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Tar Sands extraction
Tar sands strip-mining in Alberta.
Numerous sources say the State Department will present its final environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL pipeline sometime in the next few weeks. Given that the delivery of the EIS will trigger a 90-day period of comments by federal agencies, President Obama could announce a thumbs up or down on the $5.2 billion project sometime in May or early June. Just in time, report Peter Nicholas and Carol E. Lee, to make his decision a factor in the 2014 mid-term congressional elections. Senate and House Republicans and not a small number of oil- and coal-state Democrats support the disputed pipeline:
Should he approve Keystone XL, he risks angering a key part of the Democratic coalition, suggesting the White House could at the same time give environmentalists a policy victory elsewhere.

"You can't do the Keystone pipeline and have climate change as a legacy issue for you, because the pipeline would destroy your legacy. Hopefully he understands that," said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. [...]

Some Senate Democrats locked in tough re-election fights, among them Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, have said they might file legislation seeking to overturn the ruling if Mr. Obama reject the pipeline.

Keystone XL, over which thousands of protesting eco-activists and indigenous peoples of Canada and the United States have been arrested, is designed to transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands deposits and shale oil from the Bakken formation of North Dakota and Montana to the refineries of Gulf Coast Texas where the stuff can be transformed into usable fuels.

Foes, more than 76,000 of whom have taken the CREDO pledge to be arrested to stop the pipeline, have raised various objections to it, called XL because it is 36 inches in diameter instead of the more standard 30 inches. Those objections include the threat of leaks into the nation's largest aquifer, a source of irrigation water in eight states comprising the nation's Midwest breadbasket. Leaks of diluted bitumen are dirtier and more difficult to clean up than other oil leaks. Not that aquifers are easily scrubbed no matter what they are contaminated with. But the key opposition comes from the fact that extracting and refining this unconventional source of petroleum is more carbon-intensive than for other oil.

Meanwhile, builder TransCanada announced Wednesday that it has started shipping tar sands-derived petroleum—diluted bitumen— crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, to customers in Nederland, Texas, via the southern leg of Keystone XL. Also called the Gulf Coast —pipeline, TransCanada predicted in a press conference that the southern leg will be carrying an average of 520,000 barrels of petroleum a day by year's end. After raising the hopes of environmental advocates when he rejected the pipeline in January 2012, President Obama dashed them again a few months later with his decision to fast-track Keystone's southern leg that has now begun operations.

Please read below the fold for more analysis.

The decision, which backers—both Democrats and Republicans—have sought to speed up over the years, has taken so long in part because approval requires the president to conclude that any pipeline crossing international boundaries fulfills the "national interest." That is, or should be at least, a high bar.

The first 2011 draft EIS had to be supplemented with another after Obama rejected TransCanada's application for the pipeline in 2012 but informed TransCanada that it could reapply. Which it soon did, with its original route through Nebraska altered to avoid some fragile wetlands. The supplemental EIS was delivered in March 2013. It essentially green-lighted the project, asserting there would be no major environmental impacts that would not also occur in the absence of the pipeline. The Environmental Protection Agency called the SEIS insufficiently backed up by the evidence.

It soon came out that the consulting firm which put the SEIS together for the State Department was ERM, a TransCanada contractor with a long history of approving oil-related projects. That conflict of interest is still under investigation. Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva and 23 colleagues sent a letter to the president in December asking that he delay any decision on Keystone XL until after completion of the federal investigation into the lies ERM told on its conflict-of-interest form when it applied for the SEIS contract.

This week, the Natural Resources Defense Council issued a new report concluding that Keystone XL and other pipelines for carrying tar sands petroleum to the Northeast and Atlantic states will add to their carbon emissions. NRDC noted:

Gulf Coast refineries are taking an increasing volume of tar sands crude as more pipelines are built or retrofitted to carry it to the Gulf. While most of the tar sands-derived product from the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would be exported, some of it could end up being sent from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast. If the pipeline is approved, even a small percentage of the pipeline's volume could cause a dramatic increase in the volume of tar sands flowing to the Northeast, a major threat to the carbon intensity of the region's fuels. Additional threats may be posed by refineries in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and eastern Canada, some of which may be considering options including retrofitting in order to process more tar sands.

By 2020, if these carbon intensive projects move forward, as much as 18 percent of the region's fuel supply could be derived from the high-carbon feedstock. At that penetration, the switch to tar sands fuels would increase greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10 million metric tons, an amount that would offset most of the carbon pollution reductions that the region is seeking under its landmark Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Even without Keystone XL, the region's fuel supply will contain more tar sands if steps are not taken to keep out this high-carbon fuel. In the short term, between 2012 and 2015, the volume of tar sands–derived fuel supplying the Northeast is projected to grow more than sixfold.

In his climate speech in June, President Obama said: "The question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late. [...] I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that's beyond fixing."

Good words. Encouraging words. Approving Keystone XL would turn them to ashes.

Committing to a project with a 60-year lifespan that helps lock the nation into adding more carbon to an atmosphere already demonstrating the global warming perils of being over-burdened with the stuff would be a tremendous move in the wrong direction at a time when we should be working to keep as much fossil fuel in the ground as possible.

The decision on Keystone XL should be made based on long-term thinking, not the possible short-term effects it might have on the re-election prospects of senators and representatives, many of whose own records on dealing with climate change are myopic at best.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 12:52 PM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (131+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    navajo, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, wader, paradise50, johnj, hulibow, la urracca, JeffW, nomandates, James Wells, gooderservice, KayCeSF, belinda ridgewood, looseleaf, Avilyn, LinSea, Eyesbright, Cedwyn, kevinpdx, Teiresias70, citisven, Involuntary Exile, Railfan, WheninRome, Glen The Plumber, expatjourno, slowbutsure, shaf, side pocket, psyched, ratcityreprobate, Ray Pensador, SixSixSix, Crabby Abbey, wu ming, remembrance, greenbastard, LakeSuperior, tbirchard, on the cusp, Pat K California, CenPhx, Claudius Bombarnac, ctsteve, ontheleftcoast, Ian Reifowitz, blueoasis, Aaa T Tudeattack, cocinero, Magnifico, thomask, shaharazade, DawnN, Pakalolo, sc kitty, hooper, willyr, Polly Syllabic, Mary Mike, NoMoreLies, maggiejean, denise b, sunny skies, dradams, Bill in Portland Maine, anodnhajo, quill, xynz, cwsmoke, TomP, no way lack of brain, rapala, Tool, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, SpecialKinFlag, bread, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, HedwigKos, OLinda, Jakkalbessie, Doctor Who, Eric Nelson, bythesea, eagleray, KenBee, Albanius, Rosaura, where4art, HappyinNM, roses, wasatch, petulans, tofumagoo, UncleCharlie, divineorder, akmk, Dem Beans, Just Bob, NonnyO, lunachickie, Paul Ferguson, Liberal Thinking, Assaf, Creosote, Ender, bobswern, Wino, eeff, thankgodforairamerica, Skyye, i saw an old tree today, jnhobbs, jck, political mutt, janinsanfran, 4Freedom, bear83, xaxnar, billlaurelMD, Superpole, indie17, maryabein, Mr Robert, sturunner, Elizabeth 44, SolarMom, Ginny in CO, ozsea1, todamo13, noise of rain, Kit RMP

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 12:52:17 PM PST

  •  My guess is it will be approved (10+ / 0-)

    Dollar driven shortsightedness usually wins the day

    •  And then they will ship it by rail or through (8+ / 0-)

      the thousands of miles of existing pipelines through the exact same territories.

      And, if they ship it by rail - which requires no new approval - the carbon emissions will be much higher.

      If you google "existing oil pipelines in usa" you will be stunned at the thousands of miles of pipelines - including over the Ogallala Aquifer.  And, perhaps you would wonder what all the hoo-ha is about.

      •  JJ - I think the issue that the oil (3+ / 0-)

        will be carried by rail if the pipeline isn't built, is a real one.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:32:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Acitivists in Albany NY just won a delay (13+ / 0-)

          for  public comments on a permit requested by Global Partners for a new facilty to heat dilbit crude from the Tar Sands to make it liquid enough to load on tankers in the Port of Albany.

          The Global project has drawn opposition from neighborhood residents in the wake of a series of accidents involving Bakken crude from North Dakota, much of which flows through Global's facilities at the Albany port.

          The oil, moved here by rail, has turned out to be more explosive than first believed, federal regulators have said, and safety agencies in Canada and the United States on Thursday called on their governments to impose new safety rules, warning that an accident could cause a "major loss of life."

          We are making clear that we oppose not only the danger of an explosion like Lac Magantic in Quebec, but also the shipment of ANY dirty crude from the Tar Sands. We are emphasizing that most of the proven reserves of fossil fuel must be left in the ground, and the obvious place to start is the worst new fossil folly developments, such as the Tar Sands.

          The movement in Albany is just getting started, last week we agreed to start a new organization PAUSE: People of Albany United for Safe Energy (no website yet, but we have a googroup and have begun meeting weekly.)

          The strategy is to cut all the tentacles off the octopus wherever they appear, following the lead of the First Nations fighting the Ensbridge pipeline in western Canada.  

