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02-08-2012, 07:26 AM   #1
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XL pipeline redux

..........
Republicans Advance Bill to Push Keystone XL Over Obama’s Denial - Businessweek
QuoteQuote:
Markey Defeated

The Energy and Commerce Committee defeated a proposal from Representative Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, to prevent most oil and bitumen transported by the pipeline from being exported after arriving on the Gulf Coast. The Republican- led panel also rejected an amendment by Representative Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, that would have barred Calgary-based TransCanada from seizing private land for the pipeline using the government’s powers.

Terry’s bill would strip the Interior Department and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from their oversight authority for the pipeline, officials from the two agencies told a House subcommittee Feb. 3.

The measure raises “serious questions” about legal authority, Kerri-Ann Jones, a State Department assistant secretary, said at a hearing Jan. 25. FERC doesn’t have the authority to act on the location of pipelines, and the bill’s 30-day deadline doesn’t allow enough time to review the project, Jeffrey Wright, FERC’s director of the Office of Energy Projects, said.

“What bothers me is how roughshod this is,” Representative Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat, said of Terry’s legislation. “No matter what the facts are, they don’t matter.”

The bill is H.R. 3548.
Republicans Advance Bill to Push Keystone XL Over Obama’s Denial - Businessweek

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/72555_Page2.html


QuoteQuote:
Q: The U.S. has a bigger jobless problem than Canada right now and Republicans in the U.S. are pushing Obama to allow the pipeline to be constructed because it would create jobs in the U.S. and reduce reliance on Middle Eastern oil. Do you think it will create jobs in the U.S.?

A: It's the same situation as in Canada. Once the American pipeline is built there are no more jobs.
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120206-712914.html


Last edited by jeffkrol; 02-08-2012 at 07:38 AM.
02-08-2012, 09:38 AM   #2
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I think the US would miss a real opportunity here by not having the Keystone XL. American jobs, oil from a secure area. I find it interesting that the proposal was from a Massachusetts Democrat.
02-08-2012, 09:53 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
I think the US would miss a real opportunity here by not having the Keystone XL. American jobs, oil from a secure area. I find it interesting that the proposal was from a Massachusetts Democrat.
Markey's proposal would have made the pipeline pointless, that's why it was defeated. The oil companies have no intention of ever selling any of the refined products in the US, they can get a much higher price overseas. The reason they want the pipeline to the Gulf, besides the fact that that is where most of the refineries are, is because they can export it tax-free from there.

Also, the jobs that it would create are vastly over-reported. TransCanada reported all of the jobs as job-years. That means that if they said it would create 1000 jobs that would last for 3 years it was reported as 3000 job-years. TransCanada representatives then went to the US Congress and said it would create 3000 jobs. This was how we got the "It will create 100,000 jobs." BS. The corporate media largely ignored this discrepancy.

Last edited by boriscleto; 02-08-2012 at 10:01 AM.
02-08-2012, 10:10 AM   #4
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And there's the little matter of environmental consequences, and time to do the studies.


Last edited by les3547; 02-08-2012 at 10:35 AM.
02-08-2012, 11:31 AM   #5
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It is hard to separate opinion from fact. I'm not just responding to the posts following mine. Les3547, please don't get me wrong, I'm not focusing on your posts.

But as a general statement on this world and all the organizations and groups within it.... it is difficult to separate fact from opinion...no matter the source...whether it is environmental, political or big business.

I don't accept any information without looking at the source and the evidence the source brings...along with it's 'information.'

I also am astounded at how little regulation goes on in this world.....to allow continued misinformation to spread.

