Keystone Cop-outs

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Canada, Congress, disasters, natural and unnatural, environment, Obama Administration, Republican Party

Along with dynamic scoring, aka fantasy budgeting, another issue to be pushed by congressional Republicans is approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. There’s a nice op ed in The Hill explaining why Keystone XL is not in our national interest. The main points.

It’s not much of a jobs-creator. “The pipeline company, TransCanada, told the U.S. State Department the pipeline would create 35 permanent U.S. jobs. That’s about half as many workers as it takes to run a McDonald’s.” Further, it will create fewer than 2,000 temporary constructions jobs, and if those are such great jobs why don’t we spend some money and put people to work fixing public infrastructure, hmm?

For that matter, remember when righties cheered when Gov. Chris Christie killed the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) rail tunnel that would have gone under the Hudson River and provided better connections between New Jersey and midtown Manhattan?

The project would have eased overcrowding in Penn Station by building a new rail station at 33rd Street and 7th Avenue on the West Side of Manhattan, and it would have generated 5,700 construction jobs and 44,000 permanent jobs, and increased home values in towns that would now have one-seat service to Manhattan, the study noted.

Yes it cost money, buckets of which the feds had already handed over for the project, and much of which Christie had to hand back. It would have been good for the economies of both New Jersey and New York City and added a lot of value to a lot of businesses. Not to mention lightened the aggravation factor of trying to commute into Manhattan, which half of New Jersey seems to do every day.

And keep in mind that New Jersey under Christie has had terrible job growth numbers. Under Christie, New Jersey jobs growth has been among the slowest in the nation. I’m pretty sure New Jersey beats Kansas, but not many other states. Most damning is that New Jersey has lagged way behind all its neighboring states in jobs growth, especially Delaware and New York.

But we’re talking about the Keystone XL Pipeline. Noting that a lot of the same people who applauded Christie’s killing of the tunnel project are now claiming that Keystone XL is needed to provide jobs, let’s go on to the next point.

The Keystone XL oil is not going to provide more gas for U.S. cars. The oil isn’t for us; it’s meant to be refined and shipped overseas. I think most of the people who support it have some notion that as soon as the pipeline is built all kinds of cheap gas will show up at the local Shell station. It won’t.

If something goes wrong, it could go really really awful bad wrong and cause long-term disaster. The tar sands oil is really dirty oil, the article says, and if it spills or leaks it’s even harder to clean up than most oil. The pipeline is intended to go through many critical wetlands and agricultural areas, and a leak or spill could do huge amounts of damage that no doubt would cost U.S. taxpayers dearly to clean up.

In Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, the pipeline would run within a mile of more than 3,000 wells that provide drinking and irrigation water. It would also cross 1,073 rivers, lakes and streams — from the Yellowstone River in Montana to the Platte River in Nebraska — along with tens of thousands of acres of wetlands. Pipeline blowouts are not rare events, and the transport of tar sands oil threatens all those resources. Between 1994 and late 2014, there were nearly 6,000 pipeline blowouts or other serious incidents, spilling a cumulative 100 million gallons of oil and other hazardous liquids. A spill of tar sands crude, which has proven more damaging and difficult to clean up than conventional oil, would make matters worse.

Bottom line, it’s a hugely risky project that would provide very little benefit to the United States and its citizens. Note that a many Canadians want to stop the tar sands oil extraction because it’s doing a lot of environmental damage in Canada.

A pro-pipeline article argues that absent a pipeline, the crude oil is being transferred by train, which (it argues) is even less secure than a pipeline. Also making the oil available on the world’s oil economy would stop OPEC from messing with prices. And, of course, the real long-term answer to that is to learn to be less dependent on fossil fuel, period. Between the deep ocean drilling that caused the contamination of the Gulf of Mexico that still hasn’t been cleaned up properly to the Keystone disaster-in-the-making, we’re basically tearing our planet apart trying to wring every last bit of fossil fuel out of it already. Is there anyone out there foolish enough to think this isn’t going to have to stop sometime, somewhere?