          There's no such thing as a free market!

          by Albanius on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:56:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Best of luck, I think you have a tall mountain (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Superpole, AlexDrew

            to climb. It requires no permits to send tar sands oil by train anywhere in the US, so that will be the default. I think it will be very difficult to create the political will to stop train transportation of tar sands oil. Political pressure could delay the leasing of federal lands for oil and gas exploration, but the US government can't stop development and extraction of oil and gas from private property, or leases already let. Some states seem willing to stop or slow down oil exploration and development, particularly from tar sands. On a world wide basis all of the OPEC countries fund their entire government budgets based on selling oil. How could they stop, their economies would crumble?

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 08:13:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •   Your concern is noted n/t (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              snoopydawg, ozsea1

              This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

              by lunachickie on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 09:05:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  We are opposing the permit to expand the terminal (11+ / 0-)

              so that it can convert Tar Sands dilbit (dilute bitumen) into a more oil-like form that can be loaded onto  barges to take it to refineries.  If they can't transfer it, sending it here is of no use to them.

              On Jan 6, with only a few days notice, so many of us spoke during the public comment period at the Albany Common Council (city council) that they voted unanimously to urge  DEC to delay considering the project.

              We have a strong case, that the Sierra Club is presenting, that the existing permit is defective, based on material misrepresentations by the company.

              We are also arguing that the light sweet crude already being railroaded through from the Bakken frackin' in North Dakota should not be shipped through an urban area, and the federal NTSB just agreed.

              After investigating multiple fiery accidents involving crude oil trains that have derailed and crashed, The National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB] is now calling for tougher regulations on the practice — including recommendations that those trains stay far away from urban population centers.
              “The NTSB is concerned that major loss of life, property damage and environmental consequences can occur when large volumes of crude oil or other flammable liquids are transported on a single train involved in an accident,” the agency said in its Thursday release. “Crude oil is problematic when released because it is flammable, and the risk is compounded because it is commonly shipped in large units.”
              Of course the rail cars go right next to homes in an environmental justice area (low income, people of color), another issue the DEC apparently has not yet taken into consideration, but the now aroused community will force them to deal with.

              There's no such thing as a free market!

              by Albanius on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 09:11:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Diversification is a wonderful thing. (0+ / 0-)

              Anyway, they're going to have to think about it sooner or later, because oil is a finite resource, which is why we're mining dilbit out of Alberta. BTW, are "the OPEC nations" partners in Transcanada? Because if they aren't, they're not going to be able to fund their government budgets off tar sands or fracking done in North America.

              I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:38:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  SLMD - I think the OPEC countries ruled by (0+ / 0-)

                monarchs have done a very good job of planning for a post-oil future for their royal families. A post-oil future for their countries is a different issue. They may feel that they will all be ousted before the post-oil economy comes to pass, so have focused on their personal safety and future.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 08:55:16 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, Cause Running 1,000's of tanker cars (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ginny in CO, Albanius, todamo13

              loaded with flammable material thru cities and towns in the U.S... what could possibly go wrong with that Plan B?

              Oh, only that Canadian town that was blown to bits recently by these type of tanker cars... killing what was it? 45 people?

              "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

              by Superpole on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 09:59:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm tired of earning people's political enmity... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Superpole

                ...by trying to save them from their own shortsightedness, greed, and stupidity.
                Let each state, county, and community have their own veto power, if they choose to wield it.
                But let the country as a whole allow them all the FREEDOM! to make those decisions...
                ...and then to bear the consequences when it blows up in their faces (possibly literally).
                They can meantime enjoy the, what, average of 1.2 jobs per county that might be generated, as the petro destined to be exported runs through their backyards.

          •  Dilbit is diluted bitumen. It does not need (5+ / 0-)

            heating to flow. It has an API of 21.5 °API which is at about heavy crude (it will heat from friction with pipe to about 100 deg. F). Tar sands bitumen has an API gravity of 8 °API. Light crude (WTI) is 31.1 °API.

            Water has an API gravity of 10 °API so pure tar sands bitumen would sink in water. BTW, the country has has hundreds of thousands of miles of highways, roadways, driveways and parking lots paved with bitumen so this material is not new to the environment. Almost every American child has played on the stuff since paradise was paved to put up a parking lot.

            Heavy sour tar sands Dilbit is less volatile than West Texas Intermediate which in turn is less volatile than Bakken. Bakken oil is highly flammable due do it's very low flash point (high volatility). It was Bakken oil which has caused the fires and explosions in the recent derailments. Dilbit is much harder to ignite than even the American 'standard' of oil - West Texas Intermediate. WTI has been crossing the US by pipe, rail and truck for over one and a half centuries.

            •  Given the difficulty oil companies have in (5+ / 0-)

              cleaning the stuff up when it spills (see: Kalamazoo and Mayflower, AR) maybe it shouldn't be used to pave roadways, though my guess is that in that form it's far less destructive than it is when it's gushing in liquid form out of a pipe in large quantities.

              I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:42:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Rail would be better than by pipeline. (0+ / 0-)

          Not good, but better.

          Why? Less damage to the Ogalalla aquifer in the case of a derailment (rather than pipeline spill), and rail would  (hopefully) be far less economical.

      •  shipping by rail raises its cost (14+ / 0-)

        which makes it less economically viable to mine, and constricts its flow to overseas markets. both things reduce the likelihood that the carbon in that coal makes it into the atmosphere.

        •  Those factors have not dampened (0+ / 0-)

          the Bakken output at all.

          In fact, rail is now cheaper than new pipelines.

          •  Operating costs for transporting oil by ... (16+ / 0-)

            ...rail are not cheaper than operating costs for transporting oil by pipeline.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 04:14:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you read my post carefully you might have (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              divineorder, Skyye, Sam I Am

              noticed I said "new" pipeline - which, when financing costs, etc are factored in, make the overall shipping costs more expensive than by rail, which uses existing infrastructure in which there is plenty of currently unused capacity.

              The finances are particularly favorable for  bitumen transportation, for which rail can bring back diluent, improving the finances even more compared to pipelines, which are one-way enterprises.

              I've posted the actual $$ numbers at least 10 times  - no one cares so I'm not going to bother any more.

              I do know, however, we've been having this conversation for 3 or 4 years, and everything I've predicted is coming true (e.g., that a lack of KXL won't slow down tar sands extraction one bit ( it hasn't) as well as the idea that massive amounts of crude can be moved by rail  ( which is now reality) ).

              •  So far, despite growing by leaps (44%... (19+ / 0-)

                ...in 2013 if you extrapolate the whole year from the actual data of the first three quarters) the TOTAL amount of crude moved by rail was 376,000 carloads or 263 million barrels. A single pipeline, the Keystone XL (if it is built and meets its design capacity) will move 302 million barrels a year. It's not hard to see why there is such a push on to build it.

                Nobody, not I, ever said that rail can't move lots of oil. Or that new rail projects have flexibility and speed-of-completion not enjoyed by pipelines.

                As for slowing down extraction of the tar sands, it is true that hasn't happened so far in the absence of the pipeline. But when the March 2013 briefing notes of Joe Oliver, the natural resources minister of Canada, state flat out that “in order for crude oil production to grow, the North American pipeline network must be expanded through initiatives, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline project,” I'll take him at his word.

                Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:20:17 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Correx: Or that new rail projects DON'T have...n/t (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Just Bob, lunachickie, Assaf

                  Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                  by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:25:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  But Oliver also stated (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Roadbed Guy
                  http://www.nytimes.com/...

                  In a statement, Mr. Oliver did not address questions about the apparent change in the government analysis of the pipeline’s effect on oil sands production. But, he said: “We agree with the U.S. State Department that should Keystone XL not be approved, alternative modes of transporting natural resources, including rail, would likely deliver the crude intended for the Keystone XL market.”

                  The black shit is going to reach salt water no matter what. There has been too much money already invested in the upstream and downstream operations to stop this. There is no political will and the citizens demand cheap gasoline and a houseful of plastic junk.

                  2 million barrels per day is about 2 1/2 Keystone XL pipelines.

                  North American Rail Car Market
                  Crude Oil by Rail
                  Jan. 2013

                  Railroads

                  Of the 11,021 railcars ordered during the 4th quarter, 6,839 were tank cars, raising the number of backlogged units to 48,206. It is estimated that the number of tank cars ordered for moving petroleum crude and expected to be delivered by the end of 2014 will be enough to move 2 million barrels of oil per day, almost three times what is currently being extracted from the Bakken Shale Rock Formation. Many of these cars are also being used to move oil from the Canadian Oil Sands and are equipped with heating coils for that viscous crude, but the exact number is not known. As for railroad carloads, 2M bpd equals almost 1M carloads per year, more than replacing the traffic that has recently been lost in the coal sector.

                  •  The simplest explanation is that the (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Claudius Bombarnac

                    Harper Government is in the pocket of the pipeline owners / operators (e..g, Koch Brother types) and therefore make such statements.

                    IOW, the statements reflect political posturing, not "on the ground" reality.