Last edited by lesmore49; 02-08-2012 at 11:38 AM.
02-08-2012, 12:06 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
But as a general statement on this world and all the organizations and groups within it.... it is difficult to separate fact from opinion...no matter the source...whether it is environmental, political or big business.
Indeed. The thing here, at least from my perspective, is the constant push by the right to do anything that promises to make money. Environment, the poor, consequences to the overall economy be damned if a quick profit can be made by a few. The current administration is IMO trying to get the US off oil, make the US more responsible ecologically to the world (which would include Canada . . . I'm sure you aren't thrilled with acid rain, etc.), and generally work for including all people in sharing the pie. The push to force the issue by Republicans without careful study of the overall consequences is exactly the kind of behavior that put the US in the financial pit it's in right now (e.g., deregulating Wall Street).
02-08-2012, 02:59 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Indeed. The thing here, at least from my perspective, is the constant push by the right to do anything that promises to make money. Environment, the poor, consequences to the overall economy be damned if a quick profit can be made by a few. What do you see as as consequences to the environment, the poor, the overall economy if Keystone XL were to be a fact ? The current administration is IMO trying to get the US off oil, do you think that oil is all bad ? What alternatives are there for transporting goods (trains, planes, trucks) ? I don't hear a lot about acid rain anymore ? make the US more responsible ecologically to the world (which would include Canada . . . I'm sure you aren't thrilled with acid rain, etc.), and generally work for including all people in sharing the pie. I think in Canada with our govt. medical care, etc...we do have not a bad record of having all people share the pie, in comparison to other countries in the world. The push to force the issue by Republicans without careful study of the overall consequences is exactly the kind of behavior that put the US in the financial pit it's in right now (e.g., deregulating Wall Street).
Canada in comparison did probably the best of the G 8 in weathering the financial crisis of the past few years. Precisely because we do have regulations regarding financial issues.

BTW....my point is not to say that Canada is ...holier than thou....but to emphasize that I find in other countries there seems to be way too much polarization over a myriad of issues...governmental, political, environmental, industrial, etc.....it just seems to be black or white...for example....you're with us...or against us...no middle ground.

As a result progress seems to be always stymied by lines in the sand, from different groups saying that this can or can't be done.

There is no meeting of minds....just tough fights constantly over territory.

I watch American TV (CNN) and when it comes to US party (either Republicans or Democrats) it makes no difference. Within these parties...themselves... there is so much infighting...so much internal dissension that nothing but eternal 'gotcha' seems to occur.



Am I right or wrong ?


02-08-2012, 03:25 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Markey's proposal would have made the pipeline pointless, that's why it was defeated. The oil companies have no intention of ever selling any of the refined products in the US, they can get a much higher price overseas.
They will sell the refined products in the US without a doubt, but export is a crucial element to making this pipeline work for all parties involved. Distillates are already a US export and domestic demand for them is shifting and falling leaving capacity in need of a market.

QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
Canada in comparison did probably the best of the G 8 in weathering the financial crisis of the past few years. Precisely because we do have regulations regarding financial issues.
The loonie is a petrodollar, do not deceive yourself why the Canadian economy has weathered the global economic crisis as well as the Texas economy.

02-08-2012, 03:43 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
The loonie is a petrodollar, do not deceive yourself why the Canadian economy has weathered the global economic crisis as well as the Texas economy.
We weathered the crisis better because we didn't fall into the trap of unregulated banks and subprime mortgages creating an artificial bubble. It's pretty simple really. We acted more responsibly than other countries, and that shielded us to a great extent.
02-08-2012, 04:08 PM   #10
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MikeMike says:

The loonie is a petrodollar, do not deceive yourself why the Canadian economy has weathered the global economic crisis as well as the Texas economy


QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
We weathered the crisis better because we didn't fall into the trap of unregulated banks and subprime mortgages creating an artificial bubble. It's pretty simple really. We acted more responsibly than other countries, and that shielded us to a great extent.
MikeMike,

In response to your question to me...I couldn't answer it any better than Wheatfield. As a result I quote Wheatfield, to reinforce the reasons why Canada did weather the crisis so well.

Lesmore
02-08-2012, 04:11 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
They will sell the refined products in the US without a doubt, but export is a crucial element to making this pipeline work for all parties involved. Distillates are already a US export and domestic demand for them is shifting and falling leaving capacity in need of a market.



The loonie is a petrodollar, do not deceive yourself why the Canadian economy has weathered the global economic crisis as well as the Texas economy.
I live in Texas and I know a quite a few people who would disagree with your assessment. The other poster is correct, Canada didn't fall for the dumb supply side ecomonic and deregulation of the financial industry policies of that great Texas font of economic widsom Phil Gramm. This is the second time since 1980 we've allowed an 8 year Republican Administration lecture us about financial responsibility while running up huge deficits every year they were in office (Reagan, then Bush), then try and blame it on another party. Both times when they left office the economy was a wreck. George Bush inherited a balanced budget blew it the first year by giving tax cuts to individuals making over $250K a year. He of course left us a really sound economy too. And let's not forget the great state of affairs he left the country in with Iraq and Afghanistan. Why anybody in their right mind would trust a Republican presidential candidate is just beyond me.
02-08-2012, 04:50 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
Canada in comparison did probably the best of the G 8 in weathering the financial crisis of the past few years. Precisely because we do have regulations regarding financial issues.

