Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government United States Politics

Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again 206

Posted by timothy
from the you-can't-divorce-politics-from-government dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that once again, the Obama administration has pushed back a final decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline possibly delaying the final determination until after the November midterm elections. In announcing the delay, the State Department cited a Nebraska Supreme Court case that could affect the route of the pipeline that may not be decided until next year, as well as additional time needed to review 2.5 million public comments on the project. Both supporters and opponents of the pipeline criticized the delay as a political ploy. Democratic incumbents from oil-rich states have urged President Obama to approve the pipeline but approving the pipeline before the election could staunch the flow of money from liberal donors and fund-raisers who oppose the project. The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell said in a statement that "at a time of high unemployment in the Obama economy, it's a shame that the administration has delayed the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline for years." Activists say its construction could devastate the environment, but several State Department reviews have concluded that the pipeline would be safe and was unlikely to significantly increase the rate of carbon pollution in the atmosphere. Even if the pipeline was canceled, it said, the oil sands crude was likely to be extracted and brought to market by other means, such as rail, and then processed and burned."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

Comments Filter:
  • Irrelevant... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Karmashock (2415832) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @08:36AM (#46798893)

    Every action that increases the cost of gasoline increases the profit in producing it.

    What the anti oil people have failed to grasp is that they're making the oil companies rich at everyone else's expense.

    If I didn't know better, I'd think the whole anti oil campaign were a conspiracy by the oil companies to raise prices. Because that has been the result.

    We are only getting fracking in the first place because oil got expensive enough to justify the practice. If oil were cheaper then there would be no fracking.

    Increase the cost further and see what happens next. But it won't be the green revolution.

    Long story short, batteries are what is holding back green technology. Batteries are shit. Until that changes the green revolution will mostly be a luxury feel good item for the wealthy. Anyone outside of the elite simply won't be able to afford to go fully solar with an electric car, etc.

    Which means we're on gas. And prices for gas will have to get astronomic before it will overwhelm the price advantage that gas has over electric.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20, 2014 @08:41AM (#46798905)

      I power my car with the energy produced from coal therefore I am better than you lowly gas guzzling people.

      The hypocrisy is mind blowing.

      • Does. Not. Compute. (Score:4, Informative)

        by stomv (80392) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @09:07AM (#46798975) Homepage

        My part of the country gets about 5% of our electricity from coal. The largest share (though not the majority) is natural gas, with big chunks of hydro, nuclear, and small but growing chunks of wind and solar and biomass/landfill gas. The carbon intensity of the electricity in my region per usable energy (say, per mile the vehicle can go) is less for electric than for gasoline, by a pretty wide margin.

        Furthermore, if a person has PV panels on his own house, he can legitimately claim that his vehicle is low carbon emissions even if he does live in Kentucky or Ohio or Arizona or any other significantly-coal-dependent state.

        Furthermore, coal plants are being retired all around the country. There's currently about 300 GW of coal fired capacity in tUSA -- by 2020 it will be closer to 220 GW. Folks who want less carbon emissions are opposed to building new capital infrastructure which will facilitate more carbon emissions for decades to come. Those folks would rather spend money (and create jobs) building wind turbines and solar farms and expanding subway and bus lines and switching more truck delivery to rails and switching from the manufacturing of gasoline fired autos to electric vehicles.

        The folks who oppose the Keystone aren't in favor of coal fired electric power plants. That's pretty freaking obvious.

      • I'd say ignorance. Its the same mentality that goes to the store and buys meat thinking that meat is a slab of product divorced from its source... aka a live animal at some point.

        I am not a vegetarian. But I am often annoyed by my fellow urban dwellers that don't seem to understand where anything comes from or what you must do to sustain the system.

        I really think everyone as children should be taken out to the country to see a real farm in action... and then follow that forward to the grain mills, dairies,

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I power my car with the energy produced from coal therefore I am better than you lowly gas guzzling people.

        Indeed, centralized coal power produces less pollution per unit of energy than the IC engine of a car. Running a car on coal electricity will produce less carbon pollution per mile.

        The hypocrisy is mind blowing.

        More like your understanding of reality is flawed. Efficiency comes with scale; electric power stations are quite efficient, IC engines are not.

    • Re:Irrelevant... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @08:42AM (#46798907) Journal

      What you fail to realize is that most of them could care less if the oil companies get rich or not. They are more concerned with controlling you and getting your vote. The evil oil companies is just a windmill for you to tilt at while they cheer you on claiming to do something about it while you gladly vote for them.

