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The Obama Administration has been delaying a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline for five years. They have been taking every bump in the road (and there have been plenty) as an excuse to further delay the decision. Ben Wolfgang writing at the Washington Times is now accusing the Obama administration of delaying the decision until it no longer has to be made.
“I’ve been of the mind that there’s no way it makes any kind of sense [for the president to avoid a decision on Keystone]. But it’s been well over five years and yet he keeps proving me wrong,” said Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the conservative Institute for Energy Research. “In my experience, a lot of times what happens is the way that the environmental community works, and the political community aligned with them, they will put all kinds of speed bumps in the way [of a project] and when the car falls apart because it takes one more speed bump they say, ‘Look at that. The car couldn’t make it.’”

The latest “speed bump” for Keystone, which would transport Canadian oil sands south from Alberta through the U.S. heartland to refineries on the Gulf Coast, centers on what some have called conflicts of interest involving the State Department’s lengthy review of the project.

Accusations of conflicts of interest has plagued the State Departments draft environmental review by Environmental Resources Management. Critics—led by environmental groups and key House Democrats such as Rep. Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona—point to the fact that Environmental Resources Management is a member company of groups, such as the American Petroleum Institute, that have publicly and aggressively lobbied for Keystone to be built.

Congressman Grijalva has spearheaded the opposition to the pipeline with a letter(pdf) which he sent to President Obama which was co-signed by 25 members of Congress. In the letter Grijalva stated: "We respectfully request that you delay the release of the Keystone XL SEIS until the inspector general's report is completed and has been made publicly available. The integrity of contractors is essential to the National Environmental Policy process. If the allegations that ERM lied to the Department of State about its conflicts of interest turn out to be true the Department of State must conduct a new EIS that is not tainted by conflicts of interest."

If a new EIS is initiated it could take several years—enough time for Obama's term to be over. Evidence does point to the administration allowing the XL pipeline to be killed by a thousand delays. It's a political win for the president which strengthens his relationship with his environmental base yet leaves him mainly blameless with the pipeline's proponents.

Originally posted to beach babe in fl on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 11:47 AM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and Kosowatt.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I could almost say "whatever works"... (31+ / 0-)

    ...but that crud is already coming south through smaller, older pipelines, as well as other means (rail, lake freighters), and leaving large amoints of CO2 and petcoke in its wake.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 11:53:41 AM PST

    •  of course, they would find a way to send some of (21+ / 0-)

      the crude south without the pipeline. But, the pipeline has been deemed essential to any real expansion of tar sands crude. So without pipeline no major expansion of tar sands.

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 12:04:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The pipeline is only deemed essential (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tofumagoo, Lujane, divineorder, Arabiflora

        by pipeline operators like the Koch Brothers.

        In the meantime, others (like Warren Buffet) has built rail infrastructure equal to KXL to move crude (mostly the more-polluting Bakken product) in the past 2 years and can surely do the same for the Alberta Tarsands where the economics are even more favorable.

        So, basically KXL has become moot, as I have been predicting at this site for 3 or 4 years already.

        But the demand goes on unabated.  When will we ever learn where/how to fight the demand for carbon based fuels?  (hint, hint - if left up to this site, never).

        •  That's not what the EPA says. (6+ / 0-)

          EPA Keystone letter (pdf)

          The EPA finds the argument you're making - that the sands will be developed regardless of whether the pipeline gets built - so implausible that they sent the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement back to be revised to support or drop that claim.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:22:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You must have posted the wrong link (0+ / 0-)

            the pdf you have there does not say what you say it says.

            It just says that the issue should be addressed.

            if you google "Rail emerging as long-term North American crude option" you'll get access to this article (note that clicking directly on the link leads to a firewall, but you can get the article by doing the google search for some reason).

            The article (from a trade journal) gives figures that it is now cheaper to ship bitumen to either the west or gulf coasts by rail than by pipeline.

            So, based on that development, even if the KXL were approved, there'd be no reason to build it.   Rail has made it moot.

            •  behind subscription wall claiming lowest $ in USA (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VL Baker, joe from Lowell
              For producers, pipelines are still the cheaper transport option by a wide margin.
              http://business.financialpost.com/...
              Rail is faster, pipelines cheaper.
              http://www.cnbc.com/...

              Rail is faster, with a wide differential rail can deliver
              http://oilandgas-investments.com/...

              .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 05:28:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I explained how to get the article I mentioned (0+ / 0-)

                if you wish to see it, it is not THAT difficult to cut and paste the title into the google search bar.

                Anyways, if you put your articles together, they make no sense.  One puts the cost of shipping by rail $15 to 20/bbl higher than by pipeline while another puts the entire cost at $14-18/bbl (which seems to imply that the pipeline people must pay you to ship your oil, kinda like a negative interest rate for borrowing money or something like that - if true, I can definitely see how that would be attractive financially for the oil producers!).

            •  Or you're seeing what you want to see. Again. (0+ / 0-)

              There's really very little room for misinterpretation in that letter.

              State made a claim - your claim - and the EPA sent the Report back for revision because they didn't buy the claim. They're telling State to put up or shut up.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:51:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  They provided absolutely no evidence (0+ / 0-)

                for the claim that rail is not viable.

                It is clear that it is,

                as evidenced by savvy investors such as Warren Buffet moving into the sector big time:

                Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn are reaping the benefits of surging demand for railroad tank cars to haul shale oil from beyond the reach of existing pipelines.

                Buffett’s Union Tank Car Co. is working at full capacity and Icahn’s American Railcar Industries Inc. (ARII) has a backlog through 2014. Trinity Industries Inc. (TRN), the biggest railcar producer, began converting wind-tower factories last year to help meet demand for train cars that can transport the petroleum product.

                All three are getting a boost from a shale-oil boom that’s poised to make the U.S. the world’s largest crude producer by 2020. Rail carloads of crude tripled last year to more than 200,000, and demand for tanks designed for it soared, helping both Trinity and American Railcar outstrip the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

                Basically, rail has enabled the Bakken to transport an KXL-sized bit of crude oil over the past 2 or 3 years and the factories are now in place to do the same for the Alberta Tar Sands.

                I mean, billions and billions of $$s have already been invested - and even if the billionaires who do this are completely evil fuckwads, chances are that they aren't entirely stupid (i.e., they're not just simply throwing their money away on a harebrained scheme . .. ).

                •  EPA comments don't provide evidence. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT

                  They review, and ask for, evidence provided by the applicant.

                  The way the EIS process works is that the applicant, in this case the State Department, is the one producing the Statement, and the EPA either accepts or rejects that statement. In this case, they rejected it.

