The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why The GOP Obsession with The Keystone Pipeline XL? Have a Koch!

As the week draws to a close and the deadline for extending the Payroll Tax cut looms, the Keystone XL Pipeline also looms as an issue from the political right.

Who might benefit most from the Keystone Pipeline?

A  political back-story

It seems that at the end of each of President Obama’s calendar years in office, critical financial and economic issues have flamed-up in December of the year.  Apparently, the fourth quarter of the calendar year has become the exponential  ’battle-ground central’ for GOP  obstructionism; they obstruct daily but year end seems to bring on their battle field nuclear options.  The end of 2010 found the GOP wrestling with Obama about ’protectionism’ for the nation’s wealthy 1%: maintaining the Bush tax cuts.  The  president  secured the Payroll Tax cut and funding for unemployment for the unemployed 99 % (ers).  A stark contrast in legislative focus, I posit.   Their president secured what he wanted but quickly, recoiled from the battle by  declaring he would not extend the Bush Tax cuts again.

DeJa vu?  Here we are again with the GOP ’running interference for interest such as the Koch Brothers, while holding the payroll tax cuts as hostage legislation.  This year’s holiday cheer is tarnished by typical GOP Ebeneezer Scroogism; they added other ‘negotiation’ fodder by including their wish to ease certain environmental regulations.  Oh, what a kerfuffle!

In the December 2010 ‘battle’, I feel Obama should have  strategically  included  to 2011 debt ceiling increase as a negotiation item.  Based on the downside of that fiasco late last summer, maybe the president learned an extra lesson about the “Waterloo” driven GOP.

Since I have written recently about this year's political ‘battle-front’, I felt I should do a bit of more reading about the Keystone Pipeline XL issue. 

Canada is our number one oil importer.  Any issue related to the pipeline must be factored alongside Canada number one oil import status..  My question led to a Google search that generated hundreds of thousands of hits in just a few seconds.  Before, I offer information about Keystone and information related to “impact opposition" and support, I must state my aversion to big oil clouds and shadows my thoughts about the pipeline.  I have for many years read about the safety of fossil fuel pipelines only to later read about environmental destruction in Alaska.  I read about disruptions to Caribou migration.  I read about spills in the pipeline fields.  You, me and the world read about and saw the “routine’ safety of oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Trans Ocean, Corp was one culpable entity involved in the Gulf spill.  The principle oil company for the pipeline: Trans Canada, Corp.   Yes, I know a complete coincident that is only taps into my  superstitions;  I  agree.  You know what comes next, ” I hope  Halliburton is not a Trans Canada sub-contractor’.

A glance at the Keystone map (below) is frightening as to potential for damage and environmental ruin. 1.) Tornado Alley? 2.) The Great Lakes? 3.) un-discernible: water tables and feeds to drinking water sources

Wiki……Keystone Pipeline (in brief)
The Keystone Pipeline System is a pipeline system to transport synthetic crude oil and diluted bitumen from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern AlbertaCanada  to multiple destinations in the United States, which include refineries in Illinois, Cushing oil distribution hub in Oklahoma, and proposed connections to refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas.


The initial capacity of Keystone Pipeline is 435,000 barrels per day (69,200 m3/d) which will be increased up to 590,000 barrels per day (94,000 m3/d).[33] The diameter of the pipeline is 36 inches (910 mm).[34] It will have a minimum ground cover of 4 feet (1.2 m).[10] The Keystone XL will add 510,000 barrels per day (81,000 m3/d) increasing the total capacity up to 1.1 million barrels per day (170×103 m3/d).[33][34]

The original Keystone Pipeline cost $US5.2 billion with the Keystone XL expansion slated to cost approximately US$7 billion. The Keystone XL is expected to be completed by 2012–2013.[34]

Upon completion, the Keystone Pipeline System would provide 5 percent of the current U.S. petroleum consumption needs and represent 9 percent of U.S. petroleum imports.[35]

Impacts (Wiki excerpts)

Environmental groups, citizens, and politicians have raised a number of concerns about the potential impacts of the Keystone XL extension.[40][41][42] One concern is that the pipeline could pollute air and water supplies and harm migratory birds and other wildlife.[20] It will cross the Sandhills in Nebraska, the large wetland ecosystem, and the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest reserves of fresh water in the world.[43] The Ogallala Aquifer spans eight states, provides drinking water for two million people, and supports $20 billion in agriculture.[44]Critics are concerned that a major leak could ruin drinking water and devastate the mid-western U.S. economy.[45] Portions of the pipeline will also cross an active seismic zone that had a 4.3 magnitude earthquake as recently as 2002.[44] Opponents claim that TransCanada applied to the U.S. government to use thinner steel and pump at higher pressures than normal.[45]
In its March 2010 report, the Natural Resources Defense Council stated that “the Keystone XL Pipeline undermines the U.S. commitment to a  economy”, instead delivering dirty fuel from oil sands and high costs.[14]

Starting in spring, 2011, environmental and global warming activist Bill McKibben took the question of the pipeline to NASA scientist James Hansen, who told McKibben the pipeline would be “game over for the planet”. McKibben and other activists moved toward a new oppositional approach which coalesced in August with over 1000 nonviolent arrests at the White House.
The Pipeline has been the focused of White House protest over the past year.

Support (Wiki excerpts)

TransCanada Corp. CEO Russ Girling argues that “the U.S. needs 10 million barrels a day of imported oil” and the debate over the proposed pipeline “is not a debate of oil versus alternative energy. This is a debate about whether you want to get your oil from Canada or Venezuela or Nigeria.”[55] Girling has also argued that if Canadian oil doesn’t reach the Gulf through an environmentally friendly buried pipeline, that the alternative is oil that will be brought in by tanker, a mode of transportation that produces higher greenhouse-gas emissions and that puts the environment at greater risk.[56]

Girling has described the Keystone Pipeline as “routine,” noting that TransCanada has been building similar pipelines in North America for half a century and that there are 200,000 miles of similar coil pipe in the United States today.

In a speech to the Canadian Club in Toronto on September 23, 2011, Joe OliverCanada’s Minister of Natural Resources, sharply criticized opponents of oil sands development and the pipeline, arguing that:
  • The total area that has been affected by surface mining represents only 0.1% of Canada’s boreal forest.
  • The oil sands account for about 0.1% of global greenhouse-gas emissions.
  • Electricity plants powered by coal in the U.S. generate almost 40 times more greenhouse-gas emissions than Canada’s oil sands (the coal-fired electricity plants in the State of Wisconsin alone produce the equivalent of the entire GHG emissions of the oil sands.
  • California bitumen is more GHG-intensive than the oil sands.
Oliver criticized opponents of the pipeline, stating that all of the above facts are ignored by “celebrity protestors.”[58]

Political issues (Wiki excerpts)

In February 2011, environmental journalist David Sassoon of Inside Climate News reported that Koch Industries were poised to be “big winners” from the pipeline.[61]

As with nuclear energy and British Petroleum, no CEO can tell  me about the ’routine’  nature of big oil operations.

As long as I am informed about ALEC, the Koch Brothers, the Tea Party and the GOP House, I remain averse to the Keystone Pipeline and hope that President Obama does not consider negotiating with the pipeline as an item for bargaining.

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