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Keystone XL.  The opposition is trumpetted across every liberal blog practically daily.  Environmental groups are using it as a litmus test.  It's just taken as a given that any good environmentally-minded liberal should be fiercely opposed to its construction, rallying to block it, and mad at anyone who supports it.

And I just don't get it.  So this diary is not to give information, but an appeal.  I'm asking you - please, and in all seriousness, this is not rhetorical - why are we supposed to be opposed to it?

(First, full disclosure: my father is an oil executive, so I may have been exposed to some different perspectives.  Then again, also full disclosure: I drive a home-converted plug-in hybrid Honda Insight and once ran a company making software for electric cars.  Interpret all this as you will.  Lastly, sorry for the diary not being about Iceland this time!)

I don't really need to go into the background, so let's skim.  1.7 trillion barrels of oil in the form of known Alberta tar sands.  Depending on the price of oil you set and the assumptions you make, at current technology, you've got a couple hundred billion barrels recoverable worth somewhere in the ballpark of the entire annual US GDP.  More in the future as tech advances or if oil prices rise or if new deposits are discovered.  Basically, a Canadian Saudi Arabia.  To be useful, almost all of it needs to go outside of Alberta for refining and distribution.  The cheapest way to ship it is by a pipeline.  The cheapest destination is the US.  Hence, the Keystone XL.

Are we all in agreement on this background?  Okay.  So then we get to what I think is where the opposition lies:

1) We don't want all of this carbon added to the atmosphere, for patently obvious reasons.
2) They're building the Keystone XL to enable its use.
3) Therefore, we stop the Keystone XL, we stop the carbon added to the atmosphere, and if we fail, it's a huge carbon bomb.

Is this the logic?  If so, it just makes no bloody sense to me, and that's where I need you to help me out here.

So you stop Keystone XL?  Fine, they'll build more rail.  Or road.  Or multiple smaller pipelines.  Or build a pipeline through British Colombia to the coast.  Or through Manitoba to Hudson Bay and buy a couple icebreakers to support the tankers during the winter.  Or through Northwest Territories and Nunavut.  Or Northwest Territories and the Yukon.  The options are practically endless.  Erect a magical anti-oil field around Alberta?  They'll build refineries and chemical plants and produce refined products for export on site, with oil elsewhere currently being used for chemical production going toward fuel instead.  They're not just going to leave trillions of dollars in the ground if they can help it, and it would be naive to think otherwise.

Is it more expensive to ship in alternative methods than the pipeline?  Yep, that's why they want Keystone XL.  But to harvest many trillions of dollars, you damn well better believe they're going to do it, and yes, all of those approaches are just a tiny fraction of the value of the oil they yield.

Short of getting either Canada or Alberta to ban tar sands development, how do you actually plan to stop them from selling this oil?  If you accept that stopping Keystone XL won't stop the development, then why call it a carbon bomb?  Is it merely to get a symbolic victory?  Then why are so many acting like it's a practical victory?

Maybe I missed a diary somewhere that explained all this.

What's the real outcome if you block Keystone XL?  Well, the oil companies currently planning to buy from Alberta will switch to their backup plans to feed their refineries.  Yes, they have both Keystone and non-Keystone scenarios, non-keystone involving shipping more from other parts of the world, including places like Venezuela which have a nonconventional oil deposit (the Orinoco Oil Sands) even bigger than Alberta's.  The Canadian side will route their oil through any of a variety of other mechanisms - initially piggybacking on a mix of rail infrastructure, road infrastructure, and smaller pipelines, followed by the construction of new larger scale export (most likely including Cascades pipeline like the trans-Alaska pipeline (but shorter and cheaper) to feed China's insatiable demand).  The net result will be five things:

1) The potential for a small amount of bottlenecking for a couple years, causing a temporary reduction of output versus what would otherwise occur.  So perhaps 0.1Mbbl/d less from Alberta for a couple years (a tenth of a percent of world oil production).  Maybe.  Such a small amount should be more than be made up for elsewhere, and the industry is already readying for it.  Oil producers don't leave that little slack in production capacity when planning their investments.
2) The oil will all still be burned eventually (barring things unrelated to keystone causing demand reduction).
3) Whatever other method is used to ship the oil out would almost certainly be less efficient, leading to more embodied carbon in each gallon of gasoline.
4) It may encourage more investment in other oil reserves elsewhere as the economic picture shifts (oil investment goes to wherever production is cheapest at a given moment; it doesn't play favorites and oil is fungible).
5) There may be a very small (probably unnoticeable) increase in the price of oil due to the decreased efficiency.  Alberta's oil figures may look staggering, but they're still just a blip on global production.

I can see how #1 might appeal, but #3, combined with #2 should be a huge warning flag.  Because for trillions of dollars, they will find a way to sell that oil and work around whatever geographic region blocked them, so unless that geographic region is "Alberta" or "Canada" explicitly banning production, it will burn.  And to release more carbon for less gasoline, only for questionable benefit?  That's terrible.

So is the goal #5?  At the cost of more carbon?  If you want to raise the price, wouldn't the logical thing be to lobby for carbon taxes or gas taxes or the like?  That way you're not decreasing the efficiency of oil production (thus adding more carbon), and you're getting revenue.  Wouldn't that be a heck of a lot more logical?

So again, in all sincerity, I'm confused, because there's a lot of people who seem gung-ho on this Keystone XL opposition.  So can you explain it to me?  What's the logic?  And more generally, so long as consumption doesn't change, where do we want the oil that we're consuming to come  from?  Again, not a rhetorical question because, believe me, if I could snap my fingers and switch everyone over to driving an EV tomorrow, I would.  But there's going to be a good chunk of a billion gasoline cars out there for the next several decades even if all new vehicle production switched over to EVs tomorrow (and in reality, such an event will likely take decades).  We can't just pretend like people are going to stop consuming oil any day now.  And it comes from somewhere.  So where do we want it to come from?  Albertan tar sands?  Offshore gulf drilling?  North shore Alaskan drilling?  Venezuelan rainforests?  The Niger delta?  Saudi Arabia?  Iran?  Really, where do we want it coming from?  Are we envisioning that there's some place that oil comes from where it's doesn't have negative consequences?

Sorry for these questions.  I hope I don't engender hostility by asking them.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Two bits: (36+ / 0-)

    The energy required to extract petro distillates from tar sands exceeds the energy yielded from those distillates.

    The pipeline extension proposed will extend the existing pipeline to refineries and deepwater (exporting) port in Texas, which means that we, the citizens of the country that will have to pay for damages from the pipeline extension, will get none, zero, zip, nada of the benefits of those extracted distillates.

    All pain, no gain for USA.

    Republicans represent both sides: the insanely rich and vice versa.

    by Crashing Vor on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:27:49 AM PST

    •  What does the amount of energy used to (5+ / 0-)

      process tar sands matter to us?  The demand for fossil fuel is still there and driving this market.

      Your second point I get.  That is my only issue with the pipeline.  That the politicians claiming that this pipeline is good for the USA are not letting the people know that this refined oil will be shipped to China and India.

      But still, is this a fight worth having?  I'd rather we focused our energy on reducing demand.  

      •  Using the nat. gas required to crack (8+ / 0-)

        the tar sands in converted fleets in-country (Canada), rather than blowing it into the atmosphere in a fossil fuel reductio ad absurdum would reduce demand.

        Republicans represent both sides: the insanely rich and vice versa.

        by Crashing Vor on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:45:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Much more energy is produced in tar sands (5+ / 0-)

          than the natural gas energy that's put in.  That said, natural gas vehicles are a much better option, tar sands or not, than gasoline vehicles.  It's not perfect, but producing gas is generally cleaner than oil, it burns much cleaner, it burns more efficiently, and it's lower carbon to begin with.  So I'm all for more NG vehicles.  Not as good as EVs, but any improvement is an improvement!