                    And yes, there are three huge factories right now pumping out rail cars for moving crude, which is good insofar as it might allow some of the older, flawed design cars to be retired - but that doesn't seem to be happening, they're all being used for NEW capacity.

                    •  It is not only the pipeline operators. (0+ / 0-)

                      All the huge multinational oil companies have stakes in both the upstream and downstream production processes and they have invested 100's of billions of dollars in the last decade. They are determined to get a payoff by bringing their product to their refineries.

                      Entities such as the Koch Brothers and Warren Buffet have stakes in all three - upstream, midstream and downstream.

                •  By the end of 2013, 800,000 bbls per day (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  todamo13

                  were being shipped from the Bakken (plus about 1/4 of that additionally from Northern Alberta).

                  So with continuing growth (basically as fast as the factories can spit out the rail cars) that's now 1 million bbls per day or 365 million per year (i.e., considerably more than the year-old numbers you give of 263 million barrels).  When all is said and done, 2014 will likely experience 50 to 80% year over year growth to well over 400 million barrels.

                  But still that's a drop in the bucket compared to the 15,000,000 rail car loadings in North America each year (a little over 2%) - meaning the system barely notices it.

                  Another comparison is coal, which is at about 6,000,000 car loadings (down by at least a million lately and probably going to continue to slump).  If crude oil ramps up to those levels, it would be enough capacity to ship ALL domestically-produced (including Canada) crude .  And really, who has ever heard government officials saying coal production was being held back by a lack of pipelines, which is of course silly because coal doesn't move well in pipelines.  So silly in fact that even politicians don't bother saying it. But the clear point is that a lack of pipelines WILL NOT SLOW crude oil production ONE IOTA.  It will only shuffle the profits to different sets of the 1%ers, that's what the whole kerfuffle is about.

          •  really? what about all these accidents? (13+ / 0-)

            the costs on lives and cleanup?

            After investigating multiple fiery accidents involving crude oil trains that have derailed and crashed, The National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB] is now calling for tougher regulations on the practice — including recommendations that those trains stay far away from urban population centers
            .
      •  And more towns will go up in flames (11+ / 0-)

        when the oil cars inevitably derail in the poorly maintained rail system.

        Anyway you look at this we lose.

        The pipeline is a bad place to draw a line--it's essentially meaningless, just a matter of who gets paid to transport the mess.

          The real issue is not the pipeline, but the development of the tar sands in the first place.  Pressure needs to be put on Canada and the oil companies involved.

        The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

        by MadScientist on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 07:44:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The development is a huge issue (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Creosote, ozsea1, todamo13

          but the pipeline is already a reality in places, so the pipeline would seem to be the last 'firewall'.

          At that point, you've got to draw the line there, while you're also fighting "development". This is by no means an either-or proposition.

          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

          by lunachickie on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 09:07:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Let Canada take the risk (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          todamo13

          Since this seems to be all about privatizing the profits and socializing all the downsides, why should the USA be taking the risks?  What do those not in the 1% get out of it?

          •  Depends whom you ask; job creation claims... (0+ / 0-)

            ...range from nearly 120,000 (TransCanada, suggesting 20k high-wage construction and manufacturing jobs, plus near 100k spin-off jobs by multiplier effects) to less-than-zero (Cornell Global Labor Institute study linked below):

             http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/...

            Proponents also claim increased supply = lower energy costs; opponents point out that nearly all of whatever comes thru a pipeline would go to export, and could result in INCREASED local energy costs.
            Decide for yourself who's more likely to be lying.
            Spelling doesn't count.

            •  Jobs are over-estimated (0+ / 0-)

              Trans-Canada, in their paperwork submitted to Canada, said that during construction there would be about 2,000 man-years.  IE: 1,000 workers for two years.  After that would be about 50 permanent maintenance jobs.  Of course, they stated those would be mostly Canadian jobs.  As for prices: in the mid-west gas prices will go up.  The pipeline to the area had no outlet until recently so there was no competition.  With the opening of the southern leg of the Keystone XL, the pipeline will deliver the oil to Texas for shipment to China.

    •  Ooops.. (0+ / 0-)

      should have been a comment to the one above that stated :

      "My guess is it won't be approved"

    •  It does with this sorry excuse for a president. (3+ / 0-)

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

      by expatjourno on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:53:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you're so bitter (6+ / 0-)

        it's so sad

        you get one life

        why spend it angry?

        i'll never understand that

        •  I could ask the... (8+ / 0-)

          ...the same question of you since you seem to be wasting your time attacking other posters here.  Why this comment got uprated is beyond me.

          We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

          by delver rootnose on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 03:44:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because they spoke poorly of (5+ / 0-)

            Obama. For some people he can do no wrong.
            Spying, drones, drilling, going back on countless campaign promises don't matter to some.
            I voted for him in 08 when there was some hope for some real change.
            When things stayed the same or got worse, I saw that he wouldn't even try for his promises.
            Sad. So much potential for getting this country back on track.
            More wars, more drilling, more banks doing the same shit, war on whistle blowers, still secret torture prisons,...
            Sigh

            •  Obama is as pro-plutocrat and pro-war as Cheney. (5+ / 0-)

              There are some differences on social policies, sure. And those do matter.

              But he has done everything in his power to ensure the continued prosperity of malefactors of great wealth, protect torturers, strengthen the military-industrial complex, expand the surveillance state, trample civil liberties and persecute whistleblowers.

              Some people just don't want to admit that.

              "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

              by expatjourno on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:22:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually the default status is that all of this (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                expatjourno, maryabein, todamo13

                continues:

                he has done everything in his power to ensure the continued . . . . (whole lot of shit)

                So I'd say he's not necessarily out there promoting all of these things to the max, just that they tend to be part of his "all of the above" approach to everything.

                So, because they're already entrenched those things automatically win out - not because Obama is fighting mightily on their behalf (I'm not sure he has it in him to do that for anything).

                Of course, the outcome at the end of the day is the same, just that Obama is a tad less evil than you're making him out (e.g., it's kinda like being giving the choice between drinking a cyanide-laced glass of water or a plutonium-laced counterpart).  

                •  I guess Obama lacks Cheney's audacity. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  snoopydawg, AlexDrew

                  On the other hand, if he were breaking new ground, as Cheney did, I'd have to say he'd be worse than Cheney.

                  Of course, when it comes to mass surveillance and Espionage Act persecutions, he IS breaking new ground. And he DID escalate in Afghanistan. So there's that.

                  Obama gave people who tortured innocent people to death a pass. But not Edward Snowden. And that double standard reveals quite clearly how utterly loathsome Obama is. He'd better hope there's no such thing as Hell.

                  But yeah, I'm mostly in agreement with your comment.

                  "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

                  by expatjourno on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:33:29 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  True. Not nice, but true. (6+ / 0-)

                I should emphasize that when I agree with you I'm talking here about Obama in his public capacity, as President; I have no idea what his private motives or wishes are, or whether he's acting as he does due to threats, bribes, or lack of power, or just because he likes it that way. I could easily imagine a man with some good intentions getting into the office and discovering himself surrounded by evil bastards more powerful than he is and simply sticking it out to the end of his two terms, occasionally trying to mitigate the damage. That's not a heroic stance, but neither is it a monstrous one.

                But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what Obama the man thinks or feels or believes--it only matters what the President does.

                I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:47:09 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  What's most difficult to forgive is the way he (6+ / 0-)

                allows himself to be used to do rather awful psy-ops against the American people. The primary function of his job appears to be to teach the American people to lie down and take it, spreading as much despair and lowering expectations as much as he can.

                I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:48:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree with both of these comments... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  snoopydawg, SouthernLiberalinMD

                  ...and love your sig.

                  "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

                  by expatjourno on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 08:44:59 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks-- :-) (0+ / 0-)

                    Jenny Lawson is hysterical.

                    Anyone who names her cat Hunter S. Tomcat is OK with me. :-)

                    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

                    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 03:58:04 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  The only way I manage to keep (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SouthernLiberalinMD

                  from despair is a point someone made about triggers of successful revolutions.

                  Aside from the populace becoming more aware of the problems through better reporting and usually a new technology, the other factor has been that the country had been through a period of unrest which resulted in a new leader and/or promises of change - that didn't happen.

                  Having discovered the apartment building I moved to last summer has a roach problem, it has occurred to me that perhaps the environmental movement needs to adopt the cucaracha. A nonverbal question for what kind of future folks want for the planet & humanity...

                  I got this image of a foot long fake roach with '2525 AD' on it...  (yeah, listening to oldies station.)

                  "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                  by Ginny in CO on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 02:09:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  that's funny [but don't give up your day job] (0+ / 0-)

                n/t

        •  Why spend it complacent? (0+ / 0-)

          Why spend it deceived by illusions?

          Why avoid facing facts?

          Why be in denial about who is working for your destruction, the destruction of the Constitution, the destruction of the middle class?

          I'll never understand that.

          "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

          by expatjourno on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:13:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Because he gets to be a rebel. (0+ / 0-)

          What are you, Neat And Clean for Eugene, or the type of guy who puts on a leather jacket, leans against the wall, blows out a stream of smoke, and says, "It's all just bullshit, man?"

          What pose do you think gets more women?

