas is largely unexploited, and is used locally on the North Slope. Its estimated that there are 57 trillion cubic feet of nat gas reserves that can be found in Alaska, a lot of it in the North Slope area. There are at least 3 major proposals for nat gas pipelines from the North Slope area and the adjacent Mackenzie River Delta in Canada. Two of these projects point right at Alberta.

1) The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline has had many lives since first proposed in the 1970's and would move nat gas from offshore production in the Beaufort Sea to Alberta. In the map on the left, the Mackenzie River route is in purple, and the Alaskan route is in orange.

2) TransCanada and Exxon Mobil are partnered in the Alaska gas pipeline proposal that will directly link nat gas production in the North Slope of ALaska thru Alberta to the US mid west. This project may be the same as the Denali proposal, and was reintroduced to the Senate in Feb, of 2011. There also at least 2 variations.

Dempster lateral,natural gas pipeline,hiway route,Mackenzie River route
The map above shows the how the Dempster Lateral route connects the Mackenzie and Alaskan routes.

Alaskan pipeline natural gas
Two options to the "Alaskan Route". Getting nat gas to a seaside terminal opens the possibility of shipping LNG to international customers.

3) A project that follows the TAP, Trans Alaskan Pipeline,putting a nat gas pipeline next to the Alaskan oil pipeline, from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. This project would allow Alaskan nat gas to be moved to international markets, by-passing the Tar Sands project. See map below:

natural gas pipeline,TAP

Alaska,natural gas pipeline,hiway route,Mackenzie River route
Aerial view of the Mackenzie River Delta, showing off the natural pristine beauty of the area.

Getting Tar Sands oil to the Pacific:

Its now clear the Enbridge pipeline proposal is not going thru Yinka Dene land, that idea is DOA. A reroute around the Yinka Dene land may be forthcoming, but the additional length would add significant cost . A reroute to the north doesn't seem practical (See map to right, yellow dashed line), and I have found no indication that Enbridge is considering this route. What Enbridge does appear to be looking at, is bypassing the Yinka Dene Alliance lands with a southern route that utilizes the oldest Tar Sands pipeline opened in 1953, the Trans Mountain/Morgan Kinder. This pipeline is in the process of being doubled up, this would add an additional 500k BPD to the existing 300k BPD capacity that is delivered to Burnaby near Vancouver. The plan is to branch off the Morgan Kinder and head north to Kittimat. While this route avoids the Yinka Dene lands, it goes thru the First Nations lands, and for more than a few years has met great resistance. If the Tar Sands Partners fail to add west bound pipeline capacity, this greatly hampers their ability to get oil to the Asian markets in any significant quantity.

 photo kitimatmap.jpg

The 3 Front Battle:
Hundreds of years ago Generals thought of their opponents forces as the left flank, the center, and the right flank. The Tar Sands campaign holds similar to this tenet, they have a western flank, a center, and an eastern flank.

The Tar Sands Partners have met great resistance in the west and more recently have faced increasing pressure in their center, they now have dusted off the Portland proposal and appear to be maneuvering to the east. Throw in Energy East: Are they yielding the western front, or even the Central front? And retreating to the east to regroup? Lets examine some conjecture and see what scenarios that develop.

1) The Tar Sands Partners know KXL & western routes are in trouble.
Rail car and barge transport are only temporary reprieves, we must have more pipeline capacity or shut down further expansion of production. We know that the KXL and western routes are DOA and we have to revive the Trailbreaker proposal and the Energy East proposal to compensate for the loss of KXL and the western routes.

2) The Western routes are in trouble.
We need to buy time to work out issues with those Indians, bribe a politician or an Indian. In the mean time lets dazzle them with our footwork and dust off the old Trailbreaker proposal. This will relieve pressure on the KXL. And we will distract them even further with the Energy East route.

3) We know KXL will be approved: Time to double down.
KXL gives us 900kbpd of pipeline capacity, the western routes can give us a 1.4 million bpd of capacity, and the Portland route adds 200k bpd, while Energy East pipeline will add 850k bpd. All told thats 3.45 million barrels a day of oil we can sell to International markets via these pipelines.

The apparent stalemate on the western routes suggests that this is a stalled front. When considering the newer eastern proposals, they appear to be a reaction to pressure on the western routes and the KXL. As to how this all plays out, we shall see. The Tar Sands are land locked, if the Tar Sands Partners want to export the majority of the proposed 8 million bpd of tar sands production, then their goal will be to build 8 million bpd of pipeline capacity. So far they have only shown us half the cards in their hand. Game on.

Suggested additional Reading:
Dirty Dozen
Suez Canal is a supertanker choke point
Anti Trailbreaker on Facebook
Occupy the Portland Montreal pipeline on facebook
Keep the Pressure Up Against Kinder Morgan's Tar Sands Pipeline on facebook
Inside Climate News:The Tar Sands Pipeline Boom
Chronicling oil spills @ Root Force.

#NOKXL Blogathon: April 12 - April 22, 2013

860,000 Comments Submitted!

As of today, around 860,000 comments have been submitted so far and forwarded by our coalition partners to the United States Department of State.  Please help us reach and, even, exceed our goal of one million comments opposing this pipeline.  

