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Did you watch Colbert last night?

I just wanted to make the observation that Colbert's
lead story last night.....boiled down to its
Colbert pulling a KXL pipeline comedy version of what
the Ed Schultz show was selling over the last few days.

Note also the Colbert Report's mention of "the nation's best pipefitters" and
Ed's specific mention of unions.....and this all occurring with
AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka's full throat support of the
KXL Pipeline announced today:

My fundamental point is that the KXL pipeline matter has been, is and
ever more will be a republican wedge issue against Democrats, and particularly against
progressive Democrats.    The recent Ed Show segments and Colbert's segment is
the opposition coming back at anti-KXL camp.   From a PR/communications/visibility campaign standpoint of what the opposition is doing, I'd suggest that these 3 events in pro-KXL camp mean that we should expect more such visibility shortly.

My further fundamental point is that this circumstance of being on the
receiving end of a wedge issue by republicans in which environmental Democrats are separated from portions of the union labor community is a damn tough circumstance.

In such circumstances in anti-KXL camp, it means that focus is required more than ever  to address what pro-KXL advocacy  is saying by directly responding to it in a sensitive but resolute manner, and absolute clarity is required over all issues relating to the national interest of the United States as to the KXL Presidential Permit approval/denial decision.

What you're seeing now with the AFL-CIO position, the Ed Show segments and Colbert's piece which almost looked like a product placement by pipefitters is the social engineering and communication of a social/political support case for building KXL.

In anti-KXL camp, the only way to win is to give President Obama an absolutely defensible and strong environmental case that there should be no additional tar sands crude oil import pipelines constructed into the United States.  

The foreign import/border crossing aspect of the pipeline combined with the high greenhouse gas emission intensity of tar sands crude and the fact that any approval decision just makes the United States more dependent on tar sands sources as a tri-part matter are really the only three issues worth addressing in present circumstances on the pipeline denial portion of anti-KXL environmental advocacy.

[which leaves the pipeline stewardship portion of anti-KXL advocacy be another diary.]

8:05 PM PT: Anyone who thinks that Stephen Colbert uttering the words - "the nation's best pipefitters" - this week in a KXL segment with this timing in relation to other events is just an accident or coincidence is probably pretty naive about just how effective AFL-CIO building/construction trade union officers can be in prosecuting their job search activities for their union members.

9:39 PM PT: Here's an important story from January in which AFL-CIO stays on the same side as environmentalists on the issue of retaining the existing ban on crude oil exports from the United States:

9:43 PM PT: Another interesting story....

While AFL-CIO announced support for natural gas export terminals this week, there is a big chunk of the chemical industry which opposes natural gas export terminals.  

Also, independent petroleum refiners along with AFL-CIO are opposing efforts by the largest oil industry firms to relax the United States ban on exporting domestic crude oil.

Originally posted to LakeSuperior on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 05:14 PM PST.

Also republished by Climate Hawks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  After looking into it a little, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SolarMom, the fan man

    I'm working on a diary on this.  It's tentatively called, "KXL is definitely laying pipe, and its going right up the a** of the United States."  Not sure this is wholly appropriate, but it does capture what will be the true effect of the plan.

    "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

    by Publius2008 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 05:32:36 PM PST

  •  I'd think the environmental effects at the source (0+ / 0-)

    would be the best argument. That and First Nations Folks are against it from what I understand.

    It's dirty oil that's for sure but what I'm not convinced about is that if we don't use it someone else won't. Also that it's not that much better than Venezuelan which we use a lot of.

    I don't think it's about jobs or unions as much as it's just not that sensical an environmental issue. Now is someone was suggesting conserving a million barrels a day I'd sit up and take notice. Per capita we are the biggest users of oil second only to Canada. If you threw in the production of goods we buy from China I't'd be worse. Double contraction, wow.

    Sometimes we go off on tangents environmentally. Lose lots of support that way too.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:22:04 PM PST

    •  That is one way of looking at this, but to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093, ban nock

      understand how to win this anti-KXL issue all anti-KXL advocates need to understand how and with what elements President Obama views the decision from his perspective and his balancing of all the equities, claims by all of the parties, and what the national interest actually is.