Well, yes, unfortunately. I guess there are.

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21 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Tom_b  •  Jan 6, 2015 @1:52 pm

    Everyday, I feel like I have been transported into “Bizarro World”. Many things have changed since my youth, some good: ATM’s, Wikipedia, Gmaps, artisanal coffee; some BAD: the death of popular music, spam, globalization. But, the ONE truth I really, really thought was a “sure” thing– an immutable constant thing, like “death and taxes”– has utterly disappeared from people’s TV-addled brains: politicians are supposed to “bring home the bacon”. Here we have Christie throwing Federal money back into the sea and numerous red-state Governors warding off FREE medicaid money like Van Helsing warding off Dracula– in BOTH cases, citizens and the local economies SUFFER for NO reason other than to appease the Koch brothers’ demands– and the voters don’t even seem to NOTICE. Does ANYBODY pay attention to voting records AT All anymore? Thom Tillis voted to cut unemployment benefits in the NCGA (which the Gov’ts doesn’t even fund– the employers do) and he STILL got elected to the US senator.

  2. uncledad  •  Jan 6, 2015 @1:56 pm

    “righties cheered when Gov. Chris Christie killed the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) rail tunnel”

    Happy new year Mahablog. Funny that the same right-wing hacks that oppose mass transit projects, clean energy, improved EPA standards, higher mileage standards, etc. are also the ones who push for Keystone and espouse the drill baby drill philosophy. Gosh I hope I’m not being cynical and jaded but it seems maybe these folks are getting some sort of compensation from the fossil fuels industry? One of my new year’s resolutions is to be less cynical and jaded and to try to give opinions that are opposed to mine more consideration, so far so good!

  3. maha  •  Jan 6, 2015 @2:19 pm

    //Gosh I hope I’m not being cynical and jaded but it seems maybe these folks are getting some sort of compensation from the fossil fuels industry? //

    LOL. Well, we don’t want to be cynical and jaded, I guess. 🙂

  4. Swami  •  Jan 6, 2015 @3:05 pm

    Good Luck with your New Years resolution, uncledad.. You might as well put blinders on if you think you’re going to find genuine concern for their constituents coming from any politician. Like they say…It’s in the nature of the beast.

    Happy New Year!

  5. Swami  •  Jan 6, 2015 @3:18 pm
  6. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 6, 2015 @3:51 pm

    And then, whenever and wherever that stupid pipeline leaks, the Koch Brothers will make billions on the minimal clean-up efforts – if they do something besides just print bills for the states and Fed’s to pay.

    Meanwhile, the rivers, streams, and aquifers will be polluted – probably permanently – affecting potentially millions of people.

    But who cares about the people?
    Not the fossil fuels billionaires, and not their bought and paid-for politicians.
    There’s black-gold in than them thar pipeline!!!

  7. moonbat  •  Jan 6, 2015 @4:41 pm

    I’ve often asked righties: After we (choose one) drill the Arctic / mine Canadian Tar Sands / drill the Gulf of Mexico – Then What? Complete blank look.

  8. maha  •  Jan 6, 2015 @7:51 pm

    I’m not sure wingnuts comprehend that there’s only so much oil; the planet ain’t makin’ more. They seem to believe it will just grow back. Although maybe it would if we left it alone for a few million years.

  9. Zam  •  Jan 6, 2015 @4:42 pm

    Another thing with the tar sand oil that this would carry. It’s not cheap to extract, oil has to be above a certain price for this to become profitable. The building of this pipeline has nothing to do with lowering the price of oil, globally or at home, if they did that the project would no longer be viable. It is simply to take advantage of extremely high oil prices. If this project ever did happen to lead to lower oil prices I have no doubt that production would be slowed in order to reduce supply and drive the price back up. The only way we will ever see cheap gas and oil again is for OPEC to continue on with its little stunt, though this is unsustainable, or to greatly reduce demand. The new sources of oil that they keep demanding we drill for are not the easily accessible kind that places like Saudi Arabia has and Texas used to, they are expensive as hell and require high prices to justify.

