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The most common mistake that politicians and the media make when discussing the Keystone XL pipeline is to frame it as an “environment vs. economy” issue. When presented this way, it appears to be a niche issue that will only resonate with the liberal base. The key to effectively informing people, and arguing the case against the pipeline, is to point out that the claims of benefits are lies.

While the environmental impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline would be numerous and extreme, it is too easy for people to dismiss the consequences when they perceive the benefits to be more jobs, less dependence on foreign oil, and cheaper gas at the pump.

There aren't any actual benefits to the pipeline – only perceived benefits. It is within this context that the environmental impacts are even worse, since we will be destroying our planet for no real reason.

All Republican Senators (including “moderate” Scott Brown) voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, claiming that it would create jobs, decrease our dependency on Middle Eastern oil, and decrease oil prices.

But the problem is that those perceived benefits are a complete fabrication, whereas the consequences are very real. They are cynically trying to manipulate us in order to help the oil industry make more money.

Here are the facts: among the studies conducted to estimate jobs created, there were only two not affiliated with TransCanada. Both agreed that there would only be a small number of jobs created, a lot of which would be temporary – certainly not enough to base a jobs plan on. Further, Cornell University pointed out that the long-term effects would actually be job losses. This is not the solution to our jobs crisis; it would make it worse. Strike 1.

Even Canada’s Natural Resources Minister admitted that the purpose of the pipeline is to “diversify” their clientele beyond the United States. The crude would bypass refineries in Oklahoma, and go directly to Texas for export.  Since the oil wouldn’t be used in the US, that won’t affect our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Strike 2.

In their own report, TransCanada admitted that the pipeline would enable them to discontinue the $5 billion in discounts they've been giving us to use their dirty crude. This would increase price at the pump by 20 cents per gallon. Further, when the Canadian oil can be sold on the global market, it will end up costing us an addition $3.9 billion a year – more increases at the pump. Strike 3.

By peddling these three lies to advocate for a project that would cause so much devastation, Republicans have shown that they simply cannot be trusted to represent the best interests of not just the United States, but even humanity as a whole.

If the pipeline were to be built, it would encourage further exploitation of the Canadian Tar Sands. NASA’s top climatologist, Jim Hansen, pointed out that if we “tap this stuff heavily, it’s game over for the climate.”  And this comes at a time when we can already see and feel the effects of Global Warming through continually more-frequent and more-devastating storms, such as Hurricane Sandy.

We cannot drill our way to affordable energy.  Far more jobs would be created, and energy sources stabilized, by investing in clean, renewable. Republicans are against ending tax subsidies for big oil – Republicans think we need to pay them billions of dollars from our taxes or else they won’t want to continue making more money than any industry to ever exist on Earth.  To actually achieve all of the things falsely promised would come with the Keystone XL pipeline, we need to invest in clean energy – not resort to lies and distortions.

I created a short video pointing out the lies.
More info at my blog Wait, I See Something

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Comment Preferences

  •  good post, waitiseesomething (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnN, George3

    so make it easy for me at the water-cooler

    What are the 3 bullet points, I should remember?


    1)  Keystone will only create a few short-term US jobs

    2)  the Keystone Oil is destined for other countries, not the US.

    3)  somehow it increases the US price of gas, not lessen it.


    Is that the short version?


    Are you ready to Vote? Are you still 'allowed' to Vote?
    -- Are you sure?

    by jamess on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 07:07:44 PM PST

  •  Hmm, I dunno (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    George3

    that oil is going to get out to market one way or the other. The Keystone route is easier for the Albertans than across British Columbia - which will face more hurdles getting approved than through the US. But Canada has lots of coast. It can get oil out in Hudson's Bay, or even out the Great Lakes and up the St. Lawrence. Both would be terrible for the environment, threatening the Straits of Georgia on one end, and the whole St. Lawrence watershed down the other.

    If Keystone does not go ahead, Stephen Harper will force something to work out in Canada. The idea that prices to the US can be held down if bottlenecks in Okalahoma... well that's just not going to happen forever.

    Rick Perry - the greatest scientist since Galileo!

    by Bobs Telecaster on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 07:10:20 PM PST

    •  Refining is key (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      walkshills, kurt

      The tar sand oil is heavy crude and not easily refined.

      The Keystone XL brings that crude to refineries in Texas City - a tax-free export zone - where it can be exported as gasoline and diesel to the overseas markets.

      Canada could have gone west, but there was no refinery capacity there to process it. Same problem with the Hudson.

      Another point to consider: the Keystone pipeline that currently runs from Canada to Cushing, OK with a capacity of 500,000 bpd has been operating since 2010. Gas prices are not lower.

      •  Actually, they are lower (0+ / 0-)

        Once that last phase of the pipeline is built to Texas, and Oklahoma no longer refines it and sells it to the midwest, gas prices are estimated to rise in the midwest 10 to 15 cents.

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 03:29:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  more explanation (0+ / 0-)

        This is also a response Bobs Telecaster...

