Showing posts with label Keystone Pipeline. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Keystone Pipeline. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The President Goes 3 for 3

The President had a good day yesterday. He vetoed the Keystone Pipleline legislation, put the GOP in a corner on DHS funding, and got Republicans to cave on net neutrality.

The Keystone Pipeline has pretty much become joke so it's really not a big deal that he vetoed the bill. The issue is largely symbolic now yet I still question the value of the project. It will only create temporary jobs in a market that is really not doing very well right now. The DHS funding battle perplexes me as well. The president's immigration action is on hold pending court action so the GOP doesn't have to fight about it in Congress. They should be putting their energy into the court battle. Why put the people at DHS out of a job?

The net neutrality action is the big one out of this bunch. The internet should be regulated like a utility and the idea that the various providers should be allowed to slow down speeds or offer fast lanes for certain customers would eventually end up eroding consumer surplus. The internet is indeed a public good and should be governed as such.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Just who is Anti-Keystone?

The Wall Street Journal has a piece up about the opposition to the Keystone pipeline and how it really isn't as left-right as you would think. Politico echoed this as well.

Ranchers and native tribes that oppose the pipeline formed the Cowboys and Indians Alliance, putting a non-traditional face on the anti-Keystone movement that has spanned the president’s time in office. Their goal — like that of their environmentalist counterparts — is to persuade Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to determine that the pipeline from Canada would go against the national interest.

The ranchers — or “cowboys” — are concerned not just about protecting sensitive aquifers near the pipeline, but also about their land rights, several said at the protest. “I’m here to support the neighbors to the north that don’t want the pipeline across their land,” said Julia Trigg Crawford, a Texas rancher who rode in on horseback. She didn’t have so much luck with her own land. 

Part of the Oklahoma-to-Texas southern leg of Keystone XL, which has already been built, runs through Crawford’s ranch land on the Red River. “Basically they came in and said a foreign corporation building a for-profit pipeline had more of a right to my land than I did,” Crawford said. The land can be used for grazing, but she can’t build a house or drive across it, she said. Crawford received a check for $10,395 two years ago but has never cashed it, she said.

For some conservatives, it's about property rights and federal government intrusion which I find interesting because they do have an argument. I wonder why so many conservatives who champion private property and rights love the Pipeline as much as they do.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thinking Beyond Keystone

The anti-Keystone people need to think beyond the TransCanada pipeline they are so vehemently against. Take a look at this graphic from a recent piece in the Times. Honestly, what Keystone would represent in terms of carbon emissions is a sliver compared to everything else. So, what does this mean and what is being done about it?

Experts say that to make a serious dent in American carbon emissions, Mr. Obama’s administration would have to enact policies that would force the two most polluting sectors of the nation’s economy — cars and coal plants — to slash their emissions. Mr. Obama has already signed a United Nations accord pledging that the United States will cut its greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050; there is simply no way to hit those targets, experts say, other than by going after cars and coal. And he then would have to make the case to other nations that the United States had taken action — and that they must, too.
He is making some headway on those fronts. 

In his first term, Mr. Obama’s E.P.A. used the authority of the Clean Air Act to issue tough new vehicle fuel-economy standards of 54.5 miles a gallon by 2025. The regulations forced automakers to build fleets of fuel-sippers, and according to the E.P.A. they will lead to a cut of about 180 million tons of carbon a year by 2020, rising to 580 million tons by 2030 and 1.1 billion tons annually by 2050. 

The agency is now drafting a regulation, expected in June, to slash pollution from existing coal-fired power plants. Details aren’t yet available, but experts estimate that it will cut an average of 200 million to 500 million tons of carbon emissions annually within a decade. And the E.P.A. estimated that regulations on building and appliance efficiency have cut or prevented the annual emission of 350 million tons of carbon. That means the combined impact of the current and forthcoming E.P.A. regulations could lead to cuts of over one billion tons of emissions annually.

So, if the anti-Keystone people really want to make a dent in carbon emissions, they should support and help the president to reach his goal. I'm very tired of liberals who say the president has done nothing for the environment. His actions speak for themselves.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The Keystone Report

The State Department has released its report on the Keystone Pipeline. There is no recommendation one or another on whether the pipeline should be built. It noted that even with some sort of governmental blockage on the line, it would accomplish very little to slow the expansion of Canada's vast oil sands. The report offered some solace to climate activists who want to stem the rise of oil sands output. It reaffirmed the idea that Canada's heavy crude reserves require more energy to produce and process - and therefore result in higher greenhouse gas emissions - than conventional oil fields.