BTW....my point is not to say that Canada is ...holier than thou....but to emphasize that I find in other countries there seems to be way too much polarization over a myriad of issues...governmental, political, environmental, industrial, etc.....it just seems to be black or white...for example....you're with us...or against us...no middle ground.

As a result progress seems to be always stymied by lines in the sand, from different groups saying that this can or can't be done.

There is no meeting of minds....just tough fights constantly over territory.

I watch American TV (CNN) and when it comes to US party (either Republicans or Democrats) it makes no difference. Within these parties...themselves... there is so much infighting...so much internal dissension that nothing but eternal 'gotcha' seems to occur.

Am I right or wrong ?
I generally agree with your generalizations . However, I made my initial comment to point out that the project hasn't been properly vetted, yet Canadians at least seem convinced the Keystone project is all roses and that the "US would miss a real opportunity here by not having the Keystone XL." Should the US go ahead on the word of those who will most benefit from the pipeline, or should they take time to thoroughly research every aspect of the project?


What if, for example, what this engineer reported has any truth to it:
QuoteQuote:
“When I last raised concerns about corners being cut, I lost my job,” said Klink. “What did I see? Cheap foreign steel that cracked when workers tried to weld it, foundations for pump stations that you would never consider using in your own home, fudged safety tests, Bechtel staffers explaining away leaks during pressure tests as “not too bad,” shortcuts on the steel and rebar that are essential for safe pipeline operation and siting of facilities on completely inappropriate spots like wetlands.”

Klink said he shared his concerns with his bosses, who communicated them to officials with TransCanada, but nothing changed.

“TransCanada didn’t appear to care. That is why I was not surprised to hear about the big spill in Ludden, N.D., where a 60-foot plume of crude spewed tens of thousands of gallons of toxic tar sands oil and fouled neighboring fields,” Klink said.

Is the US adequately insured for spills from the pipeline. From the same article:
QuoteQuote:
Regarding safety, last October TransCanada promised Nebraska state legislators it would take additional steps to protect environmental safety if the project was approved by the federal government. The Canadian pipeline company said it would back a $100 million bond to ensure adequate funds to clean up after any oil spills.

That bond may not be enough to clean-up a major pipeline oil spill. In July, 2010 more than 800,000 gallons of tar sands crude spilled into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River system through a rupture in the Enbridge pipeline. The clean-up cost for that spill is now estimated at about $700 million — 20 percent more than Enbridge’s previous estimate of $585 million.

Over a hundred US mayors sent letters to President Obama expressing their concerns. Should that be ignored so we can rush ahead to satisfy Canadian interests?
QuoteQuote:
In the wake of a decision to do a new review of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, 103 American mayors sent a letter expressing concerns about the impacts to communities of the pipeline to President Barack Obama. President Obama is listening to concerns from all across America about the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and now mayors from coast-to-coast are weighing in. Mayors are at the frontlines of reducing our dependence on oil and have been working to create a more efficient system because they take climate change seriously.

Nebraska doesn't believe the environmental impact has been studied sufficiently, should that concern be satisfied?
QuoteQuote:
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has called the Legislature into special session next week to address growing concerns over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline - a project that would carry tar sands oil across one of the Midwest's most important aquifers.

Finally, many here believe the "benefits" to the US are exaggerated, as this opinion sums up:
QuoteQuote:
Key Facts on Keystone XL

Energy Security: Tar Sand will not Reduce Dependence on Foreign OilKeystone XL will not lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil, but transport Canadian oil to American refineries for export to overseas markets.

Keystone XL is an export pipeline. According to presentations to investors, Gulf Coast refiners plan to refine the cheap Canadian crude supplied by the pipeline into diesel and other products for export to Europe and Latin America. Proceeds from these exports are earned tax-free. Much of the fuel refined from the pipeline’s heavy crude oil will never reach U.S. drivers’ tanks.