        I go into this more in the longer blog version (linked at the bottom of the article), but there are two main standards by which global oil is priced: WTI (North American), and Brent (UK). WTI is typically lighter and easier to refine, so that's historically been the standard for global oil price. But recently, with more of WTI being composed of bitumen from the Canadian Tar Sands (as well as natural gas), Canada has been forced to deeply discount the crude so that US refineries will still take it.

        Since WTI is being kept artificially low, more of the world is going over to the Brent standard, which more accurately reflects the cost of bringing oil to market. The differences between gas prices at the pump between the US and other countries can be readily observed.  In 2010, I spent a few weeks in Australia, and it cost about $150 (US) for me to fill up my tank. We are used to really cheap gas, so we think we're paying a lot now -- but really, the US is pretty lucky that WTI is currently being kept low.

    •  clarification (0+ / 0-)

      Part of my reply is below as a reply to tln41, but specifically to your comment that the idea of blocking the Keystone XL pipeline to keep WTI (US crude) low is unsustainable.

      Yes, I agree. But I think you may have misunderstood my overall point, which is that continuing to base our energy needs on oil is wholly unsustainable.  The Keystone XL pipeline argument is built on the lie that it will bring down gas prices.  It won't.  But what will make energy more affordable? Developing renewable energy, which doesn't have to be intensively drilled out of the ground, and dangerously transported across the world, and refined, and transported again.

  •  There (0+ / 0-)

    will be about 3000 construction jobs created for about 2 years by the pipeline.

    I don't call 3000 a small number.  Maybe you do.

    Likewise, a 2-year long pipeine job may seem temporary to you, but to an unemployed construction worker, it may be the longest single job in their entire working life.

    Only a fraction of the oil refined from Tar Sands will be exported. Valero, who openly admits they will export refined diesel from the tar sands to Europe, will not process a majority of the tar sands crude.

    Tar Sands crude already goes west and south from Canada and is refined north of Seattle, in Montana, Minnesota, and Michigan, at a minimum, in addition to whatever flows through the current Keystone pipeline.

    •  Perspective (0+ / 0-)

      I do call 3000 a small number, because investing in clean, renewable energy would create 7333 times that number of jobs; the NY State "Solar Jobs Act of 2011" would have created 22,000 jobs.

      Mark Ruffalo once pointed out that if "you put a Solar Jobs bill in each of the 6 states that the pipeline would go through, that’s 132,000 jobs – real jobs that are clean jobs that will really get us off of foreign oil.”

      Now does 3000 seem like a small number?

      And as for the 2-year construction job of the pipeline... is it worth destroying the planet for?  Bill Maher once said: "Sorry roughnecks, but eventually you’re going to have to find something else to do – try building windmills. … Calling something your job doesn’t make it sacred … maybe your job needs to go when it starts killing things.”

      And why does the alternative to not having a construction job building the Keystone XL have to be unemployment?  Create a "Solar Jobs Act" or wind farm in the same state, and they can go to work building those facilities.

  •  You lost me at the part where you predict the (0+ / 0-)

    end of the world.

    I'm also waiting to be shown where the XL results in a net increase in CO2.

    And I think global warming is our greatest environmental problem, imagine how others might view the message.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 08:44:26 PM PST

    •  Thanks... (0+ / 0-)

      ... for proving my point: "While the environmental impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline would be numerous and extreme, it is too easy for people to dismiss the consequences when they perceive the benefits to be more jobs, less dependence on foreign oil, and cheaper gas at the pump."

      As you have demonstrated, going solely on the environmental impacts leaves the door open for people to be skeptical of how a single pipeline can contribute noticeably to Global Warming.

      I go into more detail in the longer blog entry (linked at the bottom of the article), and I point out that the pipeline actually won't necessarily increase oil flow (at least at first).  Mitch McConnell implied that the Keystone XL would bring 700,000 barrels per day, but that is a misleading claim. That is the carrying capacity, and assumes that the pipeline would be filled to capacity in addition to the existing pipelines.  However, a government study confirms that Canada simply doesn't have enough crude to even fill existing pipelines to capacity - let alone filling an additional pipeline to capacity.

      So if it's not going to increase oil flow, or result in a net increase in CO2 emissions, why build it, and why are environmentalists concerned?

      It's being built because Canada wants to "diversify" their clientele beyond the US. When their customers become the entire world, they can charge higher prices for it.  Further, environmentalists are concerned because sending the oil to the global market will also increase demand.  With increased demand and profit, Canada will be incentivized to further exploit the Tar Sands.  And that will increase CO2 emissions.

      Bill McKibben wrote in a NY Times article: "The Tar Sands in Alberta is the second largest pool of carbon on Earth. Only the oil fields of Saudi Arabia are larger. When we plumbed the oil fields in Saudi Arabia, we didn’t know about Climate Change. Now that we do, if we just repeat the same thing, then we’re idiots. That’s why NASA’s Jim Hansen – our foremost climatologist – said ‘tap this stuff heavily, and it’s game over for the climate.’ … It’s a reminder that we need to leave carbon in the ground."

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