Monday, October 12, 2015

Build the Keystone Pipeline AND Export Oil?

Not long ago, in defiance of our President (when Obama had threatened to veto the Keystone pipeline), the CEO of TransCanada simply said: "It will be built" — as though Americans or the President of the United States had no say in the matter.

During this time the governor of Nebraska wrote a letter to President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “I am opposed to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline route because it is directly over the Ogallala Aquifer. Therefore I am asking you to disapprove TransCanada’s pending permit request. Do not allow TransCanada to build a pipeline over the Ogallala Aquifer and risk potential damage to Nebraska’s water.”

But later, the Nebraska governor seemed to have flip-flopped, and approved TransCanada’s slightly revised route that actually crossed more miles of the very aquifer. Meanwhile, the law that TransCanada lobbied so hard for has been ruled unconstitutional and is still under litigation, so TransCanada filed for a new permit with Nebraska’s Public Service Commission.

TransCanada representatives had claimed that their oil (dilBit, or crude tar sands oil) was no different than the crude oil that floats on water; but a major spill into the Kalamazoo River in 2010 proved that this was untrue — because the oil quickly sank to the bottom, and the ongoing cost for cleaning it up (so far) has exceeded a billion dollars.

Nebraskans have been seeing right through this scheme to get this land-locked tar sand oil to a port refinery, where it will be processed and exported onto the world market. Some folks say, why doesn’t TransCanada build a pipeline through Canada to the Pacific, or east to the Atlantic? British Columbia wants no part of this DilBit risk, nor does Quebec to the east.

Nebraskans have been more concerned about “Right and Wrong” rather than the politics of “Right and Left”. All Americans should be just as reasonable. They should know that the pipeline's oil is "THROUGH" America, not "TO" America — and they should stand up to the Republicans who support TransCanada.

And despite Republican claims that "millions of jobs will be created", the CEO of TransCanada conceded that just 50 permanent jobs would be created from Keystone XL Pipeline. Initially, job numbers were somewhat exaggerated by many pipeline supporters, and numbers like "100,000 new jobs" were sometimes used to try and promote the project, he said. The final State Department Environmental Impact Statement suggests up to 40,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created by the project. [But even that turned out to be 40,000 man hours.]

Last week the House of Representatives voted to reverse a 40-year-old ban on oil exports. What's the point of saying we should drill and frack for more oil to be more “energy independent” if we just export it?

Hillary Clinton once signaled support for the Keystone pipeline in 2010 and, as recently as this July, declined to take a position — but following in Bernie Sanders' footsteps, has recently said she's now opposed to the pipeline. The New York Times writes: "She is campaigning on a series of positions that she transparently does not believe in. She’ll say what she needs to say now to become Bernie Sanders in a pantsuit."

* A Related Article: How do consumers respond to lower gasoline prices? Researchers found 73 cents in extra spending on other items for every dollar saved at the gasoline pump. Restaurants and groceries were the two biggest areas where spending was observed to increase.

* An unrelated Article: Hillary Clinton’s weak plans for changing Wall Street: She’s proposing tweaks, when it needs an overhaul.

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