                  Also, you seem to be conflating two points: "Money can be made through rail transport" vs. "Rail transport is just as economic and viable for the oil companies as pipeline transport."

                  Warren Buffet isn't investing in the oil fields; he's investing in rail transport. Since it's the oil companies who would be paying for that rail transport, his investment demonstrates that they would be paying quite a bit of money indeed if they go that route - and that's exactly the point. It would cost the oil companies a great deal of money to move the bitumen by rail.

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:23:16 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes it would (0+ / 0-)
                    It would cost the oil companies a great deal of money to move the bitumen by rail.
                    but it would cost them even more to move the bitumen via a newly-built pipeline.

                    The costs are project to be about $15.10 via newly-built pipeline vs. about $13.50 by rail to more a bbl of bitumen to the gulf coast.

                    Of course, those figure could and will change - e.g., if natural gas gets more expensive (which is a reasonable bet) the cost to generate electricity to operate the pipeline will go up . .. .

        •  We know how to fight demand (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VL Baker

          And we have for quite a while. We can start by not eating meat. Of course, when you mention that then people's taste becomes more important than the environment. Almost every other way we can make a serious dent in demand requires action from the government on things like public transit, etc. And that's not happening any time soon, so we're left with nothing. If reducing demand is the only way then we're out of luck.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:23:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Ehhhhh, they need 7-8 pipelines like KXL (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, peregrine kate, Creosote

        They want to produce 8mbpd for 70-85 years.

        They have Trailblazer and Energy East proposals to the Atlantic, KXL to the Gulf, Northern Gateway to the west. Thats about 2.4mbpd of pipeline capacity... And none has made headway over 5-8 years.

        Even if all these bitumen pipelines are built, they still need about 3mbpd of pipeline capacity to reach peak production, roughly 4 more pipelines the size of KXL.

        Then theres a fuster cluck of natural gas pipeline proposals to feed nat gas into the tar sands production area, one of these pipeline proposals goes back to at least 1980.

        If they cant get energy in to expand production, and you can't expand pipeline capacity to get product to market, well you are truly fooked.

        Essential? For PR reasons, sure, but for practicality, KXL is not essential.

        .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 03:00:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Look at the bright side; (7+ / 0-)

      1. Any rail spill will be much smaller and immediately noticed compared to a pipeline.

      2. Shipping by rail requires many more jobs than the supposed "job-creating" pipeline.

      Pretty meager silver linings, but hey....

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 01:39:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good point, I agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        I really hate the idea of shipping this crap underground as a lot of damage would already be done before it is even noticed.  And like you said, building better rail systems that are more secure would also create jobs, probably a lot more than a stupid pipeline.  
        Plus a vast improvement in the rail system infrastructure could be designed for other purposes.  And what other  use would the pipeline have be if we in fact find better ways of creating energy?

        Mr. Boehner, where are the jobs?

        by Tx LIberal on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:01:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Defeat by delay is a time-honored tactic. (20+ / 0-)

    In this case, like many others (power plants in the late 1990s, ethanol plants in the early 2000s, LNG import terminals in the mid-2000s) the economics of these ambitious mega-projects erodes as time passes.

    By now, even the Kochs are re-engineering their Corpus refinery to handle Eagle Ford crude, not Tar Sands.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 11:58:34 AM PST

    •  PADDII has over a million barrels a day (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, divineorder

      of cracker capacity, used mostly for Venezuelan oil. They have been waiting for Alberta tar sands for 7-8 years.

      .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 03:04:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm interested exactly who or what was (0+ / 0-)

      defeated here . . . .

      Like you say, the refineries originally intended for tarsands are being refitted for other purposes (as compare to being shut down, for example).

      While the tarsands goes elsewhere.

      IOW, in a best case scenario this means that crude oil supplies are just being sloshed around the continent in a different pattern, in a worst case scenario this represents an INCREASE in production and refining capacity.

  •  This (12+ / 0-)
    delaying the decision until it no longer has to be made.
    is what I'd do.  It's has the correct outcome with less room for criticism.  Any critique of the lack of decision will have to be far more complicated and have to focus on the ever exciting subject of procedural moves.  Since it can't fit in 3 sentences or less then it's less likely to catch on among the bubble people in media.
  •  Yeah, sometimes spinlessness and gutlessness are (8+ / 0-)

    the way to go.  Can kicking works too. As does indecisiveness.  Brilliant.  Another win at n-dimensional chess.  

    How can anyone cheer this?  It won't die, just be put off.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 12:13:15 PM PST

  •  Totally stinks (7+ / 0-)

    He needs to take a position on this and do the right thing.
    Lead in other words.
    Use his No as a firm jumping off point away from his drill baby drill and free fracking death water for everyone, towards clean renewable life saving energy with a large side order of jobs.
    Win Win.

    If this one happens to die in the next two years, another oil soaked bad idea is just down the road, biding time, waiting for another opportunity, another president, and so one and so on.
    Win a little, Lose a lot, until there's nothing left.

    It's a damned fine time to take a stand.
    THAT would get a standing cheer out of me.

    •  Would be fine (0+ / 0-)

      If he were a green energy only president, which he never, ever claimed to be.

      http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/

      by DAISHI on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 12:56:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In other words, RELEASE THE BIDEN! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick

      Then let Obama agree to save face. It's been done before.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 01:41:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Leadership is not in Obama's personality. (3+ / 0-)

      He gave some good speeches, but that was years ago.

      •  Bin Laden? Iran Nuclear Deal? Guns? etc... (6+ / 0-)

        The raid didn't happen because Obama gave a speech. He addressed the nation (gave a speech) after the mission he ordered was a success. The nuclear agreement was kept secret from Israel and America's allies, including Britain. Again, he gave a speech after the deal was done. On the latter, I seem to recall Obama making statement (a speech) after Sandy Hook, telling the American public we can't go on like this, something had to be done. Unfortunately he can't pass laws by himself, and the loons up on Capitol Hill didn't even sign off on background checks.

        •  That being said, Obama should say NO to Keystone (0+ / 0-)

          That would be real leadership.

        •  Those don't add up to a hill of beans. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, lostinamerica

          Meanwhile, the military-industrial complex is bankrupting the country, Israel is still dictating U.S. Middle East policy, its one setback over Iran notwithstanding, Wall Street banksters are still getting off scot-free, Guantanamo is still open, Obama is still trying to cut Social Security, inequality has accelerated, the NSA is still eavesdropping on your conversations and internet habits, etc, etc, etc.

          And with all of those failures you provide your puny list? Please.

          And Sandy Hook? Leadership would have meant staying at it instead of just dropping gun control. Obama was no profile in courage on that one or on anything else.

