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The Keystone Pipeline

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    The pipeline from what I understand is to be built with our tax dollars to bring oil sands to Texas to be refined by the oil companys to stave off our dependance on forign oil. What a load of sands for lack of a better word. From what heard is that the Canadian Oil companys are looking to some other sucker to do the dirty work, It takes two tons of these sands to make one barrel of oil(42gallons),What are we going to do with the rest of the sands(black beaches anyone) ,maybe after the next oil spill in the gulf it wont look so bad. Texas is not even on the national power grid so maybe they wont even share the benifits but when it comes to cleaning up the mess they surley will share.This brings up another point that has been bugging me for years, the other pipeline that cost American tax payers aproximatily 13 billion dollars,The Alaska pipeline from were the oil was going to reduce our dependance on forign oil(sounds like a broken record dosent it) . Well from what I have heard you can stand on the coast and wave godbye to the tankers as they steam to Asia and east. To end my story the oil companys recieve subidisys,make billions of dollars,If they want it let them pay for it and be responsible for the mess they will create. I have my own fight where the Governer of Pa. refusses to hold gas companys responsible for clean water resulting from fracking and not makeing them pay taxes on there massive profets because they gave him millions for his campain.
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    The liquification process takes place in Alberta, thus the extracted sand granduals remain in Canada.  The oil is
    transported in liquid form through the pipeline, and is being piped to Texas simply to be refined into a marketable product.
    Texas is the nearest refinery location from the Alberta sand/oil ranges that has access to the Gulf Stream shipping lanes
    for easy transport to the US Eastern Seaboard, and perhaps Europe as well.  It does not matter where refined oil is bought
    and sold, whether the consumption point is Asia, Europe, or the Americas.  The point is, the more fossil fuel energy products
    that can be produced by NAFTA nations, and dumped onto the world market, the more strain it puts on OPEC from achieving
    the higher prices they so desire.  

    Keystone will not solve most of our energy dilemma.  It is, however, a huge step in making Canada and the US bigger players
    in the worldwide oil indusrty by increasing North American market share through a significiant quantity of "at home" access.
    Whether eventually for domestic use or export, the oil transported through the Keystone will give us a better "seat at the table"
    among the world oil producers.  The best thing about Keystone?  Two-fold; it is designed to lessen our depedence upon
    petroleum products from Venezuela.  And the best....it will create a fairly decent number of jobs in the Heartland, both during
    construction and for years to come.
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    There are of course other opposing arguments that should be considered. I thought about grabbing them from some of the environmental websites, but then to my surprise I found also that Fox News agrees with many of the same points. Wow. So I list the Fox News contrary arguments below:

    Six reasons Keystone XL was a bad deal all along:

    1. It Doesn't Reduce Foreign Oil Dependency -- "The oil to be sent through Keystone XL pipeline was never destined for US markets." Most all was destined to be exported. The United States was just a convenient route to sell the oil to overseas markets...China perhaps.

    2. It Would Increase Domestic Oil Prices -- Canadian oil production currently kept in the Midwest markets help suppress gas prices, especially for farmers in our nation’s heartland.

    3. It Overstates the Number of Jobs to be Created -- TransCanada’s original permit application said the Keystone XL pipeline would create “a peak workforce of approximately 3,500 to 4,200 construction personnel” in temporary jobs building the pipeline." After the pipeline is built, there would be no jobs except for occasional inspectors along the entire route and a few at the pumping stations...unless of course there was a leak that would employ local labor to clean up the toxic mess. My words...not Fox News.

    4. Parts Already Built Have Leaked 12 Times in Last Year -- Part of the pipeline has been built and has already leaked -- not just once, but 12 times in the last year.

    5. Environmental Concerns Are Justified -- Nebraska’s Republican Governor Dave Heineman strongly opposed the pipeline route that would have run through the Ogalla aquifer recharge zone. This massive and vital aquifer supplies clean drinking water to over 2 million Americans and fuels the region’s agriculture industry. A minor oil spill in or near the aquifer would jeopardize hundreds of thousands of jobs and affect the health and safety of millions.

    6. Mining Tar Sands Worsens Global Warming -- If you agree with the majority of the world’s scientists that climate change is real, the Canadian tar sands are the second largest carbon reserve in the world.