So where does that leave us? In my view, still undecided. I don't see any convincing evidence that Keystone is going to do massive environmental harm, as activists claim. Yet I also don't see a negligible impact on the environment either. I guess I'm wondering why we are having this debate in the first place. Arguing about oil is like having a debate over the viability of the cassette tape versus Mp3s. We should be spending our time on bringing down the cost of renewable energy and making it as cheap as coal and oil. The entire debate over Keystone reminds of past arguments over the NEA (a loser for both sides who just want something stupid to club each other over the head with).

So, John Kerry is going spend the next three months consulting with government agencies when he should be doing other things like...oh, I don't actual peace deal between Israel and Palestine.


Saturday, November 09, 2013

Energy News A Go Go

There is quite a bit to talk about in energy news so let's get to it!

 First up is a call for nuclear power that I have been waiting for a long time. Check out the source!

Four scientists who have played a key role in alerting the public to the dangers of climate change sent letters Sunday to leading environmental groups and politicians around the world. The letter, an advance copy of which was given to The Associated Press, urges a crucial discussion on the role of nuclear power in fighting climate change. 

Environmentalists have the same problem with emotions and instransigence as the Right does in terms of their views on...well...just about everything:) Nuclear power is clean and much safer than the worry warts will have you believe. The letter signers are James Hansen, a former top NASA scientist; Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution; Kerry Emanuel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Tom Wigley, of the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Speaking of climate change, a report on the effect of climate change on world food supplies has been leaked and the news is not good.

The warning on the food supply is the sharpest in tone the panel has issued. Its previous report, in 2007, was more hopeful. While it did warn of risks and potential losses in output, particularly in the tropics, that report found that gains in production at higher latitudes would most likely offset the losses and ensure an adequate global supply. 

The new tone reflects a large body of research in recent years that has shown how sensitive crops appear to be to heat waves. The recent work also challenges previous assumptions about how much food production could increase in coming decades because of higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The gas, though it is the main reason for global warming, also acts as a kind of fertilizer for plants.

For a closer look at this problem and all the data, click here. 

Will this be enough to convince people? I think when you start messing around with the food that Americans eat, they tend to react!

Finally, for the "Drill, Baby, Drill" crowd, it looks like we have a way around the northern section of Keystone.

Since July, plans have been announced for three large loading terminals in western Canada with the combined capacity of 350,000 barrels a day — equivalent to roughly 40 percent of the capacity of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that is designed to bring oil from western Alberta to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Over all, Canada is poised to quadruple its rail-loading capacity over the next few years to as much as 900,000 barrels a day, up from 180,000 today. 

Rail..uh oh! Republicans hate choo choos! Speaking of oil, why is the price of it so low right now? Because the dollar is stronger. How can that be? I thought we were heading for apocalypse! Also...

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it expects demand for its crude oil to fall to 29.2 million barrels a day in 2018 from 30.3 million barrels a year this year. OPEC said rising supplies from other sources, such as Canadian oil sands, crude from Latin America and the increased use of biofuels would contribute to the fall in demand for its own output. 

Demand has fallen? Wait...I thought demand had nothing to do with price. And increased biofuels? What pinko nonsense!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

And About Keystone?

I'm not quite sure what to make of the Canadian oil train disaster that caused the deaths of 47 people. Certainly regulations were lax and Canada has stepped up and made moves to fix the problems in transporting hazardous goods. Of course, they don't have irrational adolescents in their country screaming about socialism so that makes it easier.

But what about Keystone? If the northern section of the pipeline is approved, what sort of guarantees do we have that the same thing won't happen here? Do we have regulations that are similar to the ones Canada is implementing? No more one man crews?

I really don't know. That's why I am asking.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An Illegal Foreign Land Grab?

There is a myth out there that basically states the Right is all for the Keystone Pipleline expansion and the left is all against it. It's simply not true. There are many people who feel that the approval of the pipeline will amount to government failure to protect eminent domain. Michael Bishop is one of them.

My name is Michael Bishop and I am a landowner in Douglass, TX in Nacogdoches County. I have been fighting TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline for almost five years now and, except for a handful of good Americans, was told there was no interest in eminent domain cases or that I “couldn’t win a case against TransCanada.”