          Leadership isn't in Obama's personality. And as for speeches, his last good one was in Virginia the night before the 2008 election: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/...

          Enjoy it. It's all downhill from there.

    •  This the Missouri Compromise of carbon (3+ / 0-)

      Here we have a half measure aiming at limiting but not ending a moral evil.  I guess half measures are better than none.  This is coming from a President who praises the big expansion of drilling in the US. Not that different from Bush on this measure

      •  Meanwhile, we've passed Saudi Arabia and Russia... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lostinamerica

        …as oil producers and coal exports are at record levels.

        •  No, not even close, 2 mbpd behind Russia (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe from Lowell

          & a mBPD behind KSA.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 03:30:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  those are 2011 numbers (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            divineorder, lostinamerica

            today its

            Saudi 11.73 mbpd
            US 11.11 mbpd
            Russia 10.40 mbpd.

            http://www.eia.gov/...

            •  NIETHER source says the US is #1. (0+ / 0-)

              wiki uses 2013 estimated, EIA is for 2012.

              SO no,

              those are 2011 numbers

              .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 04:32:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually, by the time Obama's term is over... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lostinamerica, Mindful Nature

                …we'll have passed Saudi Arabia.

                Bill McKibben nailed it when he said this: (5+ / 0-)
                Our hope was that we could inspire him to keep those promises. Even then, there were plenty of cynics who said Obama and his insiders were too closely tied to the fossil-fuel industry to take climate change seriously. But in the two years since, it's looked more and more like they were right – that in our hope for action we were willing ourselves to overlook the black-and-white proof of how he really feels.

                If you want to understand how people will remember the Obama climate legacy, a few facts tell the tale: By the time Obama leaves office, the U.S. will pass Saudi Arabia as the planet's biggest oil producer and Russia as the world's biggest producer of oil and gas combined. In the same years, even as we've begun to burn less coal at home, our coal exports have climbed to record highs. We are, despite slight declines in our domestic emissions, a global-warming machine: At the moment when physics tell us we should be jamming on the carbon brakes, America is revving the engine.

                http://www.rollingstone.com/...

                Obama leave behind one of the darkest periods in our nation's history. There is not one thing he will not do for big business, no matter how destructive it is to our nation or to our planet.
                But he makes great speeches.

                by praenomen on Wed Dec 25, 2013 at 01:14:45 AM CET

                [ Parent | Reply to This ]

                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                I was mistaken when I said we already had. Meanwhile, we've passed Russia and are behind Saudi Arabia by about 5%. And coal exports are at record levels.

                Of course, it also depends on what you look at:

                Oct 15 (Reuters) - The United States has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become the world's biggest oil producer as the jump in output from shale plays has led to the second biggest oil boom in history, according to leading U.S. energy consultancy PIRA.

                U.S. output, which includes natural gas liquids and biofuels, has swelled 3.2 million barrels per day (bpd) since 2009, the fastest expansion in production over a four-year period since a surge in Saudi Arabia's output from 1970-1974, PIRA said in a release on Tuesday.

                It was the latest milestone for the U.S. oil sector caused by the shale revolution, which has upended global oil trade. While still the largest consumer of fuel, the rise of cheap crude available to domestic refiners has turned the United States into a significant exporter of gasoline and distillate fuels.

                http://www.reuters.com/...

                So maybe I'm right after all.

                It's appalling no matter how you look at it, my Obama-admiring friend. So you know where you can stick your petty little quibble, bless your heart.

    •  You assume he'll win the political fight. Why? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LakeSuperior, sviscusi

      Have you ever looked at any polling on the Keystone pipeline, or natural gas and oil drilling in general? They are wildly popular.

      You can't just leap to the conclusion that Barack Obama's awesome rhetorical awesomeness will produce a 20-30 point swing on one of the most-debated issues in politics.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:26:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Lead"? Isn't that Number 82... (0+ / 0-)

      ... on the Periodic Chart?

      "Oh, THAT lead!

      Too busy... gotta jet... C-ya!"

      We've been fed this kind of "leadership" from the first six months after Round One of the health care reform boondoggle where it was damned near talked to death by both DINOs and neocons - and the saga continues, even in the face of incontrovertible evidence that this thing is an environmental time bomb designed to enrich a few petroleum industry executives at the expense of the environment and the health of every living thing around it.

      This guy will compromise on just about ANYthing... but when it requires a stance, the kid gloves come out immediately.

      I'd like to see him and Liz Warren in a fist fight. I've got dibs on Liz.

  •  The complaints (until now) about... (31+ / 0-)

    ...delaying a decisions sounds as if the whole legal process around such a project can just be overridden with no consequences. The delays have been fully within that process and those (like a majority in both houses of Congress) who have sought to get a quicker decision have taken the stance (without specifically saying so) that the process should ignored.

    We still don't have the final (post-public comment) EIS from the State Department. Until that is published, there is nothing the president could legally do even if the conflicts of interest and lies of ERM weren't at issue, which, of course, they are.

    Whether the pipeline is approved, rejected or left in limbo by the Obama administration, our task as environmental advocates is to stop extraction and burning of the tar sands and all other fossil fuel resources and anything that gets in the way of that task.  Keystone XL is just one battle among many across several fronts.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 01:08:31 PM PST

    •  exactly. Our tactics must be the same if pipeline (5+ / 0-)

      is rejected or approved; we must continue fighting against fossil fuel interests.  I think if had been rejected initially many would think the fight is over. This has given us time to build a movement.

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 02:15:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would tip ur comment, MB (0+ / 0-)

      but DK4 is just playing nice anymore, No functioning buttons, nor visible rec links in the diary header.

      What's going on?

      “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

      by ozsea1 on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 02:19:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When that happens to me, (0+ / 0-)

        it's usually because I haven't allowed ajax.googleapsis.com or haven't logged in.

        FWIW.

        "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

        by cotterperson on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 03:01:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  ozsea1 -- check to see if you have been logged (0+ / 0-)

        out by the mystery in the software?

        it happens to me occasionally and it usually takes me forever to figure out what's happened!

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

        by chimene on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 03:49:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  A multi front battle, yup. (9+ / 0-)

      The western front (Northern Gateway) is stalled, the center (KXL) is stalled, and now the tar sands partners have maneuvered east to the Atlantic, Trailblazer and Energy East proposals have been dragged off the shelf and dusted off.

      If one looks at the stalled natural gas pipelines that are required to power expansion of tar sands production.....

      It starts becoming clear that every economically preferable method of bitumen transportation is becoming a bottleneck, and its not clear the energy required to continue tar sands expansion will make it to Alberta.

      I am encouraged.