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 09:33:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As usual, an Obama fan can't defend Obama's... (0+ / 0-)

            ...indefensible policies so he attacks his critics instead. You do it every time. How juvenile.

            "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

            by expatjourno on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:40:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  haha, just now? your comment history shows (0+ / 0-)

        that you've despised him for years already.
        Talk about a disingenuous comment.

        •  You can't defend Obama's indefensible policies... (0+ / 0-)

          ...so you attack his critics instead. You all do it every time. How juvenile.

          And the criticisms stand unchallenged once again. As always.

          "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

          by expatjourno on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:41:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  and there's a big incentive to giving the kochs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smartalek

      more money to throw against democrats?

  •  A genuine moment of truth for the President. (16+ / 0-)

    I so hope, for all of our sakes, and for his eternal credibility, that he has the courage to transcend politics and do what is so clearly the right thing.

    •  Courage from Obama? Hahahahahahaha! (4+ / 0-)

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

      by expatjourno on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:54:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you think Pres. Obama is a coward, then it is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jdsnebraska

        up to you and progressives in general to work to alter the political environment to make it easy for the president and other public officials to do what progressives want.

        Rather than trying to change the politics of an issue by prevailing upon your fellow citizens the rightness of your cause, such that doing the progressive thing doesn't require great courage and is in fact the politically expedient thing to do, guys like you sit on the sidelines and demand courage from others to do your bidding, then condemn the cosmos when you don't get what you want as a result.

        •  As always, an Obama fan can't defend Obama's... (0+ / 0-)

          ...indefensible policies so he attacks his critics instead. You do it every time. How juvenile.

          "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

          by expatjourno on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:37:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  They've been shipping it by rail (5+ / 0-)

    through the US for years now, headed for the approved by the ADMIN southern pipeline to the gulf coast refineries.

    Aside from Canada being pissed off over the length of this review and planning to build a pipeline to their west coast to ship it to China,  what has been gained?  

    Stopping oil-sands?  Nope.  Lowering carbon emissions?  Nope.  What then?

    Keystone has long since passed the point of judicious review and entered the realm of political symbolism and football.  Now that it can't affect the presidential election, we're left with this...

    The decision on Keystone XL should be made based on long-term thinking, not the possible short-term effects it might have on the re-election prospects of senators and representatives, many of whose own records on dealing with climate change are myopic at best.
    Like it or not, the "election prospects" of electorally challenged Dems is all that's left, that's all there is.

    "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

    by EdMass on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:09:54 PM PST

    •  Approving Keystone or rejecting it is more... (45+ / 0-)

      ...than symbolic. If it weren't, TransCanada and the Canadian government wouldn't be pushing so hard on it. Naturally, rejecting it won't, in and of itself, stop the extraction of tar sands. But it will have an impact. Sarah Wheaton in The New York Times today:

      But as bad as they argue the 1,700-mile pipeline would be for the planet, Keystone XL has been a boon to the environmental movement. While it remains unclear whether President Obama will approve the project, both sides agree that the fight has changed American environmental politics.

      “I think it would be naïve for any energy infrastructure company to think that this would be a flash in the pan,” said Alexander J. Pourbaix, president of energy and oil pipelines at TransCanada, the company that has been trying to get a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline since 2008. [...]

      The Keystone XL project has also raised the profile of a diverse generation of environmental leaders, like the activist Bill McKibben, a former writer for The New Yorker and founder of 350.org, and the billionaire venture capitalist Thomas F. Steyer, who is estimated to have contributed at least $1 million to the movement and has starred in four 90-second ads opposing the pipeline. Not least, it has united national and local environmental groups that usually fight for attention and resources.

      “Over the last 18 months, I think there was this recognition that stopping the pipeline is, in fact, important,” said Ross Hammond, a senior campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “But it has also brought a huge number of people into the movement.”

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:15:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The more expensive it is to ship, the sooner... (18+ / 0-)

      ...it will be uneconomical.

      Moreover, there is no reason to make Canadian tar sands companies more profitable by subsidising the transport of their product while polluting our aquifer.

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

      by expatjourno on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:57:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Tar Sands companies, the conglomerate (7+ / 0-)

        is Syncrude, ⅔ foreign owned and that ⅔ is dominated by China and the USA.

        The company is a joint venture between seven partners. As a result, Syncrude is not traded directly, but rather through the individual owners. As of August 2010, the partners (by percentage): Canadian Oil Sands Limited (36.74%), Imperial Oil (25%), Suncor Energy (12%), [China} Sinopec (9.03%), Nexen (7.23%), Mocal Energy (a subsidiary of Nippon Oil Exploration)[4] (5%), and Murphy Oil (5%).[5] Because of Nexen's subsequent takeover by [China} CNOOC, over 16% of the shares in Syncrude are controlled by State Owned Enterprises (SOE).
        The pipeline company TransCanada is a US company headquartered in Houston TX.

        To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 02:28:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ownership of the pipeline company isn't relevant.. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          burnt out, aseth

          …to the point I was making.

          The more expensive the bitumen is to ship, the sooner it will not be economical to do so.

          Moreover, there is no reason to make tar sands companies more profitable by subsidizing the transport of their product while polluting our aquifer.

          "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

          by expatjourno on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 03:15:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's generally relevant to let people know that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            expatjourno

            the tar sands and the pipelines are not strictly Canadian.

            It seems to me that our only hope to stop the Tar Sands and the pipelines is the market. It's a very expensive extraction process both financially and environmentally. Protestors discourage investment.

            Yes why should peoples' aquifer be endangered for multinational profiteers.

            To thine ownself be true

            by Agathena on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 09:09:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The bitumen is getting cheaper to ship - not more (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy

            There are new heated rail tankers on order that will allow shipping tar sands bitumen without first diluting it. It is estimated that the equivalent of one million bbls/day of dilbit will be transported by rail. This is more than the Keystone XL's 830,000 bbls/day.

            It there is a derailment then the goo will just ooze out onto the ground or sink to the bottom of a river. It has a very low fire hazard. They pave roads with this shit.

            •  If it were cheaper to ship by rail... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Claudius Bombarnac

              ...why would they want the pipeline?

              "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

              by expatjourno on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:35:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Basically for the same reason that (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Claudius Bombarnac, expatjourno

                while it might be cheaper to buy store brand generic cola, there is a giant corporation out there pushing you to buy "Coca-Cola" products - i.e., it is a different set of 1%ers who will reap the profits.  And quite immense profits.  So it is worth if for them to fight hard to protect their turf.   On a larger sense, whether it is how much poisonous soda or global amounts of carbon spewed, it makes not a bit of difference.

              •  Shipping liquids by pipeline is always cheaper (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                expatjourno, Roadbed Guy

                But shipping thick liquids over long distances by pipe is much more expensive as it requires diluting and/or heating plus a lot more energy inputs to overcome friction.

                I think the tar sands bitumen will be cost effective to ship by rail once insulated, heat-able rail tanker cars become available. Another factor is that heated loading and unloading terminals are required. Give it a year or so - especially if the Keystone XL is stopped.

                This shit is going to get to market, come hell or high-water. The largest multinationals in the world have invested too much money to allow it to be stopped. They control the governments of the US and Canada.

                •  Yes, the type of rail car you mentioned (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Claudius Bombarnac

                  was recently patented:

                  What is claimed is:

                  1. A process of efficient bitumen transport by a dual purpose railway tank car comprising the steps of: a. Heating bitumen and flowing the bitumen into the tank car's insulated tank until the car reaches its maximum weight load; b. Transporting the heated bitumen to a destination by rail; c. Heating the bitumen in the insulated tank by application of steam supplied at the destination through a heat exchanger in or on the insulated tank containing the bitumen; d. Flowing the heated bitumen out of the insulated tank until the tank is emptied; e. Sufficiently cooling the insulated tank by provision of water or a fluid at suitable temperature to the heat exchanger in the insulated tank to avoid flash evaporation of its next load; f. Loading the tank car to its maximum volumetric capacity with diluent; g. Transporting the diluent by rail to another destination; and h. Unloading the diluent from the tank car.

                  link

                  another option I've never figured out why they're not using is to simply chunk up solidified bitumen and haul in all the excess coal cars that have been put out of use by NG fracking.

        •  Yes. That's a point that should be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          smartalek

          hammered home to Canadians.

          Although China's role in it might be useful in countering the "agree to this pipeline b/c Canada is so nice and friendly!" propaganda that's running amok down here.

          I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:56:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for being sensible. n/t (0+ / 0-)

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:54:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Is it exactly known what other chemicals (11+ / 0-)

      is in the tarsand crude oil that is shipped via rail?

      Or is it the same situation that is described  bySteve Horn in this article about the Brakken Shale oil ?

      On January 2, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a major safety alert, declaring oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in the Bakken Shale may be more chemically explosive than the agency or industry previously admitted publicly.

      This alert came three days after the massive Casselton, ND explosion of a freight rail train owned by Warren Buffett's Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and was the first time the U.S. Department of Transportation agency ever made such a statement about Bakken crude. In July 2013, another freight train carrying Bakken crude exploded in Lac-Mégantic, vaporizing and killing 47 people.
       ...
       "Special Conditions"

      Rather than a normal permit, Marquis was given a "special conditions" permit because the Bakken oil it receives from BNSF contains high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the same threat PHMSA noted in its recent safety alert.