    Thank you Fox News.
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    Schmidt:


    I share your distrust of Fox News, but I was delighted to see that even Fox is
    opposed to this thing. The Chicago Tribune this morning had a good article about
    the pipeline, and Obama's handling of it. Newt's opinion makes for interesting reading.

    www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-ap-us-oil-pipeline,0,4823352.story


    Since it looks like "we the people" killed SOPA, a massive deluge on congressional websites may wind up being the best way to kill the pipeline.
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    This is not the miracle solution to our energy problems. The XL TransCanada pipeline is set up to prosper a few super rich men who have invested in it, & the rest of us get ripped off. The Alberta Canada oil co's supply us with this crude toxic mess, but it is the USA who takes the risk of a pipe bursting, or spillage or leaks that are very destructive to the US environment. Another pipeline  (just like XL) has burst 12 times already in ONE YEAR. In the future, due to its scarcity, fresh WATER WILL BE MORE VALUABLE THAN GOLD & SILVER. Gradually the industrial pollutors have encroached on almost every source of pure drinking water in the USA, & now they can't wait to get their greedy hands on the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water thru 5 states, & gives habitat to many species of fish, & nesting grounds for many birds, plus water used in agriculture to grow our crops. What is more important? Water to drink (to stay alive) & water to grow our crops (to eat) & a natural place for the animals of Nature? OR letting thousands of tons of filthy toxic poison be running in bursting pipes under our land? PLEASE NOTE: If you are missing OIL for a few weeks, you can walk, ride your bike, take a bus, or car pool. But without pure drinking WATER (in 7 days) YOU DIE. And if your crops don't have pure water, most of the season, all your FOOD DIES. Think about that.  This is a SURVIVAL ISSUE.
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    Adding to the confusion, Governor Schweitzer of Montana has said today on Fox News that the real hold-up for the pipeline is Nebraska. The Governor of Nebraska has not approved the pipeline route so the State Department cannot approve it. Nebraska's approval comes BEFORE the State Department approval...and Nebraska's approval isn't going to be made for several months, if at all.

    See Crooks and Liars, January 19th: Montana Gov. Schweitzer Schools Neil Cavuto In Politics Of Keystone XL Pipeline - UPDATED and watch the video.
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    FOX News favors the construction of the Keystone Project.  The article in the thread above is an "Opinion" column
    written by Sally Kohn.  Ms Kohn contributes articles to FOX News, even though often times her views are far different from that
    of FOX's editorial staff.  Guess this is FOX's way of being "fair and balanced".  Sally's view usually have a liberal slant, but
    apparently the network wants viewers and readers to consider both sides.  The same goes for Juan Williams.  He has a 
    left of center stance, and is an Obama supporter, yet particiaptes often on O'Reilly and Hannity.  Much better news coverage
    than MSNBC.  Meanwhile, FOX endorces construction of the pipeline.  And oh by the way, Nebraska (weeks ago) approved
    a route for the pipeline though their state.  And no, much of the oil through the pipeline IS earmarked for US and Canadian
    domestic use.    Sally has many of her facts wrong, but it was nice of FOX to post the article.
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    Just to be clear, the original proposed route went through an environmentally sensitive area in Nebraska called the Sand Hills. I have extracted the discussion of that sensitive area below. Following major objections from the local population TransCanada did indeed agree with Nebraska on an alternative route to by-pass the Sand Hills area. However, this new route also requires an environmental assessment before ultimate approvals can be made.

    Republicans tried to force the approval of the alternative route by linking it to the extension of the payroll tax. Essentially they wanted the approval of the new route without the environmental assessment which was expected in 2013.

    When one looks at the environmental considerations in the original Sand Hills route, TransCanada was stupid to think they could get a pipeline approved through this area. So the delays are forced by their own miscalculation of what it would take to get all the approvals in place.

    I expect that the pipeline will ultimately be approved with the alternative route unless this route also runs into unforeseen environmental obstacles.

    Congressional Research Service Report for Congress
    December 12, 2011

    On November 10, 2011, in response to concerns regarding the pipeline route and actions by the Nebraska legislature applicable to pipeline siting, the State Department announced a delay in its national interest determination to gather additional information necessary to assess a new pipeline route avoiding the Sand Hills. On November 14, 2011, TransCanada announced its decision to work with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to identify an acceptable pipeline route around the Sand Hills. The State Department estimates that the preparation of supplemental environmental analysis necessary for a new route alternative may be complete in early 2013.