      The problem is that the big green groups at trying to sell their position with claims and assumptions that are not presidential quality decision-making materials.  

      Environmental groups have been claiming this is an export pipeline, which is an absolutely erroneous and damaging toxic claim to any anti-KXL position.   There is no reason to think this argument is going to work with President Obama.  

      The only reason this 'export pipeline' argument is being made is because it is environmental groups departing from conservation leadership and communications.....and going full tilt into Madison Avenue-style product/image branding-style of advocacy which is the antithesis of conservation leadership and advocacy.

      This type of advocacy i strongly disapprove of since it is not scientific conduct for environmental organizations to manipulate how people feel about something on the basis of fear, resentment or disinformation.   Showing the KXL Pipeline along with images of tankers going to China is designed to stir up negative feelings towards China and connect these to anti-KXL advocacy.    Whatever that is....isn't responsible environmental advocacy.

      •  Thanks LakeS (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LakeSuperior, ban nock

        I will work on the cited Labor's support of LNG exports.  Only about 10% of the LNG export terminals will use union labor.

        “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 Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:56:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  appeals to emotion can be effective, like them or (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        not. If there were kittens in the picture it would be a winner. ;-)

        I wouldn't think KXL oil would go to China from the US but rather our neighbors in S America in the form of gasoline. We can refine cheaply now with natural gas. I probably burn canadian fuel in my truck, most fuel in the midwest is Canadian I believe.

        I do think Canada will pipe it to their W coast regardless of what we do, and eventually China. Better than coal I guess but
        China is a mess.

        “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:31:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It isn't ethical for conservation leadership and (0+ / 0-)

          activism to appeal to fear when such fear is not a part of conservation stewardship.

          Appeals to fear are a disconnect from competent advocacy involving the President of the United States and his decision on a presidential permit from a presidential policy aspect.....which is the only thing worth focusing on right now for advocacy purposes.

  •  Why don't they refine the stuff in the North, (0+ / 0-)

    where it is extracted and move the value added materials to markets through smaller and more secure pipelines?  Seems like a better solution to the problem.

    The refined products are not as bad to transport at the crude, and there doesn't seem to be any support to end the extraction at all.  Can we just make the whole operation safer if we can't eliminate it?

    No optimal solution appears to be in the cards.  Why don't we seek at least better means to deal with the transportation issues?

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:10:55 PM PST

    •  The refinery industry has to be located near users (0+ / 0-)

      of refinery products because if it were not there would be need for multiple more pipelines in a manner that is not practical or economically feasible.     While there is some limited processing and refining at tar sands production sites to product light hydrotreated tar sands naphtha for shipment by pipeline, it isn't practical to carry out processing in the tar sands region of the vast majority of crude that is produced.

      Refined petroleum products pipeline transportation is more hazardous than crude oil pipeline transportation from the standpoint of fire and explosion risk because of lower flash point temperatures and higher vapor pressures of certain portions of refined petroleum stocks.

      there doesn't seem to be any support to end the extraction at all.  Can we just make the whole operation safer if we can't eliminate it?
      The only way for the United States to influence or address tar sands development is either by international treaty addressing greenhouse gas emission control (which treaty does not yet exist) or by denial of presidential permits for tar sands USA-import pipelines.   We've already previously approved the Alberta Clipper and Keystone 1 tar sands pipelines as a nation, so these prior pipelines are negative precedents for anti-KXL camp in the current matter.

      So, in the middle of this situation for green groups to be trafficking in 'KXL is an export pipeline' nonsense means a deliberate choice by these groups to disengage in actual reality and instead get involved in how we should feel about KXL rather than what President Obama should be thinking about KXL.....and this is the essence of the anti-KXL advocacy malpractice I've been talking about.

      •  We do move lots and lots of refined products via (0+ / 0-)

        pipeline, and there are already extant refined product pipelines that appear, by the API map linked below to travel between North Dakota and the Gulf of Mexico.