      Among the most crucial of the special conditions: Marquis must flare off the VOCs before barging the oil down the Mississippi River. (Flaring is already a highly controversial practice in the Bakken Shale region, where gas is flared off at rates comparable to Nigeria.)

      Here they say:
      The move to ship crude via freight trains is part of a larger trend of transporting petroleum products by rail because of a lack of pipeline capacity. According to the Institute for Energy Research, shipments of oil via railways almost doubled in 2012. In a similar finding by the US Energy Information Administration, 356,000 carloads of crude oil and refined petroleum products were shipped by rail in the first half of 2013 — a 48 percent increase from the previous year....

      Unlike an oil pipeline, shipping bitumen by rail would not require added chemicals to dilute the heavy, viscous crude for ease of transport. And oil pipeline spills are three times larger than comparable rail spills. However, railways too, carry all the same environmental risks from spills including damage to ecosystems and, as evidenced by the July tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, the combination of derailment and the transportation of flammable materials can be devastating.

      On July 6 this year, 47 people died in the small Quebec town after a train carrying crude oil derailed, caught fire, and exploded. The accident — that also resulted in about 1.5 million gallons of oil either burning or leaking into the ground, and a fire that burned for four days — was the deadliest rail tragedy in Canada in over a century.

      "Safety rules haven't kept up with the rapid expansion of oil being moved by rail," says Keith Stewart, Greenpeace Canada’s climate and energy campaign coordinator. Rail cars are prone to spill upon derailment, he says, citing multiple reports from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada dating back to 1994. "When things derail they spill easily and with a derailment that is metal on metal as it is by rail, there are a lot of sparks," Stewart explains. "Sparks combined with a flammable substance is a recipe for a disaster."

      So, is it sure we know what exactly is in the crude oil from the tarsands that is going to be transported by train?

      Will those transports also get "special condition permits"?

      How many of the recent explosions in the derailment accidents of trains that carried crude oil were caused after the derailment or because of the derailment in  comparison to having had an explosions of the chemicals mixed into the crude oil first, that then caused the derailment? What came first, the explosion or the derailment? I think that has not been clearly investigated yet either, but has been suggested, as you can hear in this video. If you have the time to listen to the whole thing. I can not judge this, but it is worth to think about, imo.

    •  Meteor Blades is right. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mimi, 4Freedom, todamo13, smartalek

      Do you have any idea how papered the walls of the DC Metro are with ads promoting Transcanada and the pipeline? Mostly along the lines of "Canada is our good dear friend and we should be energy partners together instead of going around the world to deal with scary Arabs."

      Also, over Christmas I saw TV ads glorifying fossil fuels as better than other kinds of fuel.

      As someone who's spent a lot of time on issue and electoral campaigns, let me assure you that nobody makes those kind of ad buys without a damned good reason, usually because they're feeling pressure. Certainly that kind of spending doesn't happen if the issue is a fait accompli.

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:52:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Climate is a winning issue (25+ / 0-)

    for elections in places other than Oklahoma (and moot there).

    Here in WA, a pretty good bellwether state, Jay Inslee, a strong climate hawk, just won election as governor.

    Rejecting KXL would be a good choice with respect to the 2014 elections (and ... that other reason over in actual reality).

  •  We need to submit comments in national interest (26+ / 0-)

    review period when it happens. We will have a blogathon then to help increase the number of comments opposing XL.

    Obama cited the over one million comments opposing XL as his reason for rejecting XL couple years ago. We had a DK blogathon that worked in a coalition with 6 NGOs that obtained those over 1 million comments. Every comment counts!

  •  Wouldn't the politically expedient (7+ / 0-)

    thing to do is approve it, let the numerous lawsuits be filed, the project is stopped until every lawsuit has a final ruling, and Dems running for office can be appalled or in favor of it, whatever suits their election/re-election.

    And do you really think that the court(s) will approve this going forward when all the evidence of the damage it will cause is presented?  I don't know.  Just wondering if this is another way to go.

    If I was placing a bet, I'd bet that Obama will approve it, hoping that the court(s) will stop it.

    Dallasdoc: "Snowden is the natural successor to Osama bin Laden as the most consequential person in the world, as his actions have the potential to undo those taken in response to Osama."

    by gooderservice on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:17:04 PM PST

    •  goodservice - that's an interesting take (3+ / 0-)

      and very nuanced.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:34:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I doubt the plaintiffs would get an injunction. (5+ / 0-)

      Odds are the project would continue to be built while the lawsuits continued.

      •  You could be right, but how good are the lawyers (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        citisven, Dirtandiron

        and their suits and briefs.  It's hard to conceive -- yeah, go ahead while we work it out rather than stop, wait until we've reached a judgment.

        But of course you may be right and I'm wrong.  Don't know.  

        all speculation on my part.

        Dallasdoc: "Snowden is the natural successor to Osama bin Laden as the most consequential person in the world, as his actions have the potential to undo those taken in response to Osama."

        by gooderservice on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:41:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  perhaps too clever by half, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      denise b, Dirtandiron, Eyesbright

      so far Obama's maneuvered into the position where the proponents of the pipeline will have a very hard time arguing their arguments in favor weren't adequately considered, which is what administrative law typically requires -- process, not outcome.  I think that would make it very unlikely a court would act in reverse, based on those procedural arguments.  "National interest" is in the eye of the beholder, in any event: 'the government disagrees with me' is less a compelling legal argument than 'the government won't let me develop land on which I acquired the right of way.'  It would also have very little benefit to Obama to have a court kill it for him, not reputationally, certainly, and there's no real political advantage in approving it.  

      I do agree there's more going on, though, and I suspect Obama's hoping to see if Republicans will back off on obstructing other climate legislation if he approves the pipeline.  An outcome where the northern half of the pipeline is approved, but we have other laws in place that make the tar sands oil less attractive could be a a good deal.  A republican president in 2016 or 2020 might reverse the decision on the pipeline at any time, but comprehensive climate legislation would be harder to undo.  

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 03:22:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It could be (0+ / 0-)

      but the problem is, we no longer have courts that are un-compromised. These pipeline and oil company concerns have deep enough pockets to shop for judges wherever it's needed.

      OTOH, it might be workable, depending on the jurisdiction. Hard to say.

      This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

      by lunachickie on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 09:13:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, "COURAGE," Mr. President. (8+ / 0-)

    This shouldn't be about mid-term elections, this is about our planet, and the fate of the inhabitants in your nation now and generations forward.  You give the okay on this one, you will have weakened the voice of Democrats and the very many environmentalists working against any other future harmful, adverse energy projects.

    whew!  Fingers crossed over my heart he denies XL!

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:20:20 PM PST

  •  Even if Obama doesn't approve it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citisven

    the next Republican President WILL. And heck, another Dem President doing it (like Hillary Clinton) isn't out of the question either. Basically what the idea of the Keystone Pipeline is saying is that we have to win every single Presidential election from now until the end of time, with a progressive candidate at the top of the ticket. Which is pretty much impossible. Just ONE person in the near-future needs to approve this and our planet is effed. That is all kinds of messed up.

    Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

    by Matt Z on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:27:16 PM PST

  •  The fairly recent approval of a (4+ / 0-)

    pipeline  TO the tarsands (see Obama Approves Major Cross Border Fracked Gas Pipeline) has got to make one conclude that the whole KXL thing is a political charade.

    Or maybe a maneuver to send business the way of Warren Buffet's railroad investments. . . . .

    Either way, caring about the environment clearly is not a concern of his.

    •  Agree with him or not, Obama has consistently.... (0+ / 0-)

      taken different stances toward natural gas vs. other fossil fuels. He's been hell on coal, for instance, and tar sands are a lot closer to coal than to natural gas in their carbon emissions.

      I think he's doing a divide-and-conquer maneuver with the energy industry.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 09:41:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In this case, the pipeline (0+ / 0-)

        is carrying the diluent up there that is used to blend with the bitumen to make dilbit.

        Sorry for the previous link, it was a bit of a mess as far as the technical details go, this one is better:

        Like Keystone XL, the pipeline proposal requires U.S. State Department approval because it crosses the U.S.-Canada border. Unlike Keystone XL - which would carry diluted tar sands diluted bitumen ("dilbit") south to the Gulf Coast - Kinder Morgan's Cochin pipeline would carry the gas condensate (diluent) used to dilute the bitumen north to the tar sands.
        So essentially the comparison with "natural gas" you made is not all that appropriate - this directly enables bitumen production.  And isn't methane, what people usually think of as nature gas, it is was is sometimes known as "natural gas liquids" which are typical blended into liquid fuels like gasoline, not used where natural gas would usually be used (e.g., to power your stove or water heater).
        •  I must not have been clear. I didn't compare... (0+ / 0-)

          the tar sands project to natural gas, which he has been easy on, but to coal, which he has been hell on.