          But that doesn't mean that the oil companies are going to leave trillions of dollars in the ground.  Until the demand is gone and the value of the oil drops so low that it's no longer economical to produce, that is...

          •  If we leave this to the market then we lose (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And the whole world loses.  We aren't making strides to get people off oil quickly enough right now and oil is only getting more expensive.  If we don't nip this in the bud then "But it's going to make a lot of money" will be the excuse for letting every new project go through.

            No more pipelines, No more drilling.  That's the goal.  Letting this pipeline happen doesn't work toward that goal.  That's why it has to stop.

            •  It may be the goal but it won't be the outcome. (0+ / 0-)

              As described in the diary.  Eliminating a pipeline won't make them leave trillions of dollars in the ground.  Only a reduction in demand will do that.

              •  You just aren't paying attention (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                This is the beginning, not the end.  There will be more battle to fight to make sure that this oil stays in the ground, but you're ready to give up already because this isn't the only fight.

                Only a reduction in demand will do that.
                Unless you have a magic bullet to deal with demand then dealing with supply is the only option we've got.  You and others opposed to the plan to stop the pipeline say there's more important things to focus on, but you never give examples of what those things are and where we can actually win.  We're not getting anything past congress until at least 2016, so what's the "better thing" that we can fight for?  And don't give me the localism crap.  We're doing that too and winning, it simply isn't enough.
        •  And that natural gas comes from Alaska, (3+ / 0-)

          on the faulty notion hooted by Gov. Palin when she was governor, that sending the gas to Canada on an exclusive deal that requires a US guarantee of eighteen billion bucks would provide direct energy for the US, which the pipeline does not. None of that natural gas even goes to Alaskan gas users. And the deal as I last heard it forbids giving the gas to another energy company, on pain of treble damages.

      •  For One Thing The Amount of Energy Means Even (4+ / 0-)

        more carbon goes into the air than goes in from other carbon sources.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:10:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This argument is akin to the "everybody's (6+ / 0-)

        doing, so why can't I?" that children use.

        The point is: when do we accept responsibility for destroying the planet?  You can't possibly believe that allowing the pipeline to go through will do anything but damage an already dying planet?  

        From this moment on, every ounce of carbon that goes into the atmosphere pushes us closer to a "doomsday" scenario that has a point of no return.   (emphasis mine) The damage caused by the Keystone pipeline could be the tipping point, the point where we finally exceed an acceptable limit for sustaining life.  The LA Times posted a series of articles that might help you understand how desperate the global situation has become, especially this one on world hunger (notice the part about people starving because there is no water to sustain crops):

        Also, read the 2013 Global Risks Report prepared by the World Economic's an easy to understand source for seeing the larger picture.

        •  but again (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yoshimi, Sparhawk, Neuroptimalian, Rei

          stopping the pipeline has basically no effect on overall oil consumption. this is the point. everyone IS doing it, and will "do it" regardless of where the pipeline is.

          opposition to it is still valid on environmental grounds, but fighting against potential spills and eminent domain issues hardly represent the mother of all climate battles, which is how its been represented.

          i find nothing about holding a nuanced view of this issue to be childish. but i do find she automatic shouting down of questions that reflect nuance to be childish.

          •  It might not have an overall effect on (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dewley notid, peregrine kate

            oil consumption, but it is a positive step in the right direction.  Allowing it to go through is not.

            As noted in a front page article that is currently up, Senator Sanders said this:

            The leading scientists in the world who study climate change now tell us that their projections in the past  were wrong. That, in fact, the crisis facing our planet is much more serious than they had previously believed. They now tell us that if we continue along our merry path, where 12 out of the last 15 years were the warmest on record, and take no decisive action in transforming our energy system and cutting greenhouse gas emissions, this planet could be 8 degrees Fahrenheit or more warmer than is currently the case.
            We can no longer afford to add any carbon to the atmosphere, so letting this pipeline go through is not an acceptable option.  As far as the argument that the demand for oil will still be there if the president vetoes the pipeline: international pressure is building to force drastic changes to the current rate of pollution.  Most leaders are finally acknowledging that we are facing a tipping point.  In fact, the argument in the international arena is no longer about whether climate change is happening, it is now focusing on how do we adapt to the catastrophic changes that we are facing.

            Why add one more ounce of carbon to the atmosphere?

            •  But as described> (0+ / 0-)
              We can no longer afford to add any carbon to the atmosphere, so letting this pipeline go through is not an acceptable option.
              But as described, that doesn't follow.  Blocking the pipeline doesn't block the production.  It just changes where it goes.  And makes it take a less efficient (aka, higher carbon) route, to boot.  How is that solving anything?

              The goal is admirable..  The chosen solution is illusory

              •  It slows the production (0+ / 0-)

                And the predictions of output without KXL is based on the assumption that the people of Canada are going to sit by and let more carbon be released.  That isn't going to happen.  If the people of Canada were going to let that happen then KXL wouldn't be a big deal and they'd just put the pipeline across Canada, or tracks or whatever.  More people are aware of and acting against global warming in Canada than are in the US and you think it's going to be easier to transport it through Canada than the US?  Not likely.

          •  Fighting the pipeline, even if the diarist is (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roger Fox, AoT, KenBee

            right, yields several positive results.
            It (along with Hurricane Sandy, etc.) highlight the relationship between human behavior and human disaster.
            It brings the climate change issue out into the light of day.

            It challenges the credibility of the media that enables the liars and the lies about carbon, climate change, jobs, etc.

            It highlights the obscenity of using eminent domain to take American citizens' land and giving it to foreign corporations.


            The broader debate is worthwhile.

            You can't make this stuff up.

            by David54 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:37:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  My argument isn't (0+ / 0-)

          "everyone is doing it",  my argument is "lets make sure that it doesn't need to be done."

          You're fighting the battle when we should have a wide view and fight the war.

    •  So is the goal then to have it refined elsewhere? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky, Yoshimi

      Instead of in the US?  Or do you feel nobody else in the whole world will take it, even though there's vast amounts of money to be made from it?

      Would the damages be less likely if shipped by road, rail, multiple smaller pipelines, etc?  Would it be better to have an accident in the cascades if shipped to British Colombia, or Manitobia, or the Northwest Territories, etc, plus wherever said buyers shipped it from port to refinery (most likely China)?

      Basically, is it simply NIMBY?

    •  And if it runs through Nebraska (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Crashing Vor

      could foul the water for a large number of our Western states.

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:03:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for picking out two of the most (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Crashing Vor

      egregious bits of asshattery in this entire policy proposal.

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:04:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No super tanker port in Texas (0+ / 0-)

      Louisiana LOOP.

      EROEI is from a worst 1 to 1.8 to a best 1 to 5. See oildrum.

      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 Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:50:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How trollish can you get? These are NOT (5+ / 0-)

    serious questions.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:27:56 AM PST

  •  I found (12+ / 0-)

    The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is a fundamental element in the oil industry’s plan to triple production of tar sands oil from 2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 6 million bpd by 2030, and in the longer term to hike production to more than 9 million bpd. Approving a pipeline that would carry over 800,000 barrels of carbon intensive oil would be inconsistent with progress on climate.  

    Millions of citizens across America have sent President Obama their recommendations for making early progress on his climate promise.  And last month, over 70 leading environmental organizations asked President Obama to take three actions :

      - To elevate the issue of climate disruption and climate solutions in the public discourse.
      - Use executive authority to make urgently needed reduction in U.S. carbon pollution by setting standards for America’s ageing power plant fleet.
     -  Reject dirty fuels starting with rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline because it would unlock vast amount of additional carbon we can’t afford to burn.

    •  Qs (4+ / 0-)

      Last sentence, first para: are they saying that for symbolic value or are they saying that there's practical value?

      Point 1: So, symbolic?
      Point 2: So, something unrelated to the pipeline?
      Point 3: Symbolic, or are they saying that there's a practical value?

      If there is a practical value... what?  How does it make sense to cause the producers to use a less efficient route to get the oil to market?  It won't stop them from producing it, just make it more polluting (as per the primary reason in this diary for my confusion as to why so many are supporting it).