      • Oh I know... I'm not against the pipeline.

        Resisting it is meaningless. The oil will flow one way or another and making that process less efficient is not good for business or the environment.

      • by Uberbah (647458)

        What you fail to realize is that most of them could care less if the oil companies get rich or not. They are more concerned with controlling you and getting your vote.

        Painfully facile, even for you. You could try and make counter-arguments that the mining of the tar sands wont trash the environment, that the pipeline will somehow be built without eminent domain, that the constant leaks that happen with every other pipeline of length wont happen with this one, how the processed fuel wont be the dirtiest pe

    • Re:Irrelevant... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @09:15AM (#46798995)

      What the anti oil people have failed to grasp is that they're making the oil companies rich at everyone else's expense.

      This is not about facts. It is about a litmus test of ideological purity. Like spotted owls [wikipedia.org] and SDI [wikipedia.org], it has taken on so much symbolic importance as a political dog fight that the underlying facts no longer matter at all.

      • Even wealthy people with aspirations to roles as activists only have so much time and energy to throw at this part of themselves, the part that needs to be seen as doing the good work. Anything packaged as "Save The Earth" catches their interest instinctively.

        The article postulates the Dems are trying to pacify the environmental flag wavers by not signing until after the next election cycle, an eerie parallel to the Republican need to court the far right during Presidential primaries and then distance the

        • by Creepy (93888)

          And it makes sense to appease the environmentalists on this one - It creates few permanent American jobs and they are shipping and refining a corrosive, dirty form of oil (and is awful at the field, as you mention). That oil isn't even going to be used in the US - it is destined for use mainly in South America. So the US bears all the risk, gets almost no return and Canada reaps the profits. If I were Obama, I'd punt on this too - no reason to piss off the environmentalist Dems for a bunch of short term job

      • Myopic asshats will be myopic asshats.

    • Increased energy use is a self-correcting system.

      As it gets more expensive, there is economic pressure to use less, or to find more efficient ways to use the energy available.

      Without market distortions, such as massive subsidies for current forms of energy production, higher costs lead to new energy generation methods.

      • Except for it isn't because you can't reduce your energy consumption to zero.

        What happens is that people must pay the price whatever it is until it reaches such a high price that it creates a real crisis.

        You create the crisis and you might have riots in the streets or a general break down in society. So have fun with that.

        But the prior while people will do what they can to reduce consumption they still need to drive to work, they still need to drive around town, they still need to use energy. And raising pr

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gtall (79522)

        Self-correcting is relative to time. Many make the assumption that the time base is short and so destructive policies will have relatively immediate consequences. This is what confuses the global climate debate and the argument that when it gets hot enough, we'll switch to something non-carbon based. If the time base is short, that might work. However, if what we pump now means a runaway greenhouse effect 20-30 years from now, then we're screwed 20-30 years from now and no amount of "market forces" will fix

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        As it gets more expensive, there is economic pressure to use less, or to find more efficient ways to use the energy available.

        Oil (and consequently, refined petroleum products) has gotten more expensive because of speculation.
        There was a hearing a few years back and at least one oil company exec came out and said oil shouldn't cost more than $65/barrel.
        Further, he pointed out that no oil companies were interested in exploiting wells that would cost more than $80/barrel.
        Because $80 is what the oil industry sees as near the maximum market value for oil in the future.
        The entire difference between $65 and the spot price is market spec

    • DeVry MBA /|\ (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Hognoxious (631665) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @10:07AM (#46799177) Homepage Journal

      Every action that increases the cost of gasoline increases the profit in producing it.

      I know a guy who runs a sandwich shop. Next time I see him I'll tell him to throw away 50% of his ingredients, leave the ovens on full even when he's closed and take on employees whose sole function is to break things.

      He'll be pleased as puch at all the extra money he'll make!

      • Your economic analogy is false.

        Imagine rather that ALL food prices are increased.

        Will you pay or starve?

    • Ug... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rsilvergun (571051)
      Keystone is at best a waste for America and at worst a natural disaster waiting to happen. It's a pipeline down to Mexican refineries so Canada can sell cheap tar sands oil to China. The problem is it's a _long_ pipe line, and they have a history of breaking and nobody noticing (since it costs lots of $$$ to monitor them) until after a community's ground water is heavily contaminated. If it happens in a mid sized town or city where it's too expensive to buy everyone out those people are just screwed.