        Nearly all of the gasoline in Ohio and other Midwestern states comes to us from pipeline systems, some from Ohio River barge ports (recently constructed pipeline from near Portsmouth, OH to Columbus tank farms, for one) and some East-West pipelines that come to us via Illinois, Indiana and points South.

        You don't get many incidents on these pipelines, so I'm not willing to simply say, don't move refined products via pipelines, because we already do.

        North Dakota would be a big beneficiary of a new state of the art refinery construction, and the creation of the transportation infrastructure necessary to support it.  It would be a producing asset for the region for about 80 to 100 years.

        Some additional natural gas pipeline construction in that region would also help our nation's economy and permit the movement to market billions of cubic feet of North Dakota natural gas, which is being wastefully flared.

        Here is the API Crude and Refined products map:

        Here is a 2009 Natural Gas pipeline map for the lower 48 states.  We need more so that we quite wasting all that energy in North Dakota.  Increasing supply will also help drive down consumer cost, and ultimately, help our economy, although the producers are not likely to want lower prices, but we really should quit wasting all that energy.

        Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

        by Ohiodem1 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:21:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You said: (0+ / 0-)
          You don't get many incidents on these pipelines, so I'm not willing to simply say, don't move refined products via pipelines, because we already do.
          The problem still remains of the multiplicity of liquid petroleum products produced by refineries.   While it is true that pipelines are used for delivery of gasoline from refineries to bulk terminals, there are other liquid refined hydrocarbon streams to contend with that require closeness to markets, including kerosine and jet fuel, hydrotreated and non-hydrotreated gas oil and distillate, residual oil, C2-C8 hydrocarbon streams such as ethane, butane, propane and other heavy or light, hydrotreated or not petroleum naphtha.
          •  From an FAQ at the Association of Oil Pipelines (0+ / 0-)


            What kinds of petroleum are transported through oil pipelines?

            Oil pipelines transport liquid petroleum and some liquefied gases.

            Crude oil pipelines provide transport for a wide variety of crude oils that vary widely in density, viscosity, sulfur content, and in other properties.

            Product pipelines transport more than 50 refined petroleum products such as: various grades of motor gasoline, home heating oil, diesel fuel, aviation gasoline, jet fuels, and kerosene. For instance, Colonial Pipeline, the major product pipeline that stretches from Texas to New Jersey, transports almost 40 different formulations of gasoline alone - different grades of each mandated type of gasoline, the requirements for which vary seasonally and regionally. Liquefied ethylene, propane, butane, and some petrochemical feedstocks are also transported through oil pipelines.


            So, they can move oil products great distances over long pipelines (it takes materials 18-22 days depending on viscosity, etc.) and obviously, materials can be transported from refinery to markets in different locations.  We also know that refined products can be transported by ship, barge, rail, truck, all refined at some location other than the market.

            Transportation economics generally will put weight losing products to be produced at the production or mining point, and weight gaining products to be produced at the market, so it's not quite so simple to say that the refining needs to be produced at the market.

            In the 1880's it took 5 tons of coal to produce a ton of steel, and the production of steel was centered closer to the coal mine mouth to reduce transportation costs, steel was clearly a weight losing commodity.  Over time, the production efficiency shifted to the ore being the principle weight component, and production of steel shifted to the market, for instance Gary, Indiana steel mills survived, and those in Youngstown, Steubenville, OH, Pittsburgh, New Boston, OH and other places died because of the shifting transportation economics.

            Here is a paper by the US Energy Information Administration covering some of the transportation issues regarding refined product, and it clearly indicates that oil is refined in foreign locations and shipped elsewhere, which also happens with American refineries in the Gulf, exporting refined product elsewhere.

            So it's complex, and in my view, alternatives should be seriously examined and decisions based on good transportation economic modeling, energy conservation, reduction of waste energy being flared (a problem both in North Dakota and Alaska) and not marketed.

            I don't think you can just say it's complex and use that as an excuse not to do anything but the currently advocated solution.  We, as a nation owe it to ourselves to think these things through.

            Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

            by Ohiodem1 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 02:18:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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