      I can understand symbolic moves, mind you, but they seem to be implying that it's more than symbolic, and most people here seem to be acting like it's more than symbolic.

  •  Reasons other than emissions (16+ / 0-)
    several Nebraskans succeeded in getting arrested, including Randy Thompson, the Republican cattle buyer-turned-activist, and actress Darryl Hannah and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
    “There is something inherently wrong about the idea of American landowners being forced to subsidize the private enterprise of a foreign corporation with land that their families have earned through generations of hard work and determination,” Thompson said. He also believes the pipeline threatens America’s most valuable natural resources — particularly rivers, streams and underground aquifers.
    Last spring, right after she graduated from North Texas University, Cagle helped form a group called the Tar Sands Blockade. They were looking for a place to stage a protest and sought out David Daniel.

    She says Daniel's trees are just one of several reasons she's against tar sands oil. To get the thick crude out of the ground, companies clear cut forests in Canada and use lots of energy. So tar sands oil has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than conventional crude.

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:32:40 AM PST

    •  Pipe leaks. (9+ / 0-)

      What are they planning to do with all that toxic sand when it gets to Texas?

      Speaking of the slurry they are planning on shipping thousands of miles. How are they going to stop the natural abrasive action? This is like watching a slow motion train wreck from so many POV.

      "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:42:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Eminent Domain (12+ / 0-)

      Forcing Americans to sell their land to a foreign corporation is wrong on so many counts.

      Some people have short memories

      by lenzy1000 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:50:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So... is it NIMBY? (0+ / 0-)

      Are they saying it'd be better if the oil industry shipped by road, or rail, or smaller pipelines, or if they ran a pipeline through British Colombia, or Manitoba, or the Northwest Territories, or whatnot?  Is British Columbia less environmentally sensitive than Nebraska?  Or a rail line going through Nebraska?

      Or do they actually think that the oil industry will just leave trillions of dollars in the ground beause a single pipeline gets blocked, as though that's the only way oil can be moved, rather than just the cheapest and most efficient?

      Again, I don't understand the logic here.

      •  This is a rather egregiously distorted (8+ / 0-)

        use of "NIMBY". Generally, a NIMBY is someone who benefits from positive effects of an action but wants the negatives to affect others and not themselves.

        Here, there are no benefits, or there are only minor benefits, to the people affected by the pipeline and the tar sands extraction. So they are not NIMBYs. In oil industry households, it's possible the term is used differently.

        •  You're actually paid for the use of your land. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yoshimi, Sparhawk

          You generally get a fair-market value for land, plus a small royalty for the life of the pipeline.

          Obviously, plenty of people would rather not have the pipeline, but they still benefit from it.

        •  I disagree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yoshimi, Sparhawk

          You define NIMBY very narrowly.  Let me give you a practical example.  We in Colorado have the water that serves the entire SW of this Country.  Phoenix, Las Vegas, LA and most of Southern California wouldn't exist without out water.  So, should we be able to dam up all the water here in Colorado because we don't like California and we want it to die?  

          To suggest that one locality can protest NIMBY without taking the consequences of what that means is just non-sense.  We all have to hang together or we all have to hang separately.  Personally, I'll keep Colorado and all the rest of you can live without what we provide.

          As for eminent domain.  This is in the Constitution.  The founders knew that we might have problems agreeing on what a public purpose was, but the concept is there.  Frankly, the arguments against eminent domain are directly out of the play book of the extreme right-wing property rights faction here in Colorado.

          In reality, farmers won't give up their farms.  They'll give up a very small part.  They'll still be able to live as they have always lived, except they'll have money in their pockets to pay off some of that expensive equipment they're always mortgaging their farms to buy.  As for fair value, having been involved in a number of these things, the landowner, if s/he is smart always ends up with well more than fair market value.  In the first place, almost everywhere the judges don't set the value a panel of landowners from the county does.  The landowner gets damages for the reduced value of the rest of their property.  If the landlowner has to move a business or residence, they get the costs of moving.  Cities, counties and states tend to get royally screwed on condemnations anymore.  So, don't feel bad for the farmers.

          As for me, if they try to truck that shit across my state, I'm going lay down in the middle of the road.  That would be literally 100's of tankers on the road here every day.  We already have 100's of coal trains from Wyoming passing through here.  I wouldn't want to imagine how many accidents tankers would have on the roads here in the middle of winter.  We have enough already with almost no tanker traffic.

          The reality is that someone needs to tell me that a pipeline through what is essentially the middle of nowhere is a problem.  We have oil and gas pipelines all over the western united states.  You on the east coast almost assuredly used gas that came from one of our pipelines.  Frankly, most of you aren't old enough to remember the arguments against the Alaska pipeline.  Hint: I think someone found an old copy of their play book and re-printed it with changed names and maps.  I thing the problems with a pipeline are much less that any other method of transportation and the risk much lower.

          If anyone has facts, evidence, a study you know like something I can believe in saying its safer to ship by rail or truck, I'd love to see it.  

          But fighting this just to fight is silly and counterproductive.  Look,it's the Dakotas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.  How much harm can we do?  Really?

          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)
            Look,it's the Dakotas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.  How much harm can we do?
            Just like the "argument from incredulity" used by global warming denialists, the argument from your ignorance of geography is not a convincing one.
        •  Dont answer leading questions (0+ / 0-)

          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 Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:23:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  No, it would be better if they were thwarted (9+ / 0-)

        at every turn and leave that poisonous crap in the ground, don't waste the entire natural gas output of Canada to extract it, don't push our atmospheric carbon load over 400 and don't threaten our water quality.
        Not just blocking one single pipeline, The people of Maine won't bring it across to Portland, The People of British Columbia won't let it cross them, Quebec will probably work to bottle them up.
        The overall goal is to prevent the Tar Sands from continuing to kill us all. Start from there and a lot of the questions go away.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:43:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  thx CwV, I was wondering when THE WATER was (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Siri, dewley notid, jedennis, Roger Fox

          going to come up!

          Climate change is affecting water resources NOW. We cannot afford to throw away the fresh-water resources of northern Canada on a temporary addict's fix for petroleum and natural gas! FRESH WATER IS NOT A RENEWABLE RESOURCE. Unless, of course, you have geologic-scale time available!

          Water should never be privatized, you can't trust the corporations! They (energy corps) have proven over and over that they care nothing for environmental issues -- all they are interested in is money, and how to get around the pitiful existing regulations!

          Why else did Harper just un-protect so many rivers and lakes in Canada? I am SO grateful to Idle-No-More for standing up for the lakes and rivers! again, thx wiki:

          Prior to 2012, the Navigable Waters Protection Act "applies to 40,000 lakes and 2.5 million rivers ... Bill C-45, disqualified all bodies of water not listed in the Bill C-45's Schedule 2 ... [down to] 97 lakes ... and 62 rivers.

          "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

          by chimene on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 01:33:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You Clearly Aren't from the West (0+ / 0-)

            Water is a very valuable comodity that is bought and sold by private interests all the damn time.  It belongs to those who got the water rights, most of them dating from the 1800's.  While the uses have changed over the years, ownership is still ownership.

            And oh, by the way, water is a renewable resource.  Just ask the residents of SoCal, Phoenix and Las Vegas who dring Colorado's "champagne powder snow" every spring and fall.  Not renewable.  That's just nonsense.  If it weren't renewable, the only source would be desalinating sea water (which of course we can do).  I agree with you that some places will have less in the future years (like probably Colorado) but I don't agree that it's non-renewable.

          •  Fresh water is a renewable resource (0+ / 0-)

            It renews itself all the time. It's called the hydrologic cycle.

        •  But... (0+ / 0-)

          there's no way you'll block every possible approach.  There's countless ways.  And many are dual use.  You going to block all railroad crossings?  All roads?  Because oil can be sent that way too.  Yeah, it's more expensive and more polluting and more likely to spill, but for trillions of dollars, you bet they'll do it.