      T
      • 1. The oil will be sold where they want to sell it regardless. They're currently shipping it through other pipelines and ferrying it by truck where there are no links. You did not stop the flow.

        2. The canadians can build their own export facilities in Canada entirely bypassing the US. The canadians already take your position as a betrayal of our shared economic arrangement. The deal was that we'd provide certain assets to them and in return we got first bid on resources. You've made liars of us and the cana

        • Canada can build their own export facilities and deal with the environmental mess when their pipeline bursts (and their taxpayers can pick up that bill.

          The problem isn't just that it's not _benefiting_ America, the problem is that it's not benefiting America AND there's a substantial risk that there will be a large scale environmental disaster that the company who owns the pipeline will never pay to clean up.

          We have no reason to OK it and every reason _not_ to OK it.
          • There are other pipelines and other ways to move the oil... by truck and train amongst others. You're not stopping anything.

            You're merely making something less convenient, forcing people to use technology more likely to produce leaks, oh... and you're pissing people off.

            Net effect on the environment from your resistance?... Negative. Net economic effect? Negative. Net political effect? Negative.

            Negative Negative Negative.

            So where is the benefit of opposing it?

            Its good for democrats... it rabble rouses their

        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          2. The canadians can build their own export facilities in Canada entirely bypassing the US. The canadians already take your position as a betrayal of our shared economic arrangement. The deal was that we'd provide certain assets to them and in return we got first bid on resources. You've made liars of us and the canadians are not happy about it.

          http://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/markey-presses-transcanada-to-bar-exports-of-keystone-xl-oil-refined-products [senate.gov]

          Previously, then-Representative Markey challenged TransCanada on this question at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on December 2, 2011. There he asked Alexander Pourbaix, TransCanada's President of Energy and Oil Pipelines, whether he would commit to including a requirement in TransCanada's long-term contracts with Gulf Coast refineries, as a condition of shipping, that all refined fuels produced from oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline be sold in the United States. In response, Mr. Pourbaix stated "no, I can't do that."

          Go ahead, build your own export facilities and ship the stuff to China.
          I'd much rather Canada not externalize the environmental cost of that infrastructure onto the USA.

    • by drolli (522659)

      I can assure you that predicting market scenarios is mor complicated that you make it sound.

      • And yet that is exactly what happened.

        So what you're saying is that my predictions are impressively accurate.

        Thank you.

    • What the anti-oil people also fail to grasp is not building Keystone does not prevent Canada from exploiting the tar sands. It just means we lose another ally, while China builds the more expensive pipeline and shipping channel through Hudson's Bay.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Except that there's no profit to be made in distribution. Even refineries all over the world are struggling to make profits.
      Most oil companies derive some 60-70% of their profit from digging the crap out of the ground. Refineries needs to be spectacularly well placed to make a profit refining which is becoming more of a rarity reserved for some of the super-refineries around the world, like the Reliance facility in Indonesia which was the catalyst for closures of some 7 refineries in the Australiasian regio

      • Irrelevant... the oil will flow. You're not stopping anything.

        All you're doing is annoying people and driving up the cost of oil.

        Nothing more.

  • after november... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ganjadude (952775) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @08:39AM (#46798901) Homepage
    It seems he likes to make all of his decisions after november.
    • "It seems he likes to make all of his decisions" to benefit other countries and political systems, including Islam and Putin, in like "Tell Vlad I'll have more room to work with him after the elections."

      "He" is not operating in the best interests of the U.S. in any way I can see

      • by gtall (79522)

        Hey, cut him some slack, he's evolving. One doesn't evolve overnight, it requires mediation time, time to kick the can down the road, time to figure out how to procrastinate in the hopes the current problem will go away all by itself due to magical influences such as pixie dust and clicking one's glittering slippers while uttering "We're not in Chicago anymore".

    • by MikeMo (521697)
      The man just has no balls. If he did, he'd make a call, one way or the other. If he believes one choice or the other is the "right thing" to do, for the environment or for the country, he should make the call regardless of the political risk.
  • by rossdee (243626) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @08:42AM (#46798909)

    What they need to do is build refineries in North Dakota, where there is plenty of oil, and also natural gas to power them.
    We don't want all the refining capacity of the nation to be in the Gulf where it could be all shut down by a hurricane. (stronger and more frequent due to climate change)

    • An interesting idea. Distributed refining capacity would sound like a good idea.