There are many landowners like Bishop. No one is listening to them.

What I find further disturbing during my research in the cases I have filed against TransCanada, the Texas Railroad Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is the level of corruption I have uncovered and witnessed in our judiciary and legislative representatives. Sadly, this allegation goes all the way to the White House. During my fight against this illegal foreign land grab, I have seen many good people in Texas and other states destroyed by the actions of TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline, and their dreams (along with mine) for the future of their children and grandchildren shattered by greed, lies, propaganda and bullying tactics of a private, foreign corporation that has the complete and overwhelming support of these corrupt local leaders, politicians and judges. It is time for change.

Wow. Doesn't exactly sound like your typical Texan portrayed in the media...except maybe the anti-government part. One would think they would be all pro oil on everything (at least, that's what the right wing blogsphere tells me) but clearly they aren't.  It's also sort of amusing, in a hypocritical way, that some on the Right are all for a foreign country taking American land for their own profit.

The rest of his letter raise many interesting points that haven't hit the mainstream media. I'd like to see his view get some more attention as we debate whether or not this project go forward.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

To Keystone or Not Keystone

President Obama's recent remarks on climate change contained a comment about the heavily politicized Keystone Pipeline project that many found surprising. Mr. Obama said he would approve the remaining portion of the 1,700-mile pipeline from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries only if it would not “significantly exacerbate” the problem of carbon pollution. He added that the pipeline’s net effects on the climate would be “absolutely critical” to his decision whether to allow it to proceed.

What's interesting about the debate over this project is that it doesn't really take the usually left-right argument. There are people on the left that support it for the increase in jobs as well as people who are against it for environmental concerns. There are people on the right that support it for oil profits as well as people that are against it for reasons of eminent domain. It's a mixed bag.

It's also important to note that the State Department’s most recent environmental assessment of Keystone concluded that the pipeline would not result in a major increase in carbon emissions. The report said that the oil would be extracted whether the pipeline was built or not, and that it could be transported by other, more carbon-intensive means like trucks or rail cars in the absence of Keystone.

Critics say that is an unrealistic conclusion, citing studies saying Canada does not currently have the rail or highway capacity to move the 830,000 barrels of oil a day that Keystone XL is designed to carry. Factcheck has a great piece on how this surplus in oil will actually be a surplus on top of surplus. Just because we build more mailboxes doesn't mean we are going to get more mail.

Given all of this, it's easy to see that there is much to weigh here before making a final decision. I don't envy the president and think it prudent to not rush in like an (ahem) adolescent and support this just CUZ IT'S OIL AND MONEY AND SHIT, FUCKERS!! At the same time, I don't think having a knee jerk reaction against does anyone any good either.

A thorough cost-benefit analysis is the order of the day and I will reserve my judgement until that process plays out.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

With Friends Like These...

The subject of the Keystone Pipeline came up in last night's debate and Mitt Romney fell back on that very false talking point that the president has "blocked it." This has been shown time and again to not be true.

But Governor Romney might want to be careful about how vigorously he champions the pipeline. He might seriously tick off a very large group of heavily armed people who don't take kindly to foreigners ordering them around: Texans.

As the company pursues construction of a controversial 1,179-mile-long cross-country pipeline meant to bring Canadian tar sands oil to South Texas refineries, it's finding opposition in the unlikeliest of places: oil-friendly Texas, a state that has more pipelines snaking through the ground than any other. 

In the minds of some landowners approached by TransCanada for land, the company has broken an unspoken code. 

"This is a foreign company," Crawford said. "Most people believe that as this product gets to the Houston area and is refined, it's probably then going to be shipped outside the United States. So if this product is not going to wind up as gasoline or diesel fuel in your vehicles or mine then what kind of energy independence is that creating for us?"

Hmm...who else has been saying that for quite some time now?

TransCanada's pipeline, some landowners say, is more worrisome than those built by other companies because of the tar sands oil the company wants to transport. They point to an 800,000-gallon spill of mostly tar sands oil in Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010. It took Enbridge, the company that owns that pipeline, 17 hours to detect the rupture, and the cleanup is still incomplete. 

Ah, those landowners in Texas are just a bunch of fucking tree hugger hippie communists...fuckers...what right do they have?

Nearly half the steel TransCanada is using is not American-made and the company won't promise to use local workers exclusively; it can't guarantee the oil will remain in the United States. It has snatched land. Possibly most egregious: They've behaved like arrogant foreigners, unworthy of operating in Texas. 