          And as mentioned in the diary, even with a "magic anti-oil field" placed around Alberta, they'd just build refineries and chemical plants in Alberta and explort the finished products, with oil elsewhere that would have gone toward those uses going to fuel instead.

          They're not going to just ignore trillions of dollars.  

      •  We don't need the carbon dioxide in the (0+ / 0-)

        atmosphere. No one on Earth does. Extracting the tar sands is ruining millions of acres of forest which is one of Earth's treasures. The resulting product can be exported from the sea ports.

        This is not a good idea. It endangers aquifers, rivers and other water sources. Man can live without petroleum, but cannot live without water.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:06:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Turns us into a 3d world country. (16+ / 0-)

    Teh pipeline is set to go through some of our most scenic land, from the Canadian border down to the Gulf Coast, where all of the dirty oil gouged out of Alberta will be offloaded into refineries and piped into tankers bound for China, or somewhere other than the US (or worse yet, just piped into takner and sent elsewhere for refining).  We get most, if not all, of the environmental downside with very little economic upside.  Aside from the inevitable climate effects, this is just a raw deal for Americans all the way around.

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:37:27 AM PST

  •  Hi (13+ / 0-)

    First, there is the danger of a pipeline rupture. The pipe carries tar sands, which are expecially nasty to try to clean up. There are other Keystone pipelines in use now and they have less than stellar records. A spill would be an environmental nighmare and it has happened before.

    Second, they are kind of lying about why they are building the pipeline. They make it seem that they are building it so we can get the tar sands to our refineries and that will give us more oil so we don't have to buy as much from foreign (a.k.a Middle East) sources. The fact is Canada sells about all of its oil to us now because they don't have easy access to any other market. The purpose of the Keystone XL is to get the oil to an ocean port so they can sell it to Asia. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if that's the purpose just be honest about it.

    Third, they are also kind of lying about the jobs. There are going to be some temporary construction jobs, but not much long term. Now, a job is a job and all construction jobs are temporary by nature, but they are claiming 100,000 jobs and it's more like 6,000.

    Fourth,  they are basically screwing the landowners where the pipeline would run. Having the lands condemmed and giving the landowners far less than the land is worth. The outrage seems to mostly be that they are doing this for a foreign country.

    You are right that the other environmental issues are bogus. Canada isn't going to stop mining the tar sands and the oil is going to get used anyway.

    So basically, the objection is that we are going to be taking all the risks and get no benefit. If anything, our gas prices will go up because Canada will be selling its oil elsewhere and that will cause the price of crude to rise.

    "Life is too important to be taken seriously" Oscar Wilde

    by Annie B on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:45:21 AM PST

    •  Interesting to note that Canadian's don't want (11+ / 0-)

      a pipeline to Vancouver so this push to put the pipeline through the US.

      If its so important to the Canadian economy, and they're going to mine this gunk, let them build the pipeline and port (which is closer to Asia than the Gulf) and garner all the wonderful side-effects of the endeavor.

      Now if it really isn't a viable project (cost to build over the Rockies is too high, a new port and processing plan make it economically unfeasible) then I don't see a good reason for the people of the US Plains to bear the external costs of making tar sands a viable energy source.

      •  Rockies or port won't stop it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yoshimi, Sparhawk

        See Alaskan for an example, the Trans-Alaskan pipeline and port costs hardly made Alaskan oil uneconomical, and oil prices were way lower then, and that had to be at least as hard.  But yeah, I think it's a fair argument to simply state, "We know we can't stop you, but it's your bad decision, so if you want to do it, you do it on your own."

        Of course, they may end up just exporting it to the US anyway in any variety of other mechanisms - more road traffic, more rail traffic, reuse or conversion of existing pipelines, etc.  Last I saw TransCanada was planning to "all but finish" the pipeline even if it gets refused by the WH, having the US leg run all the way to the Bakken and be used for a major Bakken expansion at first, and then building more pipeline when politically expedient in the future or other forms of oil shipment to get Alberta oil to a Bakken terminal.

      •  First tar sands pipeline in 1953 to Vancouver (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Kinder Morgans Trans Mountain, that is currently being doubled with a parallel pipeline.



        More info

        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 Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:35:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  An honest response - thanks (5+ / 0-)

      Would you say that it's a fair statement that your opposition could be summed up as, "Look, if you're going to mine and sell this crap to make yourself rich, pipe it over your own damn territory and leave us out of it?"  That is, an acknowledgement that we can't stop them, and acceptance that yes it's NIMBY, but that if it's going to be in someone's "backyard", it should be in the backyard of those causing the mess, even if that makes it a bit less efficient and could cost some (but not vast numbers of) US jobs?

      I can accept that.  I'm not sure I totally agree with the philosophy, but I think it's a logical basis of opposition.  Thanks.  :)

    •  While the reality of oil and gas companies (9+ / 0-)

      continuing the environmental havoc of carbon fuel extraction is clear, does that mean we shouldn't at least try to make it more difficult, clear how wrong it is, and raise the costs while getting more clean energy options in use?

      My bottom line is that in the long run we are talking human lives - in the millions to billions. All depends on how soon we can get world leadership to pursue this boldly. America is lagging behind many other countries. Our lack of leadership is hurting the movement of many critical countries to get on board. The science has been clear for decades. What is stopping governmental action?

      Personal note: my ex was in charge of oil co regs in AK in the early 80's. The power and willingness of the oil and gas industry to ignore the science and overwhelm government action to maintain their profits was disgusting and well entrenched then. It is even worse now.

      It is a line in the sand. Not just tarsands, fracking is included in this line.

      If not now, when? If not this, what? If not us, who?

      How does Rei justify an unknown number of humans, if not a significant majority, dying in the future - so we can maintain the idea that somehow we don't have to try everything it takes to stop the dependence and overuse of carbon fuels for energy production?

      This degree of change is huge to over come. It takes every tactic that can be used to accomplish it. Every option has to be considered in the perspective of long term goals and consequences. In 7 generations, what will the population and quality of life of humans be?

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:35:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Justifies it by saying it's gonna happen no matter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ginny in CO

        what we do.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:26:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank You (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Pollyanna.  Really, you must live in Boulder, better yet, probably Nederland.  I especially like your citations to, you know, the facts?????  Do you really think shit like this can convince those of us who just don't know (which frankly is about 90% of this country) that you are right???  Sorry, I don't believe the propaganda from either the left or the right.  I like to decide for myself and your post is worthless to that.

        •  The comment was not written for 90% (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, erratic

          of the population. Since you apparently have done very little reading on the subject, there is at least 50 years to catch up. Here are some options. Two from today are full diaries expanding on the concept of my comment.

          Why Oppose Keystone XL? To those who think it's pointless

          Forward on Climate: The Ringwraiths of Despair

          The groups that have many diaries with many links on many subjects.

          Climate Hawks

          Climate Change SOS

          The best writer on societies that haven't changed: Jared Diamond

          I don't find your comment a constructive addition here. Please consider using the Is it True? Is it Kind? Is it Necessary? check before you hit Post. You know I live in CO (Denver metro), would you talk to me like that in person at a meet up? (We do have Kossacks in Boulder)

          Check the definition of pollyanna. If you got optimism from that comment, I was not trying to convey it. FYI, I have made comments regarding my past and present experiences with depression. There are plenty of diaries and comments by others here who also cope with it. Another good perspective for the tone of comments is 'be kinder than necessary', especially when you don't personally know the writer.

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:38:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  all of these points are valid (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yoshimi, Rei

      so i dont know why the fight against keystone is being billed as the most important battle against greenhouse emissions ever of all time in history.

      we essentially dont want a gigantic oil fountain running through the heart of our country. that is a valid issue. but plenty are making it seem like this single battle is what will or wont tip the scales of global warming, and that to even consider it is therefore a sellout of the entire environmental movement.