      I suspect that it was considered. At least, I would hope that it was considered.
      I wonder what the cost, lead time, environmental requirements, etc. are for constructing a refinery.

      • It took the better part of a decade to get the EPA to decide the pipeline is acceptable; I'd hate to see how long it took to approve construction of a new refinery.
    • by Major Blud (789630) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @08:59AM (#46798961) Homepage

      This makes sense, but refineries takes years to build and perhaps a decade to come online. They also need to be built next massive water resources (which is why so many in the gulf are next to the Mississippi river) for cooling purposes and barge access.

      • by confused one (671304) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @09:30AM (#46799039)
        This. It would talk longer to build the refinery than it would to build a transcontinental pipeline. In addition, if you think they're having problems trying to build a pipe from Canada to Texas to flow crude oil, wait till they try to build a large refinery in ND and then build the pipeline to carry the processed output across country. You'll have people pulling the NIMBY card for the refinery. The same people trying to stop the crude pipeline, trying to stop the gasoline pipeline. And lots of others complaining about the increased truck and train traffic carrying the hazardous chemical secondary production outputs and byproducts.
        • Just put the refineries and the filling stations in North Dakota. Then people can drive 2000km from Texas to fill up...
          • by 517714 (762276)
            Texans might drive 1500 miles to fill up, but they wouldn't drive one kilometer.
    • If you're going to extract tar sands of their crude, then refining the crude in ND doesn't change anything. You've still got to ship liquid petroleum products from ND to the rest of the country -- and, in fact, the rest of the world since the USA is a net exporter of refined crude -- be it pipe, rail, or truck. Moving the refinery doesn't change the need for transport.

      • by Kagato (116051)

        I think the OP is taking about skipping tar sands and refining the oil and gas in North Dakota. On the US side of the border there's hundred of BILLIONS of barrels of sweet light crude. Not to mention trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. So far the only pipeline out of there goes to a superior Wisconsin refinery. And that's just for the oil. Natural gas is just burned off. There's no pipelines currently to move the crude to the major refining states. It has to be moved via rail and truck, which is

        • Hundreds of billions sounds like a gross overestimate. Most estimates of US proven reserves are around 30B barrels.

          • Sure, but the reserve number never goes down. It always stays at 30 B or rises even more. Therefore, hundreds of billions of barrels is likely correct.
          • Well, the Green River Formation shale oil [wikipedia.org] alone is around 3 trillion barrels, meaning we could feed the petroleum needs of the entire US off the Green River shale oil alone, and export the other 8-9 million barrels a day we produce, for the next 270+ years.
  • by LordNimon (85072) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @08:53AM (#46798939)

    Why can't we have a pipeline that brings fresh water, instead of oil? That would be a lot more helpful. We've been a serious drought for years, and there's no sign it will let up.

    • California and Texas need to learn two words: De-Salination. yes, it's expensive. You got choices... Thirst and dead crops or spend money on desalination plants. Well, there are two more options... (1) Invent a method to alter weather patterns and steal someone else's rain. or. (2) declare independence and go to war with the U.S., annex neighboring states and pipeline water from the Mississippi directly to Texas.
    • by dkf (304284)

      Why can't we have a pipeline that brings fresh water, instead of oil?

      Just make it illegal to use water for fracking and agriculture while there's a drought on and you'll have plenty of water for people to drink. Oh, you really want the water to support those industries? Let industry pay for what it costs to get it if they rely on it so much.

    • by gtall (79522)

      Yep, and where would this water come from? The Great Lakes perhaps...not on your grandmother's grave. The Great Lake states will not allow you to decrease the water level of those lakes because they need them for shipping. Aquifers? The farmers in Nebraska, Oklahoma Arkansas, and Texas are already draining the Ogallala Aquifer. And due to the drier conditions in those states due to increased temperature lately, the aquifer is not getting replenished as it should. The Mississippi River, see the Great Lakes.

    • Texas, like California, does NOT have a lack of water problem. It has an overabundance of water - which is contaminated with a high level of salt. A nuclear reactor next to a massive RO plant would provide Texas (and California) with all the fresh water it could ever want, at extremely competitive costs (a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desalination#Economics">around $10/month per person).
    • I read a book a while ago that dealt with that problem. A guy hauled an iceberg from Antarctica to the Gulf of Mexico, and used the empty oil pipelines from the oil boom time to push water to all parts of Texas and the Midwest.