    Impacts to the Nebraska Sand Hills

    In the process of examining factors necessary to determine whether the Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest, the State Department decided that it needs to assess potential alternative pipeline routes that would avoid the Sand Hills region of Nebraska. Unique characteristics of the Sand Hills, including its high concentration of wetlands, extensive areas of very shallow groundwater, and its sensitive ecosystem, were identified as factors that resulted in increasing public concern over the proposed pipeline location. Subsequently,TransCanada announced that it would work with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to identify a potential pipeline route that would avoid the Nebraska Sand Hills.

    To understand the concerns associated with potential environmental impacts of the construction and operation of a pipeline that crosses the Sand Hills (also referred to as the Sandhills) an understanding of the unique size and structure of the region is useful. The Sand Hills region is a 19,600 square mile sand dune formation stabilized by native grasslands that cover 95% of its surface. The surface is highly susceptible to wind erosion if the grassland is disturbed. Below its surface lie hundreds of feet of course sand and gravel. Essentially, the porous soil acts like a giant sponge that quickly absorbs precipitation, allowing very little to run off. In some areas, the water table reaches the land surface—a characteristic that creates lakes that dot the region as well as 1.3 million acres of wetlands.

    The loose, porous soil and sensitivity to wind erosion have been factors contributing to a lack of development on the Sand Hills. As a result, the region contains the most intact natural habitat of the Great Plains of the United States. The porosity of the soil is also relevant because the Sand Hills sits atop the Ogallala Aquifer—one of the largest aquifer systems in the world. In the Final EIS, the preferred pipeline route through Nebraska would be located entirely above the Ogallala Aquifer (Figure 2).

    The highly porous soil of the Sand Hills make it a significant recharge zone in the northern region of the Ogallala Aquifer system. That is, the sandy, porous soil of the Sand Hills allows a significant amount of surface water to enter (recharge) the aquifer system. Water from the aquifer also accounts for a significant amount of water use—78% of the region’s public water, 83% of irrigation water in Nebraska, and 30% of water used in the U.S. for irrigation and agriculture.

    Potential impacts to the Ogallala Aquifer and the Sand Hills identified in the Final EIS include potential groundwater contamination after a release (e.g., a spill or leak from a hole or damaged portion of the pipeline) of crude oil during the construction or operation of the proposed pipeline. Along the preferred route of the proposed pipeline, areas in the Sand Hills region were identified as locations where the water table may be close to the surface. The depth to groundwater is less than 10 feet for approximately 65 miles of the preferred pipeline route in Nebraska. Both the soil porosity and the close proximity of groundwater to the surface increase the potential that a release of oil from the pipeline could contaminate groundwater in the region
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    Reference: Globe and Mail, December 24, 2011: The politics of pipe: Keystone's troubled route

    Just to add a little more information on the Keystone XL pipeline. The potential environmental issues surrounding the Sand Hills in Nebraska were identified in 2006. At that time, the Canadians called it the "boiling sands." As per the Globe and Mail article above, a conversation in 2006 with a pipeline engineer on a similar pipeline was recorded like this:

    "'What are the route issues here?’ He said, ‘There’s really only one.’ I said, ‘What’s that?’ He said, ‘You have to go through the boiling sands of Nebraska.’”

    At that time the Canadians were dealing with the oil friendly Cheney/Bush Presidency, and although they identified the Nebraska Sand Hills as a potential environmental obstacle, Nebraska was also a heavy pro business Republican state and they thought they could ram the approvals through. They totally miscalculated and despite spending millions on a lobbying campaign, the environmental concerns raised by the locals, both Republican and Democrats, were insurmountable.

    “There’s probably 10 large environmental organizations with a lot more staff that are blogging, that are writing news releases, that are out there in the communities,” said TransCanada spokesman James Millar. The company struggled to know what to say."

    "The company failed to listen to key voices. In Nebraska, TransCanada faced down a year of calls to switch its route around the Sand Hills, calls that came from powerful people like Nebraska’s governor and its two U.S. senators. The company refused, adamantly. The Sand Hills route, it said, was far and away the best."


    After the US State Department rejected the Sand Hills route, "it took four days for TransCanada to agree to change the route and skip the Sand Hills, prompting the question of whether it could have avoided the conflict all along."

    TransCanada made a major strategic mistake when they didn't heed the concerns of pipeline engineers, and they had plenty of time afterwards to rectify that mistake as the environmental issues received more scrutiny, but they did nothing, hoping their lobbyists and Congressional Republicans will force the issue. Certainly the political environment has changed since 2006, but the environmental issues with the Sand Hills are real. Once people understood (as the pipeline engineers did in 2006) then it was sure to be rejected.