Reducing demand for oil is the best way to improve our energy security. U.S. demand for oil has been declining since 2007. New fuel-efficiency standards mean that this trend will continue once the economy gets back on track. In fact, the Energy Deptartment report on KeystoneXL found that decreasing demand through fuel efficiency is the only way to reduce mid-east oil imports with or without the pipeline.


Gas prices: Keystone XL will increase gas prices for Americans—Especially Farmers

By draining Midwestern refineries of cheap Canadian crude into export-oriented refineries in the Gulf Coast, Keystone XL will increase the cost of gas for Americans.

TransCanada’s 2008 Permit Application states “Existing markets for Canadian heavy crude, principally PADD II [U.S. Midwest], are currently oversupplied, resulting in price discounting for Canadian heavy crude oil. Access to the USGC [U.S. Gulf Coast] via the Keystone XL Pipeline is expected to strengthen Canadian crude oil pricing in [the Midwest] by removing this oversupply. This is expected to increase the price of heavy crude to the equivalent cost of imported crude. The resultant increase in the price of heavy crude is estimated to provide an increase in annual revenue to the Canadian producing industry in 2013 of US $2 billion to US $3.9 billion.”

Independent analysis of these figures found this would increase per-gallon prices by 20 cents/gallon in the Midwest.
According to an independent analysis U.S. farmers, who spent $12.4 billion on fuel in 2009 could see expenses rise to $15 billion or higher in 2012 or 2013 if the pipeline goes through. At least $500 million of the added expense would come from the Canadian market manipulation.


Jobs: TransCanada’s jobs projections are vastly inflated.

In 2008, TransCanada’s Presidential Permit application for Keystone XL to the State Department indicated “a peak workforce of approximately 3,500 to 4,200 construction personnel” to build the pipeline.

Jobs estimates above those listed in its application draw from a 2011 report commissioned by TransCanada that estimates 20,000 “person-years” of employment based on a non-public forecast model using undisclosed inputs provided by TransCanada.

According to TransCanada’s own data, just 11% of the construction jobs on the Keystone I pipeline in South Dakota were filled by South Dakotans–most of them for temporary, low-paying manual labor.

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) both oppose the pipeline. Their August 2011 statement: “We need jobs, but not ones based on increasing our reliance on Tar Sands oil. There is no shortage of water and sewage pipelines that need to be fixed or replaced, bridges and tunnels that are in need of emergency repair, transportation infrastructure that needs to be renewed and developed. Many jobs could also be created in energy conservation, upgrading the grid, maintaining and expanding public transportation—jobs that can help us reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and improve energy efficiency.”


Safety: A rupture in the Keystone XL pipeline could cause a BP style oil spill in America’s heartland, over the source of fresh drinking water for 2 million people. NASA’s top climate scientist says that fully developing the tar sands in Canada would mean “essentially game over” for the climate.
The U.S. Pipeline Safety Administration has not yet conducted an in depth analysis of the safety of diluted bitumen (raw tar sands) pipeline, despite unique safety concerns posed by its more corrosive properties.


TransCanada predicted that the Keystone I pipeline would see one spill in 7 years. In fact, there have been 12 spills in 1 year. The company was ordered to dig up 10 sections of pipe after government-ordered tests indicated that defective steel may have been used. KeystoneXL will use steel from the same Indian manufacturer.

Keystone XL will cross through America’s agricultural heartland, the Missouri and Niobrara Rivers, the Ogallala aquifer, sage grouse habitat, walleye fisheries and more.

The agency was not adequately accounting for threats to wildlife, increased pollution in distressed communities where the crude may be refined, or increases in carbon emissions that would exacerbate climate change, and a variety of other issues.


Climate Change: Keystone XL is the fuse to North America’s biggest carbon bomb.

In a study funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, a group of retired four-star generals and admirals concluded that climate change, if not addressed, will be the greatest threat to national security.