      .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 03:39:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You said: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox, 6412093
        If one looks at the stalled natural gas pipelines that are required to power expansion of tar sands production....
        Natural gas for combustion is not necessarily required for tar sands production if the tar sands process units include cokers, which generate considerable refinery fuel gas for fueling tar sands process operations.
        •  Right, but doesnt that cut the profit margin down (0+ / 0-)

          if one uses tar sands to power the tar sands......

          .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 04:50:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  You said: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093
      our task as environmental advocates is to stop extraction and burning of the tar sands and all other fossil fuel resources and anything that gets in the way of that task.
      There is a major problem in that nothing in your demand  to stop extraction and burning of fossil fuel resources is either presently legally enforceable, nor is gaining a statute requiring such cessation of the burning of fossil fuels likely in the near to midterm (i.e. in the next decade).

      If you create a primary advocacy mission to stop combustion of all fossil fuels, rather than creating standards to regulate or limit emissions of greenhouse gas emissions which are already required by law and rather than creating a primary focus on energy conservation, then you have no compelling hammers to achieve your objective in the practical and real physical world.   Having no legal hammers to achieve the result means there is no way to prosecute your decision objective in the real world.

      The collateral consequences of a cessation of all fossil fuel combustion, implemented tomorrow, would be catastrophic economic dislocation.

      Moreover, a cessation policy on all fossil fuels would require a massive shift of heat duty from natural gas combustion to electric heat -- creating an enormous new demand for electricity generation and transmission unlike any that has ever occurred.   The reason for this is that there is no solar retrofit technology available for conventional residential and commercial structures sufficient and technically feasible for meeting 100% of space heating needs in conventional construction in cold climates like the northern United States.

      I think it is far better for Democrats to embrace greenhouse gas emissions control requirements, energy stewardship and energy conservation.....instead of calling for a ban on all fossil fuel combustion.  

      Note also....that even though the Sierra Club claims to be "beyond natural gas".....they don't really mean it, as Sierra Club has both recent and past decisions/positions on record calling for coal fired power plants to be re-powered with natural gas....which would entail a dramatic increase in deliveries of natural gas to a state already heaviiy dependent on it....like Michigan.

      The entire deal that Michael Brune was out praising with the Los Angeles Department of Light and Power getting out of coal combustion involved that electric utility increasing their natural gas utilization even more than their wind/solar utilization.

      •  A complete ban on combustion of fossil fuels (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox

        would mean an end to the steel industry, which requires process use of carbon monoxide to reduce iron oxide as ore to elemental iron in preparation to steel production and natural gas furnaces for the heating, treating and shaping of steel products for production.

      •  I don't disagree with the idea that we... (4+ / 0-)

        ...need to put controls on greenhouse gas emissions or focus on energy conservation, energy efficiency and the use of ever-more alternatives to fossil fuels.

        Indeed, I've pushed (as journalist, columnist and activist) the first two since 1978 when I started my three-year stint at the Solar Energy Research Institute—which is now the National Renewable Energy Lab.  (My SERI tenure was, along with that of scores of others, cut short by Ronzo's anti-renewables ideology).

        And I harbor no illusions that the effort to stop extraction and burning of fossil fuels will be easy, politically or technologically. If it were, we (and the rest of the world) would be very much farther along in doing so.

        Obviously, I'm not talking about doing this tomorrow and I wouldn't be even if there were no political impediments.

        It is also true that we need to switch to electricity that is generated by means other than fossil fuels, and that such a switch will be massive and massively costly. It's where trillions in public infrastructure spending should be primarily focused over the next two to three decades. The fact that we are, as a nation, so far behind the leaders in making this switch (both conceptually and on the ground) is a testament to decades of delay that have brought us to our current predicament.

        So, my comment was not meant to suggest that tomorrow we ban all fossil fuel extraction and burning. That's simply not doable. But it is, and has to be, our long-term goal. We as Democrats should write that into our platform. But we as eco-activists must fight to reach that result even if the Democratic Party is unable to persuade enough of its elected members to make it a policy priority, which so far it obviously has not.

        With some exceptions like the one you note regarding coking of steel, the goal of ending fossil-fuel burning must not to be excluded from our public talk of the required shift in how our society powers itself. We need to be upfront about that and stubborn. Every minute we delay adds more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, so it is incumbent upon us not to adopt new policies or stick with old ones that operate under the pretense that we have an infinite number of those minutes before it is necessary to act. We most certainly do not.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 07:17:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I suspect this is right; but a dangerous tactic. (8+ / 0-)

    As long as it's just delay and defer, there might be a confluence of events, under which Obama will find it useful to offer up KXL in some horse-trading "grand bargain", in order to gain something else.

    Given that so many Dem Senators are in bed with the fossil industry, that "something" could be anything really.

    My gadfly advice to him, if he's really against KXL, to go ahead, bite the bullet and kill the thing. The political damage (if there is any) will blow over, and more importantly - a mainstream change of perception regarding global warming will take place.

    Just like Obama's public change-of-mind regarding gay marriage has helped accelerate its acceptance.

    Similarly, nixing a major project that "makes business sense" (never mind that it doesn't, that's the CW) just because of global warming - will signal to the public that global warming really is serious, it's not just a pair of words.

    oh, btw: republished to CCSOS.

    •  thanks for republishing. Even if rejected there (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Assaf, Fiona West

      are many who still would not believe cc is serious; it has to be at their front door.

      Macca's Meatless Monday

      by VL Baker on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 02:17:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Have you ever considered the possibility of defeat (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fiona West, sviscusi

      Picking fights you probably won't win is a terrible idea.

      Sadly, the Keystone XL pipeline is hugely popular, as is drilling in general. Making a decision to kill it the poster child for climate change is a terrible strategic idea.

      Killing it softly while highlighting some action or issue that is more of a political winner - CAFE standards, or solar/wind installations, or closing coal plants, say - is how to signal to the public that global warming is important in a way that actually wins support for the issue instead of losing it.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:33:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In what universe is "drilling hugely popular"? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, snoopydawg, Fiona West, Swampfoot

        Only in Fox News and fossil boardrooms.

        People don't enjoy the sight of drilling rigs outside their homes, that's for sure. No one who is not directly involved in the fossil industry, or is not a hard-core wingnut, is too fond of drilling per se.

        So I wonder what's your evidence that "drilling is hugely popular". Do jobs related to drilling score very high on the most wanted jobs? Does the oil/drilling industry score high on "most admired companies" polls? I seriously doubt it.

        If there's one thing this site is about - is not to give in to defeatist Beltway CW like this.

        The fact is, the grassroots movement against KXL has cut across traditional conservative/progressive boundaries.