    Republicans have sought to obfuscate the whole approval process, but the blame lies with the Canadians, and just because they screwed up doesn't mean that the Obama administration has to rush through the alternative route without an environmental assessment.

    For more on the environmental issues beyond the Sand Hills area, one can read this National Resource Defense Council article. I won't go into the details here except to point out that there are other issues that ultimately could impact the approvals. And furthermore, political posturing by the Canadians to sell the crude to China via a proposed alternative pipeline route to the Canadian Pacific coast through British Columbia will run into considerable difficulty with the good citizens of British Columbia that don't like it either.

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    The entire industry of the "tar sands oil" from Canada is immoral & should be looked at from other perspectives than temporary jobs vs FOREVER pollution of enormous consequence. Business should be made aware there are LOTS of things on this earth MORE IMPORTANT than Greed.

    The old saying "one picture is worth 1,000 words" is true below:

    (1) LINK to (video) to STOP the Keystone XL pipeline:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNpQ2nTUYkU


    (2) LINK to (video) Alberta Canada tar sand oil (ecosytem destruction):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5aXo87N6nU
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    Yes, the 6 reasons why the pipeline is such a bad deal is excellent and concise; as for newt, he is a strutting peacock always serving his own ambitions and personal interests, a master of manipulation especially of the undereducated and cult member following of the GOP.

    Thank God the pieline has at least been put on hold for redirection; The areas of KS and OK through which the pipeline was paathed have human beings and farm animals/agriculture 100% dependent upon WELL WATER...it may surprise urbanites luxuriating in cities where everything is served to them in their kitchens, but RURAL AMERICA and AGRICULTURE get their water from the ground, from the water table and acquifuors, which would be contaminated by the least leak ...and there is no such thing as "a little poisoning of the well" ...

    and gues what, urbanites, US rural america, farmers, agriculture are the engines which drive the nation...you can't eat computers, money, or corporations; you can eat what rural america produces...urbanites need to get their priorities straight.

    There's a time and a place for corporations... and that is NOT at the top of the nation. Corporations should be nothing more nor less than business exchange mechanisms by which trade is acoomplished; they are not religious temples for the worship of mammon.

    I cannot but wonder why the question has not been asked: Since the oil is at the bottom of the supply bucket and what is left is sufficient merely an aid in the alternative energy transition process, WHY IS THE STUFF FROM CANADA NOT _SHIPPED_ BY TANKERS TO REFINERIES IN TX AS AS USUAL ...WHY THE PIPELINE ANYWAY WHEN YOU CONSIDER THE DELAY CAUSED BY BUILDING IT AND THE LIABILITIES OF IT RUNNING/LEAKING ???!!!!

    dah....

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    I disagree with all of you. I think the Keystone Pipeline would be a very good thing for the United States, and for our NAFTA partner, Canada.
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    I agree that it would be highly profitable, more so for Canada than the United States. But again you are missing the point. Should we ride rough shod over all environmental concerns for the sake of profits? Many Republicans want to just eradicate the EPA entirely, which ironically was one of the Republican signature achievements of President Richard Nixon.

    As you well know, if you read my posts above, TransCanada and the other corporations that were trying to ram the approvals of the pipeline through the highly environmentally sensitive Sand Hills area of Nebraska totally misjudged how "not in my back yard" isn't just a liberal trait. Republican Governor Dave Heineman did the right thing and listened to his citizens and killed that route.

    Now the Republicans are making an issue out of Obama not approving the alternative route that has not had an environmental assessment. What they are really saying is okay..."TransCanada screwed up and thought they could run rough shod over Nebraskans...but now President Obama, valuable time has been lost (a whole year or more) that hurts the economics of our project...and therefore you need to approve that alternative pipeline route NOW without that same environmental assessment that killed the Sand Hills route."

    "Do it now Mr President or we will block all your other initiatives," Republicans say.

    President Obama has rightfully called their bluff...they've already played that card too many times.
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    I watched this 17 minute emotional TED talk by a Canadian citizen concerned for his country Garth Lentz: Images of beauty and devastation on the Athabasca tar sands mining project and what it is doing to Canada's environment. It is well presented and I recommend it.

    The question to be asked...is it all worth it? Is there any price to which we can say no?

    Watch the video and then comment. It is well worth your 17 minutes.
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    I stand with Montana and N. Dakota Republicans. 

    They want this well thought out. They want this done safely. Or not at all. 

    No reason to risk so much for the sake of so few.  Fuck the Koch brothers.