  10. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 6, 2015 @4:50 pm

    moonbat,
    Maybe they believe that God and Jesus will refill the planet.

  11. grannyeagle  •  Jan 6, 2015 @8:13 pm

    This is a crazy idea but what if a mass extinction and a few million years is what is needed to replenish the oil and restore balance to the earth?

  12. maha  •  Jan 6, 2015 @11:30 pm

    This is a crazy idea but what if a mass extinction and a few million years is what is needed to replenish the oil and restore balance to the earth?

    Maybe in a few million years some species of sentient rats will put us in their gas tanks.

  13. Swami  •  Jan 6, 2015 @9:50 pm

    Well, the GOP has vowed on all that is sacred that they are going to stuff the approval for the pipeline down Obama’s throat. Like it or not. If he doesn’t sign their upcoming pipeline legislation they say they will attach it to a must sign spending bill. America be damned…corporations rule! Prepare ye for another government shutdown or whatever economic calamity they can inflict upon the American public to make Obama say uncle.
    I assume Mitch McConnell is near orgasmic now that he’s in a position to deliver his promised death blow on Obama’s presidency. He probably wet himself with excitement and anticipation.

    P.S. I hear they voted to continue the Benghazi charade. I’m not sure if they are looking for a real culprit or if they just want give Trey an opportunity bolster his GOP credentials while keeping him from getting under their feet.. Sorta like I say to my grand children.. Why don’t you go outside and play?

  14. moonbat  •  Jan 6, 2015 @10:35 pm

    I’m not sure wingnuts comprehend that there’s only so much oil; the planet ain’t makin’ more. They seem to believe it will just grow back.

    They don’t think that way. It’s all about: how much oil is there for ME? Anything beyond that isn’t a concern. And, it’s perfectly OK to take the oil from somebody else. “It’s survival”, as one of them explained it to me.

  15. priscianus jr  •  Jan 7, 2015 @12:42 am

    “I’m not sure wingnuts comprehend that there’s only so much oil; the planet ain’t makin’ more. They seem to believe it will just grow back. ”

    Honestly, Maha, next thing you’re going to tell us that you’ve never heard of abiotic oil. The wingnuts certainly have.
    http://www.viewzone.com/abioticoilx.html

  16. maha  •  Jan 7, 2015 @8:53 am

    priscianus jr — //Honestly, Maha, next thing you’re going to tell us that you’ve never heard of abiotic oil. The wingnuts certainly have.//

    Junk science, m’love. Although no doubt the Koch Brothers thank you for your credulity.

  17. Swami  •  Jan 7, 2015 @12:52 am

    Maybe in a few million years some species of sentient rats will put us in their gas tanks.

    Could be, Maha. I’ve often thought that in not knowing from whence I came or where I’m going except for the fact that in both coming and going I’ll be traversing eternity on the molecular level or smaller, it’s quite possible that at one point in my eternal journey I very well could have passed through the urinary tract of Genghis Khan. Who knows? Or maybe as Nebuchadnezzar’s earwax or part of some substance attached to some other notable figure. The possibilities are infinite.
    So the thought of some sentient rat pumping me into their gas tank a million years from now makes good sense to me. I’m not sure about the probabilities of that coming to be, but the possibility is definitely there.

  18. uncledad  •  Jan 7, 2015 @1:26 am

    “sentient rats”

    Can I use that name for my new band?!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WESzcFiEP4M

  19. jim  •  Jan 7, 2015 @5:10 pm

    Funny, I keep missing, two points, the tarsand oil is heavy weight oil, more suitable for lubricants, greases and to be moved to a refinery it needs to be thinned, with refined oils, or sufficants. Part two, was that the oil was already sold in contracts let out years ago by the bros to our favorite job killing neighbor, China. Some facts always stick in the craw.

  20. priscianus jr  •  Jan 7, 2015 @5:22 pm

    Did I say I believe it? I just said they did.

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