      •  God, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Have any of you people ever been to where they want to run this pipeline???  It might as well be Iraq.  You know, the evironmental community has been telling folks in Washington before the open up ANWR, they need to go see it.  Well, I dare you.  When you've driven across any of these states, you'll come to the conclusion that New Jersey's nickname, The Garden State isn't wrong.  There's nothing there.  That's why hundreds of these pipelines already cross these open prairies.  Really.

    •  No, the other environmental issues aren't bogus. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewley notid

      We fight here, others fight other places.  We throw everything we have at the problem.

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:24:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You Are Seriously Misinformed All Around (0+ / 0-)

      I would think again about whatever source provided you with any of this information.  You're like a Republican, you believe what you hear without checking it out.  People with brains don't do that.  We know every source has biases and read the underlying material and reports for the facts.  I know that's an old fashioned concept, but in today's world its really the only way to find out.

      I for one would love to see your report that says its more expensive to clean up, and I would like to see your comparison to what the predicted experience is with trucks or trains.  Personally, I'll take a pipeline through the least environmentally sensitive and one of the least populated corridors in the US over any of that, absent some evidence that the risks are significantly more from a pipeline.

      As for Condemnation, you are just wrong and you are parroting right-wing talking points.  It's not a fact that governments pay less.  Most often they pay substantially more than what the property is worth and they pay damages to the remainder.

  •  Potential leaks. (4+ / 0-)

    The rerouted version crosses the High Plains aquifer, althought it avoids more sensitive areas of the original path.

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:46:40 AM PST

  •  It is not oil (19+ / 0-)

    The product from the Canadian tar sands is bitumen...kind'a tar.  It must be diluted with a solvent to pump it.

    The extraction of the bitumen requires huge energy inputs and the resulting CO2 output.  Much of it is strip mined with the devastation to the land.  Much natural gas is used for the extraction, and we'd be better off to use that natural gas for our consumption until we have clean replacements, not use that gas to extract dirty tar.

    Saudi Arabia supplies a very high quality, low sulfur crude oil.  Alberta supplies very low quality, dirty, difficult to extract tar that can eventually be refined into petroleum products.  A crude oil spill, pipeline leak is bad.  A diluted bitumen spill is much worse and more toxic.  Saudi and Alberta can not be considered comparable.

    •  Using natural gas (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yoshimi, KenBee

      Which is now deemed "abundant" due to fracking - which has its own substantial ecological dangers.

      "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

      by Catte Nappe on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:02:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How does the pipeline change any of that? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Or do you think that if Keystone XL is blocked, the oil industry will just throw up their hands and leave trillions of dollars in the ground, rather than just shipping it in a less optimal (and more CO2-emitting) manner?

    •  Syncrude is the largest product (0+ / 0-)

      coming out of the tar sands, in fact the API 38 is only second to Brent Sea at API 39.
      Saudi Arabia doesnt sell a lot of API 38.


      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 Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:44:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Assuming all your propositions were true, (12+ / 0-)

    why, even then, would we be accepting of a pipeline running through our lands, endangering our water and people over thousands of miles, for oil corporations to get their product south to refine and sell in other countries? Why would we want that?

    For a pitiful number of jobs at that.

    And so we just assume, as you do, that because the oil is worth trillions we should do nothing to oppose them? Sometimes you have to fight for right even though you can't see it working, because in the past such fights have been won and can be again, i.e., slavery, suffrage, civil rights.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 11:52:38 AM PST

  •  Yes, this is more or less my thinking on the issue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rei, chimene

    Yes, we need to retire fossil fuel technology. But, optimistically, this will take another twenty-five years, and in the meantime fifty million Americans need to drive to work tomorrow morning and we need to buy that oil somewhere. So, we can give the money to Canadians or to Hugo Chavez and the House of Saud; I know which I prefer.

    Visit Lacking All Conviction, your patch of grey on those too-sunny days.

    by eataTREE on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:02:34 PM PST

    •  Except we won't be paying the Canadians (6+ / 0-)

      They will be selling to the world market, and we'll be buying from it. Presumably including Chavez and the Saudis.

      "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

      by Catte Nappe on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:17:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Asians can afford to fill up a scooter at $10 (0+ / 0-)

        a gallon

        We cant afford to fill up a SUV at $10 a gallon.

        Look 10 -15 years ahead.

        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 Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:46:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And increasing the supply delays the developement (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      flowerfarmer, 420 forever, Siri, Roger Fox

      of viable alternatives.
      By stalling and tying up this dirty shame in Alberta, by fighting off any and every attempt to get to market, we CAN defeat these PetroTrafficantes. This was how we stopped the march of Nuclear in the 70s, by making it so expensive and slow that the market fundamentals were not there.
      Bringing that last huge pool of Petro online stunts the growth of anything that could replace it, meaning that a couple generations down the road, if we don't all cook, when that last reserve is depleted, the conversion is that much harder, that much more dislocating, that much less graceful.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:57:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Twenty five years?? (0+ / 0-)

      Are you kidding.  More 125 years.  Get real.

  •  Thoughtful discussion, but even if you're right (4+ / 0-)

    there seems to be plenty of reasons to be against the pipeline, as the comments show.

    What we need to do is to keep educating people about the general problem with carbon and keep fighting for more wind/solar/etc.
    The sooner we develop those, the sooner we just won't need the fossil fuels.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:07:25 PM PST

    •  You Won't do it With Threads Like this (0+ / 0-)

      There are plenty of opinions and arguments in this thread, but no, not one fact.  How do you think you are going to convince the 90% of Americans who don't know, don't give a shit or otherwise care about this issue?

  •  Several excellent diaries that answer (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flowerfarmer, Siri, erratic, Lily O Lady

    your questions have been published here in the last couple of days.

    Why don't you take fifteen minutes and skim through them?....roughly the same amount of time ot took it to write and publish this "concern" diary.....

    Srsly Rei, I know that you're not a troll or Big Oil syncophant. This diary should be reconsidered.

    The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

    by ozsea1 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:07:58 PM PST

    •  I disagree (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rei, jaym, 6412093, Yoshimi, MGross, Sophie Amrain

      I think he asks significant questions.  The opposition to the pipeline seems to have morphed from what it should be (little to no benefit to the US) to a discussion of "carbon bombs" and emissions from a mining process that has been running for decades already.  Perhaps that gets more eyes/clicks/donations/attention than a simple eminent domain protest or "what's in this for us?" question, but I just haven't understood the sturm and drang over this.

      I'm a mushroom. Kept in the dark and know

      by The Voice from the Cave on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:15:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you're free to disagree, of course (0+ / 0-)

        Again, I point to these earlier diaries because I have neither the time or, quite frankly, the patience to lay out the case as well as they did.

        The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

        by ozsea1 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:18:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And what also gets me is (0+ / 0-)

        that people talk about the demand for oil lessening as other comparable fuels come on the scene. However, when comparable fuels come on the scene, such as natural gas, they scream bloody murder again. How do they think we are going fuel our lives until solar batteries can hold a charge? Do they think we are just going to stop driving to work, flying in airplanes, and using light bulbs or heat our houses? So much energy in fighting this pipeline could be put into more productive uses like incentives for using less electricity, tax rebates for carpooling, mandatory bike lanes, etc. But we'd rather scream at Big Oil because it makes us feel better.

        •  The fact of the matter is that we are going (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to have to cut back on our energy consumption, and not just through conservation, if we want to avoid the worst of global warming.

          So much energy in fighting this pipeline could be put into more productive uses like incentives for using less electricity, tax rebates for carpooling, mandatory bike lanes, etc.
          None of that is ever going to pass congress and anyone with a bit of honesty will admit it.  The GOP controlled house will not let anything pass that has anything to do with global warming.  And plenty of people are already fighting at the local level for everything you mention, but it's absurd to give up on a battle that we can win in the national level because there are things we can do at the local level.  Localism isn't going to solve this and anyone who thinks it will is deceiving themselves.
      •  The fastest growing carbon emissions source on the (0+ / 0-)


        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 Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:49:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Because It's a High Visibility Battle That Brings (5+ / 0-)

    more publicity to the climate change and alt energy issues than we can get by only fighting the other skirmishes available at the moment.