          I don't think you can predict his actions on KXL from his actions on natural gas. I think he will treat it more like coal.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 08:24:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Ah, but for this to occur: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citisven, DawnN, Pablo Bocanegra
    The decision on Keystone XL should be made based on long-term thinking, not the possible short-term effects it might have on the re-election prospects of senators and representatives, many of whose own records on dealing with climate change are myopic at best.
    there would have to be grownups in charge...

    Dance lightly upon the Earth, Sing her songs with wild abandon, Smile upon all forms of Life ...and be well.

    by LinSea on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:30:28 PM PST

  •  Can Obama punt again? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, citisven, SixSixSix, DawnN, hooper

    Because I'm guessing that if he can, he will.  At least until after 2014 elections.

  •  Surely: must wait for investigation to be done? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    The new environmental assessment will be a key part of the State Department's report when it is sent out for public comments.

    And that assessment will be a key part of the report sent to the White House.

    If TransCanada loses, I bet they'll go to court immediately to say the assessment wasn't good enough because of conflict of interest problems--even though they would, logically speaking, be the beneficiary of the conflict of interest.

    I don't know who can go to court to challenge the decision if TransCanada wins approval, but surely somebody can do so.

    If the contractor truly had a conflict of interest that was undisclosed, State should be hiring a new contractor--who might have to start from scratch.

  •  if they are comtemplating (0+ / 0-)

    filing legislation to overturn a ruling, why not just file legislation now taking the decision off of his hands.

    Because they're cowards is why.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:45:08 PM PST

  •  what I don't get (7+ / 0-)

    is the national interest bit...

    By 2020, if these carbon intensive projects move forward, as much as 18 percent of the region's fuel supply could be derived from the high-carbon feedstock. At that penetration, the switch to tar sands fuels would increase greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10 million metric tons, an amount that would offset most of the carbon pollution reductions that the region is seeking under its landmark Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
    From a climate change and CO2 release perspective it seems to me to be completely inconsequential as to where on earth the tarsands oil gets burned. What good does it do to decrease the carbon intensity in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and eastern Canada, if the stuff then gets burned in China, Europe, or wherever else instead? That whole shuffling around of pollution to make one or the other region look good on paper seems to me to just be completely missing the essence of global warming, which is that it is, um, global?

    The whole discussion seems to be centered around 20th century environmental concepts.

    Ecology is the new Economy => Kosonomy

    by citisven on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:45:24 PM PST

  •  may be you want to edit this? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citisven, Meteor Blades, Roadbed Guy
    Meanwhile, builder TransCanada announced Wednesday that it has started shipping tar sands-derived petroleum—diluted bitumen—from Cushing, Oklahoma, to customers in Nederland, Texas, via the southern leg of Keystone XL. Also called the Gulf Coast —pipeline, TransCanada predicted in a press conference that the southern leg will be carrying an average of 520,000 barrels of petroleum a day by year's end.
    you had this twice...

    I like that:

    Good words. Encouraging words. Approving Keystone XL would turn them to ashes.
    Indeed, it would.
  •  Obama is so full of shit. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, Mr Robert
    In his climate speech in June, President Obama said: "The question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late. ... I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that's beyond fixing."
    There is zero chance he'll stop Keystone XL. Standing up to big corporate interests is just not how he rolls.

    Still waiting for that renegotiation of NAFTA you promised, Barack.

    What a liar.

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

    by expatjourno on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 01:52:47 PM PST

  •  Fucking Canadians. First Justin Bieber. (3+ / 0-)

    And now they give us this.

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

    by expatjourno on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 02:00:42 PM PST

  •  Mainline artery is being surgically implanted ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, Losty

    to inject black tar petroleum into America to feed an addictive energy disorder.
    Patient refuses rehab.


    If my life was really that important someone would have made it into a musical by now.

    by glb3 on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 02:07:44 PM PST

  •  It wont be a popular comment but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Reepicheep, Roadbed Guy, Argyrios

    I think environmental activists have made a mistake putting so much weight on this issue.

    Even if Keystone isnt approved, Canada will still develop tar sands, and find some other way to ship them, probably by rail.

    Not that I necessarily favor approval, safety of the pipeline is a bigger issue, imo. But I think people have made a mistake to place blocking of Keystone as a major part of a climate change agenda.

    •  There is a difference. (8+ / 0-)

      Rail can carry many different things.  The pipeline only carries the tar oil.  Rail is beneficial to many different interests, both manufacturers and consumers.  The pipeline is only for the tar oil, and only for a private Canadian consortium that profits from the tar oil extraction.  
      The consequence, at the end of the day, is that the tar oil become part of our infrastructure, and Americans have a vested economic interest in its success or failure. It becomes Too Big to Fail.
      When it becomes Too Big to Fail, the private consortium can avail itself of our military, our emergency responders, and our national security apparatus while operating on our land and potentially poisoning our water. The company will be free to devour and despoil Canada, and it gets a free army to back it  up when Canadians complain.
      Ship it by rail.

      "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

      by Reepicheep on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 02:31:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you for the diary, buringing that carbon (0+ / 0-)

    will not be in our interest.

    If we support the extraction and burning of the tar sands carbon, then we don't care about climate change.

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 02:17:00 PM PST

  •  This is the best Keystone XL diary I've (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CenPhx, NoMoreLies, willyr, Krush

    ever read on Daily Kos.   It is complete, extensive, balanced, organized, effective and insightful.....both from a standpoint of the reality elements of the issue as well as the politics involved.

    If every environmental diary on DK were written in this exemplary manner, we would get more work done and all have greater effect here.

  •  Keystone XL not only game in town for tar sands (13+ / 0-)
    Map: Another Major Tar Sands Pipeline Seeking U.S. Permit

    Canadian energy giant Enbridge is quietly building a 5,000-mile network of new and expanded pipelines that would achieve the same goal as the Keystone.

    While all eyes are on TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, another Canadian company is quietly building a 5,000-mile network of new and expanded pipelines that would achieve the same goal as the Keystone. In fact, the project by Enbridge, Inc., Canada's largest transporter of crude oil, would bring even more Canadian oil into the U.S. than the much-debated Keystone project.
    ...
    Enbridge has already begun growing its existing pipeline infrastructure to increase the flow of Canadian and U.S.-produced oil into refineries and ports in the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Northeastern Canada. The company's plans have largely escaped public scrutiny, in part because its expansion has proceeded in many segments and phases.

    The linchpin of Enbridge's Canadian oil transport system is its proposal to increase the capacity of Line 67 (often referred to as the Alberta Clipper pipeline) to bring an additional 430,000 barrels a day of oil into the United States. Line 67 runs from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisc. and currently ships up to 450,000 barrels of oil a day. Enbridge wants to expand the line’s capacity to 570,000 barrels a day, with the possibility of future growth to 880,000 barrels a day. That's larger than the Keystone XL's proposed daily capacity of 830,000 barrels.

    Because Line 67 crosses the U.S.-Canada border, it needs a presidential permit from the State Department before it can be expanded. That’s the same kind of permit TransCanada is seeking for the northern segment of Keystone XL. The Obama administration is expected to approve or deny the Keystone permit by the end of 2013. For Enbridge, the application process has just begun: the State Department is reviewing public comments on the scope of the environmental review.
    ...

    •  IMO, most of Keystone (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert

      Wouldn't have already been built if there wasnx't a deal in place for XL.
      Why else would Obama sign an executive order for the southern half?  

      •  The southern section of the Keystone pipeline (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ModMark, Roadbed Guy

        was to relieve a glut of oil at Cushing. BTW, Presidential approval is not required to build gas/oil pipelines as long as they do not cross an international boundary. What Obama did was fast track the federal permit process for domestic pipelines. He bragged that enough pipe to circle the earth twice was installed throughout the country in his first term. This will most likely double during his second term.

        Obama can go down in history as being the President under who's watch the country began to become self sufficient in energy supplies, reversing a 50 year trend in the opposite direction.

        With Keystone Pipeline Online, Analysts Expect it to Help Bust Oklahoma’s Oil Glut
        January 23, 2014
        ...
        “Growing energy production in Oklahoma, Texas, North Dakota, Montana and Canada have created a giant glut in places like Cushing, Oklahoma. And Gulf Coast refiners couldn’t access lower cost domestic production and were forced to pay a premium to ship crude from foreign suppliers.”

        The glut of crude at the Cushing oil hub has hurt the price of Oklahoma oil, known as West Texas Intermediate. The Keystone Gulf section will make a major dent in the bottleneck, says Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, an energy-market consulting firm in Houston,

        “This pipeline in conjunction with the Plains Mississippian pipeline, the Glass Mountain Pipeline, and a number of others, will allow producers in this area to ramp up their drilling and production,” says Lipow, who believes energy companies in Oklahoma have delayed drilling in anticipation of the new pipeline.
        ...

        •  And who's hurt by that? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Losty, Claudius Bombarnac, todamo13

          To the best of my ability to figure it out, it is Midwest refiners of bitumen (think the Koch Brothers and their huge PetKoch piles in Detroit & Chicago . . .).

          Right now they're buying the crude a significant discount but are not selling the finished product at a lower price (in fact the states involved, e.g., IL, have some of the country's highest gasoline prices).