    • by jayveekay (735967)

      Any Canadian politician who wants to lose an election just has to propose piping precious Canadian water down to those Yanks.

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Any Canadian politician who wants to lose an election just has to propose piping precious Canadian water down to those Yanks.

        We already let american companies bottle precious canadian water for your bottled water industry, doesn't seem to be hurting any of those politicians any.

  • Turtleman speaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andydread (758754) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @08:55AM (#46798951)
    Mitch McConnell is a riot. Always when the turtleman speaks one should verify the facts and when you look at the data [transcanada.com] from no other than TransCanada about the number of *permanent* jobs this specific pipleline will add to the US economy it tops out at around 3600. Meanwhile you have Americans suing to not have that pipeline cross their land or have their land commandeered by the federal government.
  • by Kagato (116051) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @09:19AM (#46799013)

    North Dakota has saturated rail and road traffic trying to get it's crude out of the state. At the same time Natural gas is simply being burned off because there's no pipeline infrastructure to transport it. Pipelines that were being used to transport natural gas to the midwest from the east coast and gulf states will no longer be able to be used next year because they are being converted for use in transporting chemicals needed for tar sand conversion in Canada.

    The reason big oil companies want the pipeline from Canada and not North Dakota is because there's a multibillion dollar tax loophole related to foreign oil processed in US refineries for export. Which is why the pipeline runs to the coast. Keystone Excel will have no effect on US fuel prices because it's not designed to sell fuel on the US market. It's quite likely that Keystone will result in refining capacity being taken out of the US market as it's used for export. All the signs point to this project actually costing the tax payer more at the pump in the end.

    Let's also not forget the natural gas problems this creates for the upper midwest. They currently get their natural gas from Canada. Tar sand production need incredible amounts of natural gas. That's expected to increase prices people will be paying to heat their home. At the same time there's no plans now or in the future to bring more natural gas to upper midwest from the east coast. If anything they are losing capacity in order to support the tar sand production.

    • by jayveekay (735967) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @01:51PM (#46800311)

      Keystone Excel will have no effect on US fuel prices because it's not designed to sell fuel on the US market.

      Oil is a global commodity. Increasing the supply or decreasing the demand anywhere will affect prices worldwide.

      • by Kagato (116051)

        Under current law the US has many 70s era export controls. Frankly there are a bunch of US only makers for petro products and finished fuels. Occasionally we have times when gas is relatively cheap in the US compared to the rest of the world. Albeit rare, usually only when the US economy slows leading to excess gasoline at refineries. Gasoline that cannot be exported. This isn't entirely uncommon in the world. For instance China is a big fan of acquiring the oil rights bypassing the market and settin

  • Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

    Canada ponders legalizing p2p filesharing for not-for-profit, personal use

    Obama Approves Keystone Pipeline and Fast-Tracks Implementation

    • by green1 (322787)

      I wish, but the Canadian government doesn't have a track record of using anything but strong words against the US in these sorts of disputes.

  • Obama = Coward (Score:3, Insightful)

    by optimus2861 (760680) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @09:50AM (#46799117)

    I would have loved to been a fly on the wall in Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office when this non-decision was announced. Obama has once again taken the cowardly way out and punted a tough decision. He wants to continue to fundraise from environmentalists by saying "We're being tough on the Keystone pipeline and insisting it meets our environmental standards!" and then do the same with the big business crowd by saying, "We haven't said no to Keystone, we just want to make sure it meets our environmental standards." He doesn't actually want to make the decision, because then one crowd or the other will tell him to pound sand. Even though the entire job of being President of the United States is about making those decisions!

    Worst president of my lifetime. Not even close.

    • by PapayaSF (721268)

      He wants to continue to fundraise from environmentalists by saying "We're being tough on the Keystone pipeline and insisting it meets our environmental standards!" and then do the same with the big business crowd by saying, "We haven't said no to Keystone, we just want to make sure it meets our environmental standards."

      You forgot the blue-collar unions. They are very pro-Keystone, and he doesn't want to alienate them further, ahead of the 2014 mid-terms. So he's delaying screwing them until afterwards.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by jayveekay (735967)

      Worst president of my lifetime. Not even close.

      Let me be the first to commend you on your excellent writing skills for someone who is under the age of 6!

      One day in your elementary school history class you will learn about the presidents from before you were born, including "The Decider".

    • by schnell (163007) <me@schnell.REDHATnet minus distro> on Sunday April 20, 2014 @01:52PM (#46800317) Homepage

      Worst president of my lifetime. Not even close.