    To the extent it isn't a direct solution, take it as a variety of demonstration.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:13:32 PM PST

  •  It's all about the money. (7+ / 0-)

    The nasty glop is worth money because people buy it. Billions of people buy it. So, as I see it, getting people to stop buying it is the result hoped for. The power of symbolic action regarding this desired result is not something to pooh-pooh.

    Gandhi understood the power of symbolic action. Protests succeed by changing hearts and minds and puncturing propaganda put forth by the greedy bastards who attempt to portray their efforts as noble and humanitarian rather than seedy efforts to get as much money as quickly as possible.

    Every victory, no matter how small, matters. Stopping Keystone XL won't solve the problem but it will bring us closer to the solution. A small step in the right direction is better than no step at all.


    muddy water can best be cleared by leaving it alone

    by veritas curat on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:13:39 PM PST

  •  Some other "non-emission" reasons (10+ / 0-)

    The fragility of the pipeline, and the likelihood of leaks.

    And once they started operating [the original Keystone pipeline] in October 2010, there’s been 35 spills. They said that there would be about five spills over a fifty year span. And that they would be minor spills.
    a significant portion of the steel [for Keystone XL] would not be produced in the U.S.... the vast majority of pipe for Phase 1 was produced outside of the U.S. by the same company that TransCanada is contracting with for steel pipe for Keystone XL – Welspun.”

    Spinner says that Welspun uses “substandard steel.”  In December 2010, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) ordered TransCanada to dig up ten sections of the Keystone pipeline after tests showed that defective steel could have been used in its construction. The agency found that from 2007 to 2009, there were several pipelines built containing “significant amounts of defective pipe that stretched under pressure

    And once they started operating [the original Keystone pipeline] in October 2010, there’s been 35 spills. They said that there would be about five spills over a fifty year span. And that they would be minor spills.

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:13:43 PM PST

    •  There you go. The oil industry's pathetic track (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, chimene, Siri, dewley notid

      record on safety is pretty much the only reason one needs to oppose this ridiculous idea. An oil leak in this case would be devastating.

      “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

      by 420 forever on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:21:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And The Trucking and Railroad Industries (0+ / 0-)

        Are they any better?  I would argue not and they tend to be much closer to populated areas where more damage can be done to human life, immediately.

        Look, I don't care if they underestmitated their accidents.  What a surprise.  Looks like the government already has enough laws to take care of cheap Chinese steel.  What's the estimate for rail or truck accidents?  Really, do you really want to tell me that it's better to ship crude oil through the metro Denver area, which is where it will come, that in a pipeline in bumfuck Kansas?


    •  if built (0+ / 0-)

      they should be made to use domestic steel ,there are some very highly respected componies in the US.

      In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted." Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

      by lippythelion69 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 01:15:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That 35 figure is seriously misleading. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      First of all, they summed the incidents from both Canada and the United States (although I find their concern for Canada touching, obviously US residents care about leaks on their part of the pipeline.)

      Secondly, of those, only two were more than a 100 gallons (PDF) with the rest falling into the realm of leaks you'd find from someone knocking over the used oil barrel at a Jiffy Lube.

      •  Compared to projection of 1 spill per decade, avg? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dewley notid

        5 minor spills over 50 years. Maybe as minor as knocking over a barrel at Jiffy Lube?

        "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

        by Catte Nappe on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:22:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which projection? (0+ / 0-)

          The table mentioned in the PDF shows an average of 5 serious spills (none of the spills involving Keystone was classified as a serious spill) a year in the United States.

          According to PHMSA technical staff (2011), the incidents experienced on the existing Keystone pipeline are not unusual start-up issues that occur on pipelines and are not unique.
          The pipeline seems to be performing above par, if anything.
  •  Not Here. Not Today. Not Any More. (10+ / 0-)

    We have to take stand somewhere.  Keystone XL and proposed coal exports are great tandem choices.

    The entire diary is based on "It's going to happen anyway, so don't bother."  By that reasoning, any time multiple entities propose to do something harmful, there would be no point in blocking any one of them, because the others are just going to do it anyway.  So - no harm would ever be blocked anywhere.

    When you stop one bad idea, you realize that it is possible.  

    If you can stop one, you can stop many.  The act of stopping a bad idea creates a conversation and elevates the issue.  The act of stopping a bad idea is a learning experience, creating the tools to stop other bad ideas.  When you work together to stop a bad idea, you make new friends, with whom you can work to stop the next bad idea.

    My scheduled 3:00 PT diary will have a fair amount on this topic.

  •  You have asked several times (12+ / 0-)

    If the only problem is NIMBY, as if that, in itself, was not a worthwhile reason to oppose the pipeline.  In this case, NIMBY is a substantial and completely justifiable reason for opposition.  Why should we accept environmental damage to our country for the benefit only of corporations and other nations?  Why should we take all the risks for a project we disapprove of?  Why should we sacrifice the natural beauty if our wild lands for a handful of (mostly temporary) jobs?
    Even if, as you say, your father is an oil exec, I for one feel we've taken enough punishment from oil companies already, and while they reap the benefits, they continue to pile up profits while getting huge subsidies, and don't give back to the people nearly enough.

    Ordinarily a NIMBY objection is to a worthwhile project that people want, but don't want to look at or live near.  In this case, it's a project that many people DON'T want at all.  It's less a case of "not in my backyard" than "not in anyone's backyard."

    Secondly, you make the argument that extraction and transportation of this oil product is going to happen anyway, so why try to stop it?  This is similar in my mind to the NRAs argument that criminals won' t obey gun laws, so why bother making them?  In both cases, it's better to get as close as possible to the right thing.

    "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

    by SottoVoce on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:33:11 PM PST

    •  Costs/benefits (7+ / 0-)

      Well said.

      Cost = damage to land, eminent domain removing land from people living where the pipeline will run through, wildlife habitat destruction, climate effects, other negative environmental effects.

      Benefit = billions of money to oil companies, plus a few jobs. Oil goes straight to the world market.

      Why should Americans support a project in which they bear almost all of the negative outcomes and receive almost none of the benefits?

      •  Because Dumb Ass (0+ / 0-)

        They get some of the money and some of the jobs.  This is exactly the thinking that ended up shipping all of our jobs overseas.

        At least Sotto Voce was brave enough to admit that he doesn't give a shit about the rest of the world's environment as long as it doesn't hurt us.

        Personally, i'll take pipelines over trucks and railroad cars any day.  I'll take the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas over any other state in the union and I've been to them all.  Those are the ugliest least important, very unpopulated places in practically the whole country.  But for the Black Hills, there's nothing there.  Personally, I'd rather have the pipeline coming through the US where we have some regulation of these things than leaving other countries to their own designs.

        •  Is it your sense of righteousness (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dewley notid

          that makes insulting folks seem reasonable?

          “Now, I can imagine the shocking headlines you’ll print tomorrow morning: 'More guns,' you’ll claim, 'are the NRA’s answer to everything!'" -- Wayne LaPierre

          by tytalus on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 03:32:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well that was a helpful contribution. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I'm sure the use of the term "dumb ass" convinced a lot of people that you were correct.

          You are acting like they would instead run it through some country with no environmental regulations. It would go through Canada, not China. Probably the line would be better regulated there than it would be here where Exxon is free to buy as many midwestern legislators as it feels like.

        •  Dont let MB see that name calling (0+ / 0-)

          He banned lots of folks for ad hominem attacks

          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 Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:53:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Who's back yard? (0+ / 0-)

      I mean, do you own any of the property in question?  Nebraska can't even vaguely be described as my back yard.  They just finished approving this pipeline...