        •  You don't have actual data, do you? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          I do.

          You Gov poll 2013

          1. How do you feel about increased drilling for oil and natural gas offshore in U.S. waters?
          Strongly favor ...........................................................37%
          Mildly favor .............................................. 21%
          Mildly oppose .........................................13% Stronglyoppose ........................................15%
          Not sure .................................................15%

          Pew Poll 2013

          Most Americans (65%) continue to favor building the Keystone XL pipeline, perhaps the most politically contentious energy issue in Barack Obama’s second term. Yet when it comes to another issue making headlines – a proposal to tighten greenhouse gas emissions from power plants – the public favors stricter limits, by exactly the same margin as the Keystone pipeline (65% to 30%).

          You want more? I can find more, very easily, because all of the public opinion data goes in the same direction.

          It's a good idea to actually look up information about public opinion, and not just assume that the public feels the way you want them to.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:47:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Obamacare has been losing in polls since passage (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VL Baker

            often by similar margins to what you show about KXL.

            By your logic, Obama should have walked away from Obamacare because it's "a losing issue".

            In contrast, not a single front-row politician (or prominent group in Congress) has ever taken the stand against KXL as their top issue.

            The mainstream media has never presented the anti-KXL case, except for framing it as a fringe "tree-hugger" pet issue.

            Most people don't know squat about the pipeline, about the context, and about the dire global-warming warnings by experts regarding KXL.

            All they know is that everyone except Obama is for it, and that all the "experts" they hear in the media cannot figure out why in the world Obama is holding it up.

            What the polls reflect is just what the silent majority superficially heard in the media. Given this, 58% in support is rather lukewarm, at most. As you say yourself, people favor "doing something" about global warming.

            The connection between that "something" and stopping KXL has not been made in the mainstream discourse. But there's no deep-seated public opposition to making this connection.

            Before the 2004 Presidential race started, Joe Lieberman was the putative "Dem frontrunner" in polls, because the public had hardly heard about anyone else, but they did know him. So no one was even close to Lieberman's numbers, until they started to speak for themselves and make themselves known. That's exactly all you have here.

            Anyway, all that is moot. Obama doesn't need anyone in Congress or in the media, or opinion polls, for making this decision. Just like he's stuck with other far more unpopular policies b/c he thought they were right - he can do it here.

      •  the reason pipeline was chosen as issue is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fiona West

        because of the importance of 'keeping it in the ground'  It's a life and death issue for our species. We must stop the extraction of fossil fuels.  We also need to reduce demand such as with fuel efficiency etc.  We must do it all...

        I've written about it here

        Macca's Meatless Monday

        by VL Baker on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:47:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The importance of climate change.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LakeSuperior

          makes intelligent strategic thinking about how to win the politics more important, not less important.

          "But climate change is terribly important" is not a good reason to make political blunders.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:49:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Stopping the KXL pipeline northern portion has not (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roger Fox, peregrine kate

          kept it in the ground because tar sands heavy sour crude has become a primary source of crude for midwest refineries, and the tar sands crude has already been reaching the Gulf-south-central area through other re-purposed pipelines.

          .....so relying on hopes about 'keeping it in the ground' and tying such a desire to the KXL northern portion isn't a very effective strategy.   Neither is the 'KXL is an export pipeline' strategy we hear so often about.

          The most effective strategies against the KXL pipeline involve argument that its border crossing and its construction would make the United States more dependent on a non-USA source of liquid tar sands hydrocarbons with its intrinsic high greenhouse gas emissions footprint.  ....and further, that doing so is not consistent with establishing national objectives for the limitation of greenhouse gas emissions.

          The national policy should be not to encourage such dependencies and to consider the additional environmental burden implicit in every gallon of tar sands crude over comparable conventional petroleum sources.

          Framing the objections to KXL in such a manner is more likely to be successful in justifying a presidential decision against the pipeline on grounds of 'national interest.'

      •  Do you have anything to back up the claim (0+ / 0-)

        that KXL is "hugely popular"? From everything I can find a majority supports it because they think it will increase energy security, even though it will do no such thing.

        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

        by AoT on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:55:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You just acknowledged that it's popular! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fogiv

          Of course I have data to back up the (pretty much universally known, even by you) "claim" that the Keystone project is popular. So do you - that's why you had to provide an explanation about why it's so popular.

          Whether the majority supports it for a good reason or a bad reason, the politics are the politics, and the data is the data.

          A majority, better than 2:1, of the public supports the Keystone pipeline. That's reality. "Oh, but they shouldn't." No, they shouldn't - but they do.

          That's reality. Discussion of political strategy needs to be reality-based.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 05:00:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You know you could have just responded (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VL Baker

            with the statistics you linked to in another comment.

            That's reality. Discussion of political strategy needs to be reality-based.
            The reality of the political situation is that a majority of people won't support the necessary actions we need to take to mitigate global warming. The politically "realistic" option is to not do those things. The right thing isn't ever going to be popular because it means sacrifice. So you're idea that we can fix the problem and do what needs to be done is the opposite of realistic.

            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

            by AoT on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 05:07:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The majority is still very much up for grabs. (0+ / 0-)

              That's why it's so important to win the issue.

              Majorities have supported big environmental efforts in the past, like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, that came with an up-front cost.

              But even if I'm wrong, there is no other choice but to try to win the issue. It might be possible to deal with the problem if there is strong public support for doing so. It is absolutely impossible to deal with climate change without public support. Little tweaks like killing the KXL pipeline, that can be done without public support, are never going to add up to anything close to enough. The only possibility for implementing an adequate policy is to do so with solid public backing, because that's the only way the policy is even going to be big enough.

              It's your fatalism that's the opposite of realism here.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:44:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The majority supports KXL (0+ / 0-)

                because they think it will reduce our energy dependence on foreign oil. Which of course doesn't make sense, and even if we consider Canada domestic still isn't true. A majority of the country supports action on climate change, even in the republican party. The problem is that the denialists also have their PR machine aimed at any specific attempts to stop carbon extraction or mitigate climate change in any way really. Not that you don't know that. But really, fighting this fight now means building power. Winning against KXL, which we are doing, means we have more pull in the future.

                My realism is based on seeing historical movements for change, they never have majority support until they do. It always comes at the very end, if at all. MLK was profoundly disliked, and even hated, by most of the country for his whole life. And yet he still managed to win civil rights victory after victory. We aren't going to win this in PR.

                If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                by AoT on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 11:26:08 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  What about losing on KXL? (0+ / 0-)

                  You write that "winning against KXL...means we have more pull in the future," but that's a very questionable assertion. Being able to ram through a policy against public opinion doesn't necessarily translate into greater public support. It's liable to piss the public off, and even result in political consequences, such as lost elections, that leave you with less pull in the future.