      Your writing skills are excellent for someone who was born after George W. Bush left office.

  • I like how articles forget to mention that the State Dpt. reports were made up of people who had ties to, or paid by those in the gas and oil industry. That is why environmentalists are still up in arms. Feel free to look up who put the report together and see who they work for. It's all there.
    • by 517714 (762276)
      Let's see, the Government wants to analyze something, let's say going to the moon. Do they talk to George Lucas or a rocket scientist?
  • by WCMI92 (592436) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:50AM (#46799599) Homepage

    Obama only acts fecklessly after endless dithering.

    THAT is why you don't elect a "community organizer" (the politically correct term for "street agitator") President. They don't know how to lead.

  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:50AM (#46799603) Homepage

    Even if the pipeline was canceled, it said, the oil sands crude was likely to be extracted and brought to market by other means, such as rail, and then processed and burned.

    Hmm, I wonder if our beloved President 1% knows any 1%ers who, say, owns a railroad company?

    Oh.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/... [bloomberg.com]

    I wonder how Burlington Northern's doing on this latest news.

  • by rbrander (73222) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @02:37PM (#46800577) Homepage

    I'm all for the End of Oil. But the tar-sands vilification got so it pissed me off and I find myself in a surprising place - in the trench with companies I've never liked. What gets to me:

    - Greenpeace created the "world's dirtiest oil" moniker with a large, sustained media campaign. I'm amazed it survived the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. I mean, really, it's worse than just spewing a fantastic amount of raw crude right into one of the world's most fecund ocean biomes and commercial fisheries, no way to clean it up at all? Greenpeace isn't a bunch of guys around a card table anymore, their budget is $300M/year. They love theatrical campaigns more than scientific ones; it's about what creates emotion, not real ecological results.

    - Presuming (perhaps, a big presumption) that we keep on top of them with regulation, the open-pit mines are eventually filled back in and trees stuck on top - the ones where they've already done it are of course the first stop on the tour. Yes, the current mines are 200 sq. mi., "you can see them from space" ...where they look like a brown postage stamp on a green billiards table, the boreal forest being over 200,000 sq.mi. Know what else is 200 sq. mi. or so? New York City, which was a rich hunting and fishing land of the Manhattan Indians. It's not being restored to forest any time soon, because it provides living space for 8 million people, rather than 8000 Manhattans. The tar sands are providing what currently is an (unfortunate) necessity of life for 20 million people.

    - Accounts vary (for some reason) but I tend to trust New Scientist Magazine as pretty objective - their figure was that it takes the release of 70kg of carbon to extract tar sands oil, compared to 50kg for conventional. But both barrels are then *burned* releasing 200-300kg (depends on gas/diesel/etc), so the total lifecyle increase of carbon is under 10%. Yes, that's bad, but concentrating all hatred of carbon onto one source of it is, again, theatre, not science. It's like banning 3000lb SUVs and feeling very virtuous as you buy a 2700 lb SUV.

    - But above all, picking on these companies and their pipeline schemes is attacking the *producer*, not the consumption end. Speaking of "America is addicted to oil", how has that strategy worked out for the War on Drugs? It's funny, the same very liberal folks who will shake their heads at the raw stupidity of the Drug War ("all it does is drive up the costs and bring in more ruthless producers to fill the hole") imagine it will work on energy that everybody wants to buy.

    I'm all for shutting down the tar sands - but by hitting the consumption end, with research and incentives for batteries, electric cars, thorium and fusion power plants...the latter having the much greater benefit of first killing off coal-powered electric generation, a greater greenhouse issue than all oil. But when the inflection point hits with electric transportation and oil consumption actually goes *down*, the most expensive sources (tar sands) will be the first ones shuttered. Speed the day.

    PS: Yes, I'm from Calgary. But I don't work in oil/gas, nor does anybody close to me. This is not as much about Canada as you may imagine. Almost all the $200B invested up there is from American companies. We barely tax them - less for oil than Palin's Alaska or Cheney's Wyoming. Our cut was just jobs building it. My family pioneered Alberta for two generations before oil was discovered - and they'll be around after it's all gone. Good riddance; but the ridding has to *work*. To make it work, we have to change a whole technological base of a society, not just rail at scapegoats.

  • I could carve a better man out of a banana.

NOWPRINT. NOWPRINT. Clemclone, back to the shadows again. - The Firesign Theater

Working...