      •  Are you asking me, or the diarist? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tytalus, dewley notid, Roger Fox

        The diarist keeps wondering:

        Basically, is it simply NIMBY?
        as if not wanting this pipeline in our backyard (read: our country) were really an insignificant--and selfish--objection.

        I'm nowhere nearby (I live in NYS), but I still consider bringing the pipeline though our country to be a mistake.

        "Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand." ~ Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird"

        by SottoVoce on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:49:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have a better question (10+ / 0-)

    Why build the damn thing in the first place? Jobs? Bullshit. The only long-term jobs will be from refinery expansion, which will number in the hundreds. Ho hum. It will not lower the cost of oil on American markets but we get all the negatives from pipelines leaks and increasing refinery emissions from heavy oil cracking. The tar sands crude has a ridiculous carbon footprint from well to tank (about double conventional sweet crude). Canada has gutted all environmental regulations with C-38 and has no plan to reduce carbon emissions. Why reward their reckless behavior with a pipeline that only benefits them?

    Yes, there are other ways for them to get the crap to market. All will add enormously to cost. Good. That will hurt demand.

    You do realize that the pipeline is merely to get the tar sands oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast where exports are increasing. By your comments, you seem to think that it is somehow in our interest to import oil from Canada as opposed to other sources. That assumes that it will be mostly for consumption here as opposed to refined here and ported elsewhere. There is no substantive basis for an energy security argument if a good bit of this crap is exported elsewhere.

    There is a large volume of high sulfur petroleum coke generated by tar sands refining. That cannot used here without big emissions consequences. Dipshit Republicans have opposed strict emissions for refineries. So what do you do with all that coke? Again, what is the benefit to us?

    I know what the benefits of the pipeline to Canada and the oil companies are. What are they for the American people? Who pays for emissions and the leaks? We do.

    Be radical in your compassion.

    by DWG on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:39:43 PM PST

    •  even the benefits to Canadians are at a terrible (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peregrine kate


      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 02:30:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As for Dams (0+ / 0-)

      Well, frankly, I hope you live in the desert SW like LA, Phoenix and Las VEgas.  Because, personally, I intend to dam up as much of our water as I can and leave you  high and dry.  Further, dams not a good thing to compare with.  Dams create lakes and there are literally tens of thousands of permanent jobs created by the recreational opportunities there, not to mention development of surrounding property.  dumb.

  •  There's a reason most Dems support a pipeline (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sophie Amrain

    or so the polsters tell me.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 12:48:25 PM PST

  •  come on, rei (0+ / 0-)

    Have you even studied the nightmare that is tar sands extraction? Must we do your homework for you? You have a search engine on your computer, the same as us.

    LOOK IT UP, for God's sake.

  •  Where to start (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, dewley notid, Roger Fox

    First, if they try to build other methods of getting this to market then we stop those too, it's a simply as that.  This is the line in the sand and if we lose here then this shit is over.

    No more pipelines, no more development.  If we don't fight for that then we lose.

    They're not just going to leave trillions of dollars in the ground if they can help it, and it would be naive to think otherwise.
    And it's our job to make sure they can't help it.  Is that perfectly clear?  The fact that it's worth a lot of money doesn't trump our future as a country and a race.  Oil is only getting more expensive from here on out, so if "it's going to make a lot of money" is the reason we can't stop these things then we may as well just give up now.
  •  Thx for diary REI, these are good questions. (5+ / 0-)

    The starting point for me, is basically, you have to start somewhere. I've been involved in several long-term campaigns against powerful entities (mostly based on environmental issues), and they're usually not very pretty or pleasant. In some ways, they're equivalent to the presidential election battles between the Dem and Rep candidates, without a powerful organisation supporting "your" candidate.

    So let's start with a hypothetical environmentalist or environmental organisation in the US. Let's presume that you believe that market forces (eg higher prices for gas/oil) can help initiate significant environmental change. That's a pretty realistic assumption.

    Above and beyond the facts you describe in your background data, you are aware that
    -Alberta tar sands extraction is extremely wasteful, in that it requires much more energy to extract than conventional techniques.
    -Alberta tar sands extraction is significantly more damaging than conventional techniques, in terms of air, surface water, and groundwater pollution.
    -Alberta tar sands extraction is being developed as an alternative to conventional oil sources, which are being tapped out.
    -Special interest groups affiliated with the Keystone Pipeline (eg the Koch brothers - have thrown enormous amounts of money at attempts to influence US politics, and have waged a massive misinformation campaign.

    Since you're based in the US, you don't have much influence over Canadian politics. But the Keystone pipeline is running through the US. Even if you don't have a realistic expectation that you can stop the Alberta tar sands extraction, you realize that you can use the Keystone pipeline for leverage.

    Campaigning against Keystone provides you opportunities to:
    -Build public awareness and support on the issue.
    -Build partnerships with other organizations, communities, and interest groups.
    -Get involved in local, state, and national politics on the issue, and show support for finding more environmentally responsible energy solutions.
    -Do fundraising to support the work you do.
    -Wage an attrition campaign against the Keystone pipeline champions/funders, by slowing, stalling, or stopping the project.

    And the alternative? Sit back and watch it happen, because it's going to happen anyway. I was going to write more here, but it would just be sarcastic.

    What confuses me about reactions like yours (which I do appreciate as genuine, and rational) is why bother telling people that their work is pointless? If this is going to happen anyway, why spend any energy informing people of the inevitable? What are you looking for?

    It appears that you're well-intentioned, and environmentally aware. As you say, "if I could snap my fingers and switch everyone over to driving an EV tomorrow, I would". Clearly you can't. You want things to be better, but there isn't a magic button, or a perfect solution. So how can you work constructively towards a better future?

  •  So, I've Been Through this Whole Thread (0+ / 0-)

    There is one post that links to another post.  I'm headed there now.  The rest of this is just opinion and supposition and inaccuracies.  Way to convince an undecided that this is worth even worrying about.  Barring a miracle in the other post, you will have convinced me never to worry or talk about this issue ever again, and I live in Colorado where there are dozens and dozens of these things that sure as hell cause a whole lot less problems that the one gasoline truck that last week spilled thousands of gallons into that "Pure Rocky Mountain Springwater" just above the Coors plant.  You know, trucks and trains aren't so good in the snow, even with good drivers.

    Facts people, facts.  Just one.  That's all i need and you ain't got anything but supposition, opinion and misinformation.  This is almost as embarassing as Fox News and their "facts."

  •  getting the tar is like mountaintop removal x 1000 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayoutinthestix, NonnyO, dewley notid

    it will use/pollute trillions of gallons of fresh water and create a dead zone thousands of square miles in size, in what is now pristine habitat.

    My best guess was a reflection that did not look back, an image lost in every mirror.

    by Zacapoet on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 03:27:57 PM PST

  •  Thank you for this diary. You've asked just (0+ / 0-)

    what I've been wondering.  And the thoughtful comments in response are very helpful.  I want a high carbon tax, period.  That's one of the things I'm holding out for.  Raise the gasoline tax. Yes it will be a drag on the economy but our long term survival is at stakes here folks.  We need a global carbon/gas tax.  Now, how to get it???

    The 'shift' is hitting the fan.

    by sydneyluv on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 04:06:39 PM PST

  •  Fracking = earthquakes (0+ / 0-)

    Ohio Earthquake Likely Caused by Fracking Wastewater, Scientific American, 4 January 2012

    The North Dakota Oil Fracking Boom Creates Clash of Money and Devastation, 22 September 2012

    How a supervolcano can threaten Earth, CNN, 30 August 2012 [Interesting article, several videos.]

    Alberta, where fracking is taking place, is just north of Yellowstone National Park.  Whatever affects plate tectonics up there, such as fracking, would affect the earth below Yellowstone.

    If you were/are an avid watcher of PBS, many years ago there was a show [? Nova? Nature? Scientific American? A different educational or documentary or scientific show? - I forget which one.] about the Supervolcano and its cycles..., and the supervolcano, aka Yellowstone Caldera, that could blow and disrupt life as we know it on this planet.  Massive loss of life across about half the North American continent (humans, animals, birds, plants) would be the first consequence, and it would get worse from there.