The deadline for submission of public comments is April 22, 2013.

You Can Make a Difference

On March 1, 2013, the United States State Department released a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Presidential Permit application for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.  The SEIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts. The purpose of this campaign is to obtain one million public comments in opposition to building this environmentally-destructive pipeline.  We hope that this blogathon will make submission of public comments easier.

This effort is being coordinated with Bill McKibben of 350.org and in coalition with the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil Change International, and Bold Nebraska.  

A victim of the recent tar sands oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, this bird says it all.  
Photograph being used with permission from Fast For The Earth.

We have an exciting line up of prominent lawmakers, environmental activists, and Daily Kos diarists.  Each one of them will be posting a diary in opposition to the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline. Some guests will be including a brief "sample comment" that readers can copy and submit at the State Department website.  The diaries and "sample comments" can be used as your comments! Readers who have specialized knowledge and skills relating to the pipeline, tar sands, climate change, or the petroleum industry may, of course, choose to create their own comments with additional details.  

Comments written by you are reviewed by our government with no media filter.  Three of our coalition partners will keep track of the number of comments submitted to the U.S. Department of State.

Please submit your comments through one of the below links:

  • "A Million Comments Against Keystone XL" - 350.org will deliver your comments directly to the State Department and has a system set up so that you can customize your comment.
  • "Tell President Obama: Reject Keystone XL!" - Sierra Club has a sample public comment that allows you to personalize your message.
  • "Tell the State Department: #NoKXL" - Oil Change International has a very helpful template to formulate your comments.
Let your voice be heard.  Our Daily Kos community organizers are Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, boatsie, rb137, JekyllnHyde, Onomastic, citisven, peregrine kate, DWG, and John Crapper, with Meteor Blades as the group's adviser.

Diary Schedule - All Times Pacific

More helpful details are in this diary - DK Blogathon Hosts Eco Coalition in #NOKXL Public Comment Campaign by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse.  Use hashtag #NOKXL to tweet all diaries posted during this blogathon.

  • Friday, April 12

1:00 pm: #NOKXL Blogathon: Your voice on the Keystone XL pipeline matters by DWG.
3:00 pm: Daniel Kessler, Media Campaigner for 350.org. (will be rescheduled)

  • Saturday, April 13

11:00 am: Keystone XL: a pipeline THROUGH the US, not to it by dturnbull, Campaigns Director of Oil Change International.
1:00 pm: #NOKXL: Dilbit in the Pipeline by Agathena.

  • Sunday, April 14

11:00 am: Keystone XL: Wildlife in the Crosshairs by Target Global Warming, Peter LaFontaine is the Energy Policy Advocate for the National Wildlife Federation.
1:00 pm: #NoKXL: The Future Is In Our Hands; Say No To The XL Pipeline Disaster by beach babe in fl.
3:00 pm: #NoKXL: Guess What's NOT in POTUS' Budget! (Rhymes with Shnipeline) by ericlewis0.

  • Monday, April 15

Note: All diaries for this day were rescheduled due to the Boston Marathon bombings.

  • Tuesday, April 16

8:00 am: KXL will carry as much carbon as all the cars on the West Coast, plus Michigan, NY, and Florida. by Bill McKibben, Founder of 350.org.
12:00 pm: #NoKXL: InsideClimate News Wins Pulitzer for Coverage of Kalamazoo River Dilbit Spill in 2010 by peregrine kate.
2:00 pm: Reject Keystone XL; Our Focus Should Be on Investing in a Sustainable Energy Future by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA13), Member of the United States House of Representatives.
2:00 pm: #NoKXL: (un)Ethical Pipeline? by A Siegel.
3:00 pm: #NoKXL — The Pipeline To Oblivion: Memes From The Climate Letter Project by WarrenS.

  • Wednesday, April 17

11:00 am: My government doesn't believe in climate change by Tzeporah Berman, Canadian Environmentalist and Co-Founder of Forest Ethics.
1:00 pm: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Member of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. (will be rescheduled)
3:00 pm: #NoKXL ?? The Keystone XL Pipeline, Deep Time, and the Nature of Humanity by gregladen.

  • Thursday, April 18

10:00 am: Keystone East: Doubling down? Or admitting KXL defeat? by Roger Fox.
1:00 pm: Jane Kleeb, Executive Director of Bold Nebraska, Live Blogging from the Final KXL Pipeline Public Hearing in Nebraska. (will post a bit later)
2:00 pm: Watch it Now! Fantastic Live Hearing Opposing Keystone XL Pipeline from Nebraska by JekyllnHyde.
3:00 pm: #NOKXL: The Ill-Logic of Keystone XL by Kelly Rigg, Executive Director of the Global Call for Climate Action.

Please remember to republish these diaries to your Daily Kos Groups.  You can also follow all postings by clicking this link for the Climate Change SOS Blogathon Group. Then, click 'Follow' and that will make all postings show up in 'My Stream' of your Daily Kos page.

11:09 AM PT: Watch the Keystone XL Pipeline Hearing from Grand Island here


12:41 PM PT: Thank you Rescue Rangers.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, Climate Hawks, Holy $h*tters, Meatless Advocates Meetup, Canadian Kossacks, and Community Spotlight.

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