          So by allowing the southern leg of KXL, Obama essentially sucked a whole lot of profit out of the Koch Brothers pockets.

          In a way, that ranges from somewheres between quite and very clever.

          And by not allowing the northern leg - is funneling a whole of $$s into his supporter Warren Buffet's pockets.  Again, quite clever!!!

  •  Neil Young helps the Athabasca Chipewyan fight (10+ / 0-)

    tar sands

    http://westcoastnativenews.com/...

    On his Honour the Treaties tour, Neil Young is doing what poets do – forcing us to examine ourselves. This is hard enough on a personal level and it can be even more difficult when we are being asked to examine the direction in which our country is headed.

    The time has come for Canada to decide if we want a future where First Nations rights and title are honoured, agreements with other countries to protect the climate are honoured, and our laws are not written by powerful oil companies. Or not.

    Neil’s tour has triggered the Prime Minister’s Office and oil company executives. They have come out swinging because they know that this is a hard conversation and they might lose. But that should not stop the conversation from happening.

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 03:16:17 PM PST

  •  Would the political (6+ / 0-)

    price of going along and appeasing Democrat's like Kagan, Landrieu and Begich, the coalition that represents dirty energy be worth it? Would this not politically speaking be the final straw for a lot of Democratic voters? 2010 comes to mind when they bogged on the economy for political reasons and lost. Maybe they prefer to keep the likes of Landrieu in congress and losing Democratic voters in states that are chock full of people who see what this will do to our lives and environment. You don't have to be a weatherman to see which way the wind blows, especially when your living in a world that is a environmental disaster and getting worse daily.

  •  In this case stalling is the best option. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, Meteor Blades, LakeSuperior

    I believe President Obama wants to kill the Keystone pipeline, and I certainly want him to no matter what.

    But losing the Senate is a very real possibility if he does so before November. Democratic seats in Alaska, South Dakota,
    Montana, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, and West Virginia are up for grabs. If he kills the pipeline before the election, and more than a couple of those seats switch (South Dakota is pretty much lost anyway) it will only backlash against the environment---unfairly, but probable.

    Losing the Senate, and control over judicial appointments in particular, is not something any of us want. And you can bet this is very much in the president's mind.

    I very much doubt he would approve the pipeline in order to SAVE those seats, but he might stall a decision in order to save them, especially since I believe he will conclude it's not in the national interest.

    So everything we can do to force him (through the courts and otherwise) to postpone a final decision is in the interests of the environment and other progressive issues.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 04:22:15 PM PST

  •  I forget. (0+ / 0-)

    This has been such a long-stretched story (due to diligent delays by the Obama Administration) that I forget...is the deal here that if the Keystone XL pipeline is denied the tar sands will be drilled anyway, with a different route out, or that the proposed pipeline is the only way it's profitable to drill there?

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 05:37:45 PM PST

    •  Canada wants to build a pipeline to its west... (8+ / 0-)

      ...coast, but that has run into homegrown opposition. Other pipelines and rail are being used to move millions of barrels a year of tar sands oil and this can be stepped up some. But Canada's own natural resources minister has said that Keystone XL is crucial to expanding development of the tar sands.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:28:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the US should be at the forefront of decreasing this madness when we have a thriving green energy sector (60 Minutes paid advertisements notwithstanding).

        It becomes muddied we the disaster happens anyway, though, and we just miss out on the money but get all of the negative effects. The denial of the pipeline should mean something substantial for climate change or else it's a false face.

        Ideally we'll work with Canada to both deny this pipeline and transition out of tar sands as an energy (or jobs) solution.

        it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

        by Addison on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:36:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Just Bob, snoopydawg, Krush, 4Freedom

          is adamant about the Keystone XL pipeline and has said he won't take No for an answer.  Stephen Harper is a nightmare and is getting away with destroying Canada's scientific research and scientific libraries and censoring Canadian scientists.  I often wish more people were paying attention to what's happening there.

          Because I spend time in Toronto every year, I tend to pay more attention to their politics and have written a couple of diaries about this.

          Canada is the "dirty old man" of the climate world

          http://www.dailykos.com/...

          Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister wants answer on Kaystone XL Now

          http://www.dailykos.com/...

          They don't win until we quit fighting!

          by Eyesbright on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:52:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Harper is a different story... (0+ / 0-)

            ...the United States should not consider Harperism when considering its own goals. Canada is a great place, Harper is (hopefully) a transient phenomenon.

            it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

            by Addison on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:57:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Hi MB (4+ / 0-)

    I fear your diary contains an error:

    Meanwhile, builder TransCanada announced Wednesday that it has started shipping tar sands-derived petroleum—diluted bitumen—from Cushing, Oklahoma, to customers in Nederland, Texas, via the southern leg of Keystone XL.
    However, there is evidence that TransCanada is not currently shipping diluted bitumen from Cushing to Nederland.  Your dairy's  link to the Tulsa World does not say they are shipping diluted bitumen, only that they are shipping crude on that southern leg, the Gulf Coast Pipeline.

    This following link claims TransCanada will be shipping WTI and Bakken crude, not heavier Canadian Crude, at least not for awhile.

    http://www.platts.com/...

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 07:05:26 PM PST

  •  Question now is whether Obama will have enough (7+ / 0-)

    courage to walk his Climate Change talk.

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 07:31:36 PM PST

  •  I've no idea which way it will go, but I do (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, lunachickie

    remember the President saying something to the effect that his decision would take into account what effect this would have on global warming. I'd guess how his advisors count the carbon might determine his decision.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 07:51:55 PM PST

  •  Okay... let the chickenshit Dems who need to be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright

    elected vote for the damn thing.

    And then, hopefully, POTUS, who is the only true leader out there go for his legacy!!! And veto it.

  •  I do wish I could write. There's something more (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, Maverick80229, todamo13

    that needs saying here. Perhaps I can get the thought across well enough that a wordsmith can wrap pretty words around it.

    Those who want to make the XL pipeline into an election issue are being disingenuous at best when they claim the central danger is losing control of the Senate and want approval of the pipeline to protect the Blue Dogs.

    Perhaps I should be more generous. Perhaps I should consider that it may not have come to their attention that the most recent projections warn of an 8 degree increase in global temperature.

    A 1.5 degree C increase may save some of the island nations. A 2 degree C increase makes some island nations uninhabitable. A 4.5 degree C increase (8 degrees F) by the end of this century will at least end civilization if it doesn't rise to an extinction level.

    I do believe some people here have lost all perspective. For as many more opportunities this old man may have to vote, it's my intention to vote for the human race, not for a political party.

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 09:55:17 PM PST

  •  They Should Burn It (0+ / 0-)

    They should burn it where they mine it to make solar panels. It would be vastly more efficient for them to ship the solar panels than to ship the "oil".

    Can we get them to buy this as an alternative?

    •  We need to do more with solar (0+ / 0-)

      The problem is that solar to date is not a viable source of producing electricity in the kinds of quantities that petroleum-based sources are.  And then, even if solar and wind and hydro combined could produce enough electricity to run American industry, homes, cars, trains, planes etc, the technology has not been invented yet for powering all of those things using total-electric means.  

      We will need oil for decades going forward.  That can be argued, I am sure, but only with "maybe's" and "if's".  And, even though this article makes this kind of oil out to be a suspect source of petroleum fuel, it really is not.

      And, I think a lot of the replies to this here in the beginning of this diary about how we already have millions and millions of barrels of oil transported where people worry about environmental effects of the XL Pipeline have been lost here and how if the pipeline is not built the oil will still be transported in the same areas via truck and train and other means with just as much chance of spills and contamination.  

      My opinion is that we have the technology to do this via pipeline without environmental problems and we have the willpower and ability in this country to make sure enough regulations and inspections and so forth can be put into effect to make this the best method.  

      This will create tens of thousands of jobs for a very long time to come and will spark the economy in so many ways and it should give us better oil prices and we will be less in need of foreign oil which HAS to be a plus.  

      I truly hope solar and wind and hydro sources can be developed to eventually eliminate our need for petroleum-based energy sources.  That day is very, very far away.

      •  You Must Disagree With Me (0+ / 0-)

        And I must disagree with you.

        First of all, solar is more viable than petroleum-based energy. For one thing, we just spent multiple trillions of dollars on the latest oil war, and we will be paying that off for some time. Plus, the various subsidies for the oil companies, including tax breaks mean that even at current prices, solar is less expensive than petroleum as an energy source. Add it all up and oil is far more expensive than solar. It's oil that's not viable economically.

        Second, there is no way to do this pipeline without environmental problems. By definition, it adds to the carbon in the atmosphere. It incidentally creates a lot of additional methane going into the atmosphere. The way to solve this environmental problem is to not do the pipeline and there are no alternatives to that which would have the same effect.

        Third, whether the pipeline would even create any lasting jobs is debatable. Some studies suggest it would result in the net loss of jobs in the U.S. Reliable estimates put the expected jobs in the dozens or hundreds, which can't possibly be worth it if the result is "game over" for the environment.