                  I can understand the argument that ramming through an unpopular, but right, policy gets you that policy itself. But how is ramming through an unpopular policy is a very public way supposed to translate into greater influence in the future, instead of its opposite?

                  "They never have majority support until they do" is not an answer to the question of how to build majority support.

                  Also, Martin Luther King was not "profoundly disliked, and even hated, by most of the country for his whole life." He became unpopular towards the end of the 1960s because of his anti-war efforts and housing campaigns in the north, but as this piece shows, he was viewed favorably by the public prior to that.

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 12:11:32 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There is a big chunk of the public (0+ / 0-)

                    that likes to win. When you win then you get them on your side. Once KXL is killed then the truth about KXL will begin to trickle out, and people will want to be on the winning side. Again, the majority, even in the GOP supports action on climate change. They support the pipeline because they have been lied to. once it's dead those lies will start to dissipate. The disinfo program won't have a point so it will go away meaning that the facts will get out.

                    Look at marriage equality if you want a similar example. The majority didn't support it until it started winning in court. Then people started to hop on board the band wagon. We haven't had a single significant victory in the movement against climate change. This one would be a game changer.

                    Thank you for the correction on MLK.

                    If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                    by AoT on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 12:28:46 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That's quite optimistic. (0+ / 0-)

                      Given the state of the climate-denial industry, and the fossil fuel propaganda effort as a whole, the assumption that the truth with inevitably win out once the President denies a permit seems rather sunny.

                      Marriage equality actually produced a visible outcome - same-sex couples pushing strollers down the street - that people could see with their own eyes. I really don't see a similar dynamic with the denial of a pipeline permit.

                      Compare that to the growth of the commercial solar and wind industry. People have seen solar and wind installations built, and operating, and being economically viable, thus disproving the arguments of the opponents. I don't see the absence of a pipeline producing such poster children for the cause.

                      Art is the handmaid of human good.

                      by joe from Lowell on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 10:52:08 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  When a majority of republicans (0+ / 0-)

                        say that global warming is a problem and we have to do something about it you can bet I'm at least a little optimistic.

                        I don't see the absence of a pipeline producing such poster children for the cause.
                        Good point. Also, it would be better if it were outright killed and not delayed to death. At some point we will get to declare victory, and we need to be loud about it.

                        If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                        by AoT on Sat Dec 28, 2013 at 12:55:18 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

  •  There are new developements in Canada. (8+ / 0-)

    The Gateway Pipeline to the west coast has received a tentative approval (with 209 conditions) to go through.  Final approval or disapproval will be in 180 days, but it looks like the Conservative Government intends to push it through.  The PM of Canada, Stephen Harper, is the son of an oil executive.  The pipeline to the east coast will probably get approved as well, and the Kinder Morgan pipeline to Vancouver.  Living in Canada as I do, I don't see industrial kingpins allowing it to go any other way in Canada, and they know that when the oil gets to a salt water terminal, it will get the full world price, which is much higher than it is right now.  I think any decision on Keystone, to approve or disapprove, will be anything other than a diversion or a slow down in the oil sands bitumen getting to market.  In the long run, China will be happy to get the oil that goes to the west coast. In the meantime, as someone else in this thread suggested, the oil will get out, and by transportation systems (rail, older pipelines) that are much more dangerous to the environment.  I am not pro oil, I am just realistic about what the oil industry means to the economy of Canada, and we should be aware that this is the very highest priority to powers in Canadian industry and government that have a lot of clout.

    Please don't call me a troll.  I have a long record of progressivism here.  I am only trying to look long term and be realistic as to the eventual outcome.

    God is innocent: Noah built on a flood plain.

    by alphorn on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 01:28:46 PM PST

    •  Undoubtedly right, but very depressing. eom (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Egalitare, OleHippieChick

      The number of children and teens killed by guns in one year would fill 134 classrooms of 20 students each. (Chlldren's Defense Fund, 2013)

      by nzanne on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 01:34:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I live in Alberta. I am as much of a junkie (5+ / 0-)

        for Canadian politics as I am for U.S. politics, and the writing is on the wall up here.

        The native bands that oppose the Gateway Pipeline will be bought off, at least enough to give a fig leaf of approval for the project.  The B.C. government will be bought off; they are beginning a process of negotiating the terms for Gateway to go across the mountains and set up a terminal on the coast.  The Kinder Morgan pipeline to Vancouver doesn't have the complicated process for approval that the other pipelines do because it is an expansion of an existing pipeline.   They will play off the east coast pipeline against the west coast pipeline and both ends of the country will want a share of the oil wealth that the oil sands represents.  

        The unfortunate truth of Canada is that our manufacturing industries are not very successful, and natural resources, mainly oil, are the only thing that is keeping our economy going, and paying for those fantastic social programs that all progressives in the States rightly admire.

        They have a long view for the oil sands up here, and the amount of oil in the Canadian oil sands is vast.  Oil companies are used to seeing projects in 15 to 20 year (or longer) timelines.  They have already invested hundreds of billions of dollars in the oil sands.  It will be hard to stop.

        God is innocent: Noah built on a flood plain.

        by alphorn on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 02:00:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As solar and wind pick up (7+ / 0-)

          it will put downward pressure the value of oil sands. Canada is taking a big risk to bet its future on tar sand.

          A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

          by onionjim on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 02:06:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's a risk the Carbon Merchants are willing... (5+ / 0-)

            ...to take. Especially since this will likely be a very leveraged deal. If solar and wind do win the development race, the average Canadian citizen will be left "holding the bag" on most of the costs expended to that point on the Tar Sands delivery infrastructure.

            Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

            by Egalitare on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 02:23:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Good comment, onionjim. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            onionjim, nzanne

            From my point of view, that would be a good thing.  The oil sands can't be stopped, but I think it would be a good thing if they slowed down the development.  That would allow better practices.  Bitumen from the oil sands will never be clean energy, but they do need to clean up their act.  The more recent oil sands projects have much smaller carbon footprints than the old Syncrude-type open pit monsters that were first built.    

            God is innocent: Noah built on a flood plain.

            by alphorn on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 02:34:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  One further point, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              onionjim, nzanne

              and the last two comments made by onionjim and Egalitaire were dead on.  As I see it the only thing that can stop the oil sands are market forces.  Not building Keystone will keep the oil sands from getting the full world market price for a few years.  Some may see that as a victory, and maybe it is, but we should understand that within Canada there is tremendous economic pressure to build a transportation system to deliver the oil sands bitumen to a salt water port, which will mean that the oil sands are not captive to U.S. markets and will get the full world price.  As many people up here see it, and as all of the powerful people see it, the health of the Canadian economy is at stake.