The State Department Environmental Impact Statement fails to adequately analyze lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by the pipeline. Extraction and refinement of oil sands are more GHG-intensive compared to conventional oil. The EIS estimates that the additional annual GHG emissions from the proposed pipeline could range from an additional “12-23 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent… (roughly the equivalent of annual emissions from 2 to 4 coal-fired power plants)” over conventional crude oil from the Middle East. [8] The EPA believes that the methodology used by the State Department is inaccurate and could underestimate GHG emissions by as much as 20 percent.[9] Given that the expected lifetime of the Keystone XL pipeline is fifty years, the EPA notes that the project could yield an extra 1.15 billion tons of GHGs using the quantitative estimates in the EIS.[10]

Now, I am personally not yet informed enough to "separate fact from opinion," as you say, and so I am neither for nor against the project yet. What I am for is taking all the time necessary to study things, and what I am against is precipitous action.
02-08-2012, 07:46 PM   #13
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It seems to me that the Republican party put an artificial deadline on making the decision in regards to the pipeline. If there were no negative consequences involved in the project it would be easy. Are the potential negatives greater than the potential positives? Most likely would take more than 60 days to figure that out. it takes more than 60 days to decide on a $60 000 project that has no environmental downsides why should this one be made before a complete study of the potential effect on the aquifer? It may be that the GOP thought that Obama would either have to agree with them and lose the green vote or say no and lose the worker vote rather than decide what was best for the country and if perhaps an alternative route would even be better.
02-09-2012, 03:36 PM   #14
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I lived in Nebraska for 27 years, and have been thru the Sand Hills region many times. I also received my MS degree in hydrogeology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and worked in the US Geological Survey office in Lincoln for over 10 years. I speak ONLY for myself, not as a representative of the US Gov, but I speak as an informed voice...

If that pipeline is constructed and routed thru the Sand Hills, it *will* eventually spill at some point in its lifespan, and the consequences will be severe. There is a reason they call it the Sand Hills - it's a large area of sand dunes left over from the last Ice Age, and today only lightly vegetated with a thin layer of grass mostly. It is a fragile ecosystem, with a number of endemic species just hanging on. It has enough problems with just ranching as the main use - cattle are more destructive than the native bison were...

WHEN the pipeline spills oil, the problem is that the ground is basically loose sand. And below the loose sand, it's porous, loosely consolidated sandstone. Which means that the oil is going to sink into the ground quickly, and will flow though the sand much more rapidly than it would thru more solid materials. Once it hits the water table (which is very shallow in most the Sand Hills), it will be contaminating the Ogallalla Aquifer system - the source of almost all agricultural irrigation water and a great deal of municipal water supplies in Nebraska and other Plains states. The highly porous sands means that the *water* flows rapidly too, so the plumes of contaminated groundwater will spread far more rapidly than in other parts of the country.

Routing ANY oil pipeline thru the Sand Hills is just a recipe for disaster. And that's completely ignoring the environmental effects of getting the crude out of the tar sands to begin with - it takes a great deal of water and energy to do so, and so far the cleanup of the waters used has been, lets just say less than completely successful...

And, just as an aside - I voted mostly Republican, back in the days when Republicans fielded sane candidates. And I served as an officer in the Air Force. And I support mining, oil extraction (when done PROPERLY), being an environmentalist, and alternative energy production methods. So argue with me if you want, but lets argue facts not (&*^(%%^%^%^(&*^5^()&(*%%$#$ partisan political BS.

Jim
02-10-2012, 07:34 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RoxnDox Quote
If that pipeline is constructed and routed thru the Sand Hills, it *will* eventually spill at some point in its lifespan, and the consequences will be severe.
Not necessarily, pipeline spills in america are very rare and it is even rarer that they are caused by faulty engineering or workmanship. The worst spills are caused by deliberate sabotage as has happened in Alaska a few times and smaller spills are caused by extreme weather such as hurricanes knocking down huge trees that hit a pipeline in the wrong spot. Barring sabotage, the things that allow spills to grow more than a few hundred barrels are things that prevent a timely response such as remoteness and inability to reach the site safely until a weather event passes. I think the biggest threat somewhere like Nebraska would be tornadoes and with that the threat should pass in hours not days allowing crews to get in and fix any damage.

The oil pipeline system of the US has a quite amazing safety record which only gets better and better with each passing year. A decent sized ship can easily spill more oil from its fuel tanks in the event of it sinking than all the pipelines spill in a year. I have a friend who is a programmer for a pipeline and petrochemical company and she is constantly fine tuning their algorithms to determine the proper flow rates and pumping rates for various processes and chemicals. They measure tolerable spill amounts for some chems in mL and there are millions of sensors throughout their facilities constantly measuring temperature, pressure, other variables, and detecting leaks.
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