Oh, there's that, of course.

I seem to recall a few people on here expressing unqualified support for the Keystone Pipeline and accusing those who didn't of being traitors. So, this story from AP begs the question...are Texas landowners anti-American because they won't let a Canadian company drill for oil on their land?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Keystone XL Pipeline Will Make Gas Prices Go Up

For some time now I've been contending that the Keystone XL pipeline would cause the price of gas to go up because the fuel refined from it would be shipped off to China at world market prices instead of being "stuck" in the American Midwest where it winds up being sold as gasoline, often at lower prices than those paid on all three coasts.

Now we have confirmation. According to an analysis from the NRDC:

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would divert oil from the Midwest to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Midwestern refineries produce more gasoline per barrel than refineries in any other region in the United States. That gasoline is then sold to U.S. consumers. In contrast, refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas produce as much diesel as possible, much of which is exported internationally. By taking oil from midwestern gasoline refineries to Gulf Coast diesel refineries, Keystone XL will decrease the amount of gasoline available to American consumers. 
Meanwhile the Keystone XL pipeline will increase the price that gasoline producing refineries in the Midwest pay for crude oil. TransCanada, the company sponsoring the pipeline, pitched the pipeline to Canadian regulators as a way of increasing the price of crude in the United States (emphasis mine).
Right now, Midwestern refineries are buying crude oil at a discount—a deep discount. This allows them to produce products more cheaply than they would otherwise be able to. Building Keystone XL would change that. If TransCanada’s analysis is accurate, under current market conditions, Keystone XL would add $20 to $40 to the cost of a barrel of  Canadian crude—increasing the cost of oil in the United States by tens of billions of dollars
I was unaware of the propensity for diesel refining of the Gulf Coast, but that only increases the likelihood that Canadian oil will be sold to China. Most interesting is TransCanada's selling point to Canadian regulators was that it would increase gas prices for Americans.

The lesson: don't believe anything the oil industry says about oil prices. Their goal is to maximize profits, which means they want to maximize prices.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Still More Facts

In many ways, I'm very happy the energy issue is out front and center right now in public debate because we are starting to see more articles like this.

More US drilling didn't drop gas price

A statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production by The Associated Press shows no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump. Political rhetoric about the blame over gas prices and the power to change them — whether Republican claims now or Democrats' charges four years ago — is not supported by cold, hard figures.

Oh really? 36 years you say?

Seasonally adjusted U.S. oil production dropped steadily from February 1986 until three years ago. But starting in March 1986, inflation-adjusted gas prices fell below the $2-a-gallon mark and stayed there for most of the rest of the 1980s and 1990s. Production between 1986 and 1999 dropped by nearly one-third. If the drill-now theory were correct, prices should have soared. Instead they went down by nearly a dollar.



Sometimes prices increase as American drilling ramps up. That's what has happened in the past three years. Since February 2009, U.S. oil production has increased 15 percent when seasonally adjusted. Prices in those three years went from $2.07 per gallon to $3.58. It was a case of drilling more and paying much more. U.S. oil production is back to the same level it was in March 2003, when gas cost $2.10 per gallon when adjusted for inflation. But that's not what prices are now.

.But what about Keystone?

Supporters of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline say it would bring 25 million barrels of oil to the United States a month. That's the same increase in U.S. production that occurred between February and November last year. Monthly gas prices went up a dime a gallon in that time. 

Facts, folks. These are facts. Read the entire piece as it contains many more hard statistics.

And what is it again that affects prices?

That's because oil is a global commodity and U.S. production has only a tiny influence on supply. Factors far beyond the control of a nation or a president dictate the price of gasoline.

Why is that so difficult for people to understand? Oh yes, that's right...Barack X and his army of killer robots that are destroying free enterprise in this country.

Of course, the ultimate irony here is that I'm beginning to think that supporters of increased domestic drilling are under the impression that the United States government would own the oil. They wouldn't, of course, because that would be socialism, right? So, the companies that would own the oil would be able to sell it on the free market.

Where do you think they would go and sell it?

Monday, February 27, 2012


The Keystone Fight Is Uniting Tea Partiers With Environmentalists. 

I knew it was only a matter of time before there was some crossover. It makes sense when you really sit back and think about how one could make a case for the government failing to protect property rights.