              Green sources of energy (wind, geothermal, tidal or solar) can undercut carbon energy only when they can offer energy at a competitive price.  That is, in my opinion, the only way to stop the oil sands, and that is the big challenge.  Let's face it, we live in a very rich society, and that wealth was all built on a long term source of cheap energy; for the most part various forms of carbon energy.  Looking ahead, it will take a lot of energy to build those big wind towers and turbines, and all of those solar arrays that people put so much hope into, and to haul them all into place.  Not to mention the temperature was minus 35 centigrade in Calgary last week - without central heating I would have been a popsicle.  

              I guess my point is that our energy solutions are long term, and it will not be one answer but many answers; conservation, new and better developments in green energy, and yes, carbon energy (produced with the cleanest practices that our best engineers can develop) will be a part of the solution.   The challenge it to find better solutions before environmental degradation dooms us all.

              Sorry, I guess I got a bit philosophical, but I can never seem to see simple answers to complicated questions.

              God is innocent: Noah built on a flood plain.

              by alphorn on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 03:43:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  I think your assertion is exactly wrong because (0+ / 0-)

            solar and wind energy principally contribute to electricity generation, not production and delivery of liquid hydrocarbon fuels.  

            Because solar and wind energy don't have anything at all to do with generation of liquid hydrocarbon fuels, your assertion that solar/wind development puts 'downward pressure on the value of oil sands' isn't supportable.

            •  You are correct. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              What creates downward pressure on oil prices in North America is mostly the increased oil production in the Bakken, combined with increased oil sands production.    

              Wind energy competes directly with coal and natural gas in electrical production, so wind energy has more effect on natural gas and coal prices.  

              God is innocent: Noah built on a flood plain.

              by alphorn on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 05:24:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  UNIFOR has signed the Fraser Declaration (0+ / 0-)

          Joining the YInka Dene and the First Nations.

          .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 05:55:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Supertankers laeving Vancouver (4+ / 0-)

      have to use US waters, they come under the purview of the US Coast Guard.

      Trailblazer and Energy East both go to the Atlantic.

      Kitimat isnt really suitable for supertanker traffic, which has to be considered when looking at N Gateway, which BTW UNIFOR has signed the Fraser Declaration.

      .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 03:44:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are right. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox, joe from Lowell

        The best argument against the Gateway Pipeline is that the B.C. coast is not safe for tanker traffic.

        The challenges of building a pipeline over the Rockies are, in my opinion, manageable, although some will disagree on that point.  

        I think that the economic pressures in Canada are such that they mean to build the pipeline anyway.

        God is innocent: Noah built on a flood plain.

        by alphorn on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:07:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Transmountain was opened in 1953 (0+ / 0-)

          Alberta to............... is it Burnaby?

          SO yes.

          .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 04:19:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  TransMountain ends in Burnaby, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roger Fox

            just east of the city centre of Vancouver.  Oil tankers regularly go right through the city centre of Vancouver to (and from) the terminus.  At least, that is the way I understand it; I am a musician, not an oilman.

            http://www.kindermorgan.com/...

            God is innocent: Noah built on a flood plain.

            by alphorn on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:27:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  And that pipeline is being doubled. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              alphorn

              They install another pipeline in the same right of way, next to an existing pipeline.

              I have a Fender Strat and a Blues JR tube amp. Strictly amateur :-)

               photo transMT2.png

              .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 04:47:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  My son lives in Vancouver. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roger Fox, AoT

                People in Vancouver should be concerned that the oil tanker traffic will be increased.  The Burrard Inlet is an easily navigable waterway and I think there has no major accident as of yet, but increased traffic could make it a problem.  As I understand it, only smaller tankers are allowed through to the Burnaby terminus.  

                The Kitimat terminus for LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) tankers way up the coast north of Vancouver is a much more likely place for an environmental disaster.  Kitimat is already approved for the LNG pipeline terminus and is being built.  That is also the proposed terminus for the Gateway Pipeline.  Kitimat is at the head of the Douglas Strait, which is a dangerous passage for tankers.

                http://www.kitimatlngfacility.com/...

                Again, I must point out that I am a musician and not an oilman so I hope I have all of this right.  

                God is innocent: Noah built on a flood plain.

                by alphorn on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 05:12:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Musician.....What do you play? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT, alphorn

                  I live in Connecticut, and have read up on this topic quite a bit, Your info matches up with what I have read extremely well.

                  .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 05:34:26 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hi Roger. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    peregrine kate

                    I play French Horn in the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. I am close to retirement after 35 years in the orchestra.

                    God is innocent: Noah built on a flood plain.

                    by alphorn on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:56:31 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I am glad nobody called me a troll (0+ / 0-)

                      on this thread.  I am just trying to be realistic about where these energy challenges are going.  I understand that people here are passionate about the environment but often I hear too many simplistic arguments - like green power will solve everything.  I'm all for green but you can't turn iron ore into steel with sunlight.  One time there was a comment that the oil industry is evil.  Practically all of my friends and neighbors work in the oil industry, and I don't see them as criminals or working in a criminal enterprise.  They go to work and do a job.  Calgary has been good to me and the Calgary Philharmonic is well supported by oil companies.  Other than that I don't have any oil industry connections.  Anyway, it was a good discussion.

                      God is innocent: Noah built on a flood plain.

                      by alphorn on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 10:11:17 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I play guitar (0+ / 0-)

                      not professionally.

                      .................expect us......................... 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 Tue Dec 31, 2013 at 11:45:50 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Earth to Obama: You are NEVER blameless (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, AZ Sphinx Moth

    to your opponents. For evidence of this please refer to their reactions to your implementation of the Heritage Foundation's health care act.

    Evidence does point to the Administration allowing the XL pipeline to be killed by a thousand delays. It's a political win for the president which strengthens his relationship with his environmental base yet leaves him mainly blameless with the pipelines proponents.
    You'll be blamed anyway. You may as well thrill the left with actual action instead of trying to be cagey with the right.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 01:38:11 PM PST

    •  Well (0+ / 0-)

      I think he enjoys pissing of the left.  This might be a way to do the right thing without making the left happy.

    •  The question isn't what his opponents will say. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emelyn, Fiona West, Fogiv, sviscusi

      The question is whether the public at large will believe those opponents.

      Treating everything that comes out conservatives' mouths as equally convincing is a really terrible strategy.