    Seriously, since fracking is causing pollution that endangers human and animal life as well as pollute the earth so nothing can grow, plus disrupt the tectonic plates and cause earthquakes..., and maybe-maybe-not a supervolcano eruption...???  [I'm not forgetting Iceland is sitting atop a couple of rumblers that surprise people now and then - so far it's on the order of something like the Mt. St. Helen's eruption - a lot of ash, it disrupted plane travel - a few people died in '81 when Mt. St. Helen's blew.]

    Why tempt fate when the more PRACTICAL, pragmatic, sensible, common-sense thing to do is develop alternative methods of non-polluting energy?  Wind and solar energy don't produce much in the way of pollution.  Rebuilding our energy infrastructure that is horribly outdated would be the practical thing to do.

    For that matter, what about energy conservation?  Just because we CAN open businesses 24/7 to satisfy the profiteering corporations, it does not logically follow that we MUST keep that current lifestyle.  Why not shut down places for part of the night, say..., starting with midnight to six a.m., then work back to 10 p.m.- 6 a.m.?  It would do us a world of good to actually sleep at night, physically, emotionally, mentally.  It's what we were designed to do before the advent of the industrial revolution.  Casinos would have tizzy fits, of course, but the employees wouldn't suffer for getting adequate sleep.

    If the Yellowstone Caldera blew, I'm expendable.  I'm old, I've lived at least 2/3-3/4 of my natural lifespan and I have health issues, so realistically I can't expect to live to age 100 (33 more years) like I'm planning.  But what about all my hard work that should, theoretically, survive me?  I'd rather that not all disappear under layers of ash to disappear forever.  I have other things that could go in museums..., but if the Caldera blows, the museums would also disappear.

    I just think it would be so much more PRACTICAL if we developed alternative energy sources, upgraded the power grids, conserved energy where we can, and quit fracking, quit drilling in oceans (that's just an accident waiting to happen in a monstrous hurricane), and otherwise drilling and battering and exploding Earth - our only home! - so that we have a planet to leave to our descendants.

    Let the corporate executives go off and eat the money they're hoarding in offshore accounts and tax havens (they're certainly not contributing anything to the tax base as is)..., and the rest of us can muddle along and work together to make this a better place to live.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 04:17:18 PM PST

    •  Gah! (0+ / 0-)

      Mt. St. Helen's blew in 1980, not '81.  I journaled about it that day because I didn't know it had blown.  I was painting my apartment, TV & radio off, wondering why the sky was getting dark and street lights coming on, wondering if my clocks were off or if the electricity had gone out and I'd not noticed it earlier..., and lo and behold, the ash started falling and I had to shut my windows and put up with the stench of new paint smell.  Ugh.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 04:21:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You can't raise the cost of gas on working . . . (0+ / 0-)

       people without having an affordable alternative.

  •  A lot of it has to do with the shitty pipeline (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, peregrine kate, ozsea1


    A particularly long pipeline filled with a particularly toxic mixture of petrolium, tar, and solvents, pumped under high pressure, across some of the most vulerable lands, and run by a company who has already shown that they cannot be trusted as far as their safety record running similar pipelines goes.

  •  I'm with Rei (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've posted too many comments on too many diaries about the XL pipeline over the last year or two.  Just can't quit it.  I shoulda written this diary a year ago and been done with it.

    I am utterly amazed at how many people are simply on fire over carbon pollution.  The huge attendance at meetings on the coal export terminals, the mass arrests in DC over the pipeline, there are more people active on climate change than I've seen active in decades on environmental issues.  I support that activism.

    I've seen over 1000 folks at these coal terminal hearings.  That's the most I've ever seen at an environmental  public hearing in over 25 years. Before, a few hundred  to oppose a power plant or landfill was a big meeting.

    So people are enraged at historic levels.   Kudos to the folks who've made so many aware.

    And the Tar Sands are an easy target.  Aerial photos of mines offend the eye, the oil is relatively more polluting to produce, the first pipeline had some leaks at the pumping stations, and so on.  Plus, XL need a permit from a politician, that could be denied.

    The Tar Sands lack a natural constituency.  Its not like a coal fired power plant that at least services a city.

    I think the XL haters can win.  Maybe they should. Every day of delay erodes the economic viability of the Tar Sands.  Already, the Baaken oil, for instance, has become more plentiful and easier to process than the Tar Sands.  In fact, we are shipping our Baaken crude oil by train to Canadian refineries.

    I saw the "inevitable" LNG import terminal schemes utterly collapse a while back, simply because they were delayed a few years, and the same could happen to the Tar Sands.

    Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

    by 6412093 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:55:53 PM PST

  •  SO your Dad is oil patch (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Orinoco crude has more nitrogen, metals, but less sulfur and about the same API.

    To be useful, almost all of it needs to go outside of Alberta for refining and distribution.  The cheapest way to ship it is by a pipeline.  The cheapest destination is the US.  Hence, the Keystone XL.
    You do realize the largest Tar sands product is syncrude?


    These 2 lights would be popular in the western EU, they match up well with existing refineries, the low sulfur with a refinery that has a coker, thermal cracker, and the high sulfur is fine for a refinery with a catalytic cracker.  which if the KXL is built, light syncrude can be shipped thru the LOOP by supertanker to western EU refineries.

    You said your dad is oil patch?

    Or build a pipeline through British Colombia to the coast
    Yo dude, they did that in 1953. Maybe you didnt realize that?

    Now without a pipeline how do you get 5mbpd to market from Alberta?

    Thats the projected production in 2030....

    Or... with only 1.7mbpd of pipeline capacity how do you get 5mbpd to market? Answer is you dont.

    Asians will be able to afford $10 a gallon gas for their scooters, we wont be able to afford $10 a gallon for our SUV's. SO in 2030 we wont be buying any Canadian heavy oil.

    Europeans have mass transit they're good too- like the Asians.

    Alberta Tar Sands, to be the 5th largest source of carbon emissions in the world, currently the fastest growing carbon emission source in the world.

    SO you are a climate denier?

    Just a guess, coming from an oil patch family.

    So are you a Republican, just a guess.

    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 Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:14:23 PM PST

  •  Maybe this video will help. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:35:41 PM PST

  •  Maybe this will help as well: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, Agathena

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 09:38:53 PM PST

  •  It appears to me his question was already answered (0+ / 0-)

    by himself, it's NIBMY.

    The answers have been available on this blog and on the internet, especially during this last week. He has obviously rejected them.

    The tar sands industry is planning to complete their destruction of 54,000 square miles of boreal forest in northern Canada. Delaying or stopping the pipelines keeps the industry landlocked to an extent. More importantly protests and demonstrations are seen as a risk to investors who might be unwilling to add to the $200 billion already invested in the tar sands. (60% of that investment is from the USA). Anything that can slow down production is beneficial to the earth.

    The boreal forest in Canada contains 1/5 of our fresh water. It is a carbon sink, capturing and storing more carbon than the rain forests. It is home to First Nations people and millions of animals. It must be protected.

    We have reached a pivotal point in our existence, we either change the way we live or we kill the planet. This is not my opinion. It is the opinion of respected climate scientists and environmentalists.

    Calling all this information, all this advocacy, activism and protesting NIMBY is just one attempt to trivialize the environmentalism that is picking up momentum.

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:41:15 PM PST

  •  Trillions of $ of coal assets must be stranded too (0+ / 0-)

    Your premise that we must burn it because it's worth trillions is suicidal.

    It's also a failure of basic logic.

    How much is our fresh water worth? How much are our oceans worth? How much is our atmosphere worth? How much are our forests worth?

    How much is the future of human life on this planet worth?

    The fact is that trillions of dollars of nominal asset value of fossil fuels must be left in the ground to save life on this planet as we know it.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 06:49:18 AM PST

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