      BTW, the ACA has very little to do with the Heritage Plan, which focused on limited catastrophic insurance, privatizing Medicaid, buying insurance across state lines, eliminating tax deductions for employer-based insurance, and tort reform.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 04:36:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you. the ACA is not perfect, but it's not (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fogiv, joe from Lowell

        the Heritage plan, and trying to pin that on Obama is a meaningless attack & a waste of time.

        --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

        by Fiona West on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 07:06:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The Washington Times can go fuck itself. (5+ / 0-)

    It's a total rag.

    They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

    by Ponder Stibbons on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 01:55:50 PM PST

  •  If President Obama does or were to give the green (8+ / 0-)

    light or ok on this, I as a huge supporter and big fan could never forgive him. He talks so much about global warming, while obviously cognizant his daughters are going to inherit our dirty world, I would find it inexcusable.

  •  What is his motive? (4+ / 0-)

    Why is it so important to Dan Kish and other like-minded people to make it easier for Canada to export its oil from tar sands to China via the US heartland? Because realistically that is what KXL amounts to. The big winners would be Canada, oil producers and China, not the US. Who's this guy working for?

    •  I thought the additional XL pipeline was (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell, Roger Fox

      about further exploiting refineries in the gulf.

      •  PADDIII has over 1mbpd (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093, sviscusi

        of recently built cracker capacity that currently cracks heavy oil from Venezuela. Sold as light sweet syncrude, western EU would be a potential customer.

        PADDIII is Mostly Texas.

        Northen Gateway pipeline proposal gets tar sands to the Pacific, where it could then be shipped to Asia.

         photo northerngatewayandtransmountain.png

        Supertankers loaded in the Gulf of Mexico, would have to travel south around South America, then to China & Asia. Too may miles, no one would ever do that.

        .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 05:15:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If built KXL oil will not go to China (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093

      Western EU yes. China no.

      .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 05:08:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  if delayed Hillary may run on it (0+ / 0-)

    Hillary will be much to the right I am afraid. And Obama was already centrist.

  •  There is another perspective on why the delay. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    Here  it is.  Lots of inside story on Hillary, the Koch's, and the XL .  Here's the one most relevant to the question being speculated on in this diary.

    President Obama holds the sole authority to approve or disapprove this project, because it crosses the international border, but he has delayed this decision for years, because he doesn't want to enrage the environmental community, and also because his tipping his hand in that way would be almost entirely a waste if he cannot first get Europe to weaken their environmental standards so as to allow this oil to compete in Europe with normal oil as if it weren't far more damaging to the climate than normal oil is -- just ignore that harm being added to the entire planet.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 03:10:02 PM PST

  •  Let the next President shit-can it. (0+ / 0-)

    He/she will undoubtedly be a Democrat.

  •  I've long felt Obama wants to kill Keystone (3+ / 0-)

    and that delay is the easiest and most likely way he'll do it.

    I suspect that he will wait until shortly after the November 2014 elections, when he can't be blamed for any Democratic Senate losses in AK, AR, SD, MT, LA , and then kill it.

    Much as we would hope he would take an aggressively pro-environment and anti-Keystone stance before November, it's pretty unlikely given all the other progressive issues (immigration, court appointments, among others) that would be in jeopardy if the Republicans control the Senate after November.

    Win or lose the Senate in November, he is free at that point to do the right thing---and one I think he wants to do ---and that's killing the pipeline as not in the national interest because of its contribution to global climate change.

    Yep, a political decision, and a trade-off. But it's probably what I'd do under the very real circumstance of a possible loss of the Senate.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 03:23:26 PM PST

  •  You said: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox, 6412093
    If a new EIS is initiated it could take several years; enough time for Obamas term to be over.
    This just isn't true.

    A completely new EIS review, public notice and final determination could be done in less than a year.

    •  LakeS, if they issued a new EIS (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VL Baker, Roger Fox, Fiona West

      and held another round of public hearings, and 10,000 people tried to attend the first hearing, I doubt they could finish the EIS process in a year.

      They also have to respond to 1 million comments. A time sink.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 05:33:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The number of comments submitted might (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        slow things down a bit, but agency administrators can easily respond to thousands of brief and non-specific comments in an expedited fashion.

        What is of primary importance to the agency making the decision is the framing of the comments and not the number of comments.

        Comments that don't reach the fundamental policy decsion focus of whether the permit issuance is beneficial to the interests of the United States is the overwhelmingly important frame in which comments should be prepared to be most effective.

        The 'national interest' frame of the decision is the reason why the entire 'export pipeline' theme that Sierra Club and Michael Brune were promoting was  ill-advised as a tactical position against the KXL pipeline.  

        Calling KXL an export pipeline when it isn't -  tar sands heavy sour crude  is going to go to PADD3 refineries -- means that an anti-KXL advocate making that claim weakens any arguments they make addressing the 'national interest' aspects of the Presidential Pipeline Permit decisionmaking process.

         A pipeline constructed for the purposes of passing crude shipments through the United States for export and not for domestic crude utilization means fewer critical 'national interest' concerns and determinations to be made in the decisionmaking process....and that circumstance is not favorable for an anti-KXL strategic posture.

        •  correction (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          6412093

          Comments that do reach the fundamental policy decision focus of whether the permit issuance is beneficial to the interests of the United States would be the most  overwhelmingly important frame in which comments should be prepared to be most effective.

        •  You are right, LakeS (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VL Baker

          that the substance of comments is far more important than the sheer number.

          I wished to emphasize the XL review is a unique situation and standard procedures and timelines may not apply.

          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

          by 6412093 on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 11:27:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I posted this before (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell, LakeSuperior

    Above all, President Obama is a politician.

    He's not going to do a damn thing about Keystone either way, he's just going to run out the clock.  I've been saying that for a long time.

  •  Rep. Grijalva so rocks. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LakeSuperior, VL Baker
  •  Obama won't make a definitive decision on this (0+ / 0-)

    Because he's not brave enough.

    Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

    by Bollox Ref on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 05:22:29 PM PST

  •  VLB, I have written on KXL & other pipelines (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, VL Baker, TheDuckManCometh

    It should be clear that the overall fight vs the tar sands is not going well for oil companies, and the 5 year delay on KXL is a good thing.

    TnR.

    .................expect us......................... 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 Dec 26, 2013 at 05:50:14 PM PST

  •  Oil is being shipped by rail (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, VL Baker

    The explosion of the downtown of Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada was caused by unsupervised tank cars careening into other tank cars filled with the dirty oil form North Dakota.

    There have been derailments and accidents with the tank cars of oil all over North America. Rail is the new "pipeline." So the by the time the decision on Keystone XL is made the pipeline will be redundant.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/...

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Dec 26, 2013 at 09:23:53 PM PST

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