        Fourth, the point of this isn't to provide a cheaper energy source or a more environmentally friendly one. It's to replace fossil fuel with renewable energy. Every erg of energy used to create a solar panel creates about 20 ergs of energy when used. It's just a far more efficient way of using fossil fuel to get energy.

        My goal here is to put the fossil fuel industry out of business. The way to do that is to require them to put their energy into generating renewable energy sources. The point of that is to reduce global warming as quickly as possible. Anyone interested in mitigating climate change should be on board with that.

  •  The Hidden Coal In Canada’s Oil Boom (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ModMark, Eyesbright, Losty, Superpole, 4Freedom

    59 of the 134 refineries in the US are equipped with coker units.

    The Hidden Coal In Canada’s Oil Boom (pdf)
    ...
    The rise in U.S. petcoke production has positioned the United States as the biggest producer of petcoke in the world, with over 40 percent of the global market. The capacity to produce petcoke in U.S. refineries has doubled since 1999 (Figure 4). The increase in U.S. petcoke production closely follows the ongoing boom in Canadian tar sands production, which has been gathering pace since the beginning of the current century.

    At the beginning of 2012, capacity was 165,000 tons per day. This will rise to over 176,000 tons per day by mid-2013 after three major refinery projects complete their construction of cokers and other new equipment (Table 7).52

    U.S. refineries produced over 61.5 million tons of petcoke in 2011. This is enough to fuel 50 average U.S. coal plants.53 Around 60 percent of U.S. petcoke production was exported in 2011, amounting to over 36 million tons.54 Petcoke exports have grown by over 100 percent since 1999 (See Figure 6).
    ...
    Tar Sands Growth Drives U.S. Coker Build

    While heavy oil has been a focus of some refineries in California and the Gulf Coast for some time, the prospect of growth in the tar sands has been driving an increase in coker units in the U.S. for much of the last decade, particularly in the Mid-West and Gulf Coast regions. The expectation of Canadian heavy crude reaching the Gulf Coast was a stated aim of many recent coker and hydrocracker projects in the region.55

    The delay in construction of the Keystone XL pipeline has not slowed petcoke production at Gulf Coast refineries, as refineries that invested in cokers in order to process tar sands bitumen from that pipeline have instead run heavy crudes from Latin America and elsewhere. But it seems doubtful that so much coking capacity would have been built on the Gulf Coast if it had not been for the expectation of a steady supply of dilbit from Canada.
    ...

    •  What to do with the petcoke (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BeninSC, Claudius Bombarnac

      is a major concerning with bitumen. I believe on the carbon meter, burning petcoke for electric generation is the worse.

      But thanks for the info, for energy stats matter.

      •  Appreciate your environmentally conscious (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Claudius Bombarnac

        contribution, ModMark. We need all the help we can get on this issue.

        Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

        "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT -9.62, -9.13

        by BeninSC on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:27:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Californians have been bitching about China's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4Freedom

        emissions from coal burning "ruining" their air quality. What few know about is that California is selling them millions of tons of the dirtiest coal in the world.

        Dirty Substance From California’s Oil Refineries Burned Overseas

        BENICIA (KPIX 5) – California prides itself on being one of the most environmentally conscious states in the nation. Some are calling that green promise hypocritical, because a dirty substance from the state’s oil refineries is being burned overseas.

        Refineries in California have begun processing a heavier, dirtier type of crude in the last decade. At the same time, there’s a mandate to produce cleaner burning fuel. So what happens to all the dirty dregs?
        ...
        “It’s a dirty secret, it’s a really dirty secret,” said Greg Karras, a senior scientist with Communites for a Better Environment.

        “California is the worst,” Karras said. “California is by far the major refinery center of the Western U.S. but it’s also refining the heaviest, densest, closest to tar average crude input anywhere in the country,” he said. As a result, they produce the most petcoke.

        Since the state and the federal governments consider petcoke a byproduct, not a waste, California’s strict emissions law does not apply. “It does not account for petroleum coke,” said Karras.

        Refineries can produce as much of it as they want. But state and federal regulations for burning it are really strict because it’s so dirty. That makes it hard to sell in the U.S.

        So what to do with it? Chris Howe of Valero told KPIX 5: “Much of it right now is sold overseas.”
        ...

  •  the sad thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    todamo13

    about this is environmentalists have no where to go with a protest vote since there is no left to vote for and if hillary is anointed it just gets worse.

    obama has done just enough to keep the left mollified and under control but he has been a dismal failure compared to the promises he has made many times in an effort to pull the wool over the eyes of his supporters.

    our one party system is at fault and those in power have no reason to change it and put their seat at the table in jeopardy and if that means placing americas interests behind those of the 1% so be it.

    i don't know what you call america but it dam well isn't a democracy.

    save america defeat all republicans and conservatives

  •  '...give environmentalists a policy victory else- (0+ / 0-)

    where'.

    What other possible 'policy victory' could offset the magnitude of air pollution that will be created by burning oil derived from the Canadian tar sands oil?  And be unable to be later overturned or lessened by a shift in political power?

    Is there any such beast?

  •  Sadly, the Keystone pipeline is massively popular. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean

    Issuing a decision in line with overwhelming public opinion is generally considered to help a politician's electoral outcomes, while issuing one at odds with broad public opinion tends to harm electoral outcomes for himself and his allies - even if a small minority of voters agrees with the decision.

    I certainly hope President Obama doesn't make a decision and influence the 2014 elections, because doing so would either screw the Democrats (denial) or screw the environment (approval).

    Polling data on the KXL project.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 09:28:03 AM PST

    •  I'm not sure what the political calculus is on (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell

      this--that's an interesting poll, showing that even 51% of Democrats support it.  On the one hand, this would really piss off a large portion of the Dems base, which is important for a midterm election year, on the other, it is popular across multiple demographics and effects red state Dems.  

      I hate to say it, but approval of KXL may be the evil committed for the good of keeping the Senate...

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 09:40:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  lol (0+ / 0-)
    "You can't do the Keystone pipeline and have climate change as a legacy issue for you, because the pipeline would destroy your legacy. Hopefully he understands that," said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
    He already won the Nobel peace prize so really anything is possible.

    nazies are annoying

    by Krush on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 09:36:52 AM PST

  •  NO BRAINER: It's Thumbs Up from Obama (0+ / 0-)

    What else other than the energy sector has the ability to create numerous, decent paying jobs, and do it quickly?

    even if the doofuses in congress passed full funding tomorrow to replace the 45,000 or is it 65,000 crumbling bridges in our nation-- it will take months to get these projects drawn up by engineers, permits pulled etc., and get started on the new construction.

    domestic energy has been steaming along for what? eight years now? passing Keystone will simply beef all of that up even more-- creating new jobs for engineers, construction workers, truck drivers, etc.

    I'm thinking 80% probability Keystone will pass.

    "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 09:44:53 AM PST

    •  um, at best it'll create a few thousand TEMP jobs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Maverick80229

      It's a boondoggle at all levels except for the corporate fat cats at Keystone.

      Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

      by The Dead Man on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 10:34:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK, Even if it's just temp (0+ / 0-)

        jobs-- BTW, the same can be said for installation of wind generators and solar farms.

        the notion we can just blow off well paid temp jobs in this shitty economy is a farce, and that's one reason Keystone will pass.

        "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

        by Superpole on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 11:24:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Large amounts of polluted groundwater is not worth (0+ / 0-)

          it.  Never is it worth it because once those aquifers are tainted, it's GONE and those areas become void of a whole bunch of jobs.

          Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

          by The Dead Man on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 03:56:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The most immediate reason to stop Keystone XL? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, Roadbed Guy

    Simple: it'd be a blow against these guys.

    Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline could generate $100 billion in profits for billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, according to a report released Sunday, which revealed the extent to which the Kochs would benefit from the tar sands development the proposed pipeline would help spur.

    A progressive think tank called the International Forum on Globalization completed the study, which found that the Kochs and their privately-owned company, Koch Industries, hold up to 2 million acres of land in Alberta, Canada, the proposed starting point of the Keystone XL. Several Koch Industries subsidiaries stand to benefit from the pipeline’s construction, including Koch Exploration Canada, which would profit from oil development on its land, and Koch Supply and Trading, which would benefit from oil derivatives trading.

    The report also estimates that the Koch brothers have given about $50 million to think tanks and members of Congress who have pushed for the pipeline to be built.

    The Koch Brothers are already gearing up to spend hundreds of millions to buy the Senate and win their other targeted races. That's a drop in the bucket for them; the last thing we need is something that will give them $100 billion more to play with - it's a fight for survival on many levels.

    If President Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party don't wake up to this threat, that's the real legacy they'll be leaving behind.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 09:48:53 AM PST

    •  Oh, so it's PERSONAL in bloggo world? (0+ / 0-)

      BTW, you have it backwards...

      Keystone will pass because of the clout of guys like these..

      "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 10:10:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, that's a "feel good" reason (0+ / 0-)

      OTOH, it cuts the other way as well - there's already quite the internet backlash against Obama for do this, and by extension funneling billions of dollars worth of business Warren Buffet's way.

      I say that's what elections are for - they determine winners and losers like that.  

      But nevertheless, I can also see how the optics are kinda bad, let's say for a totally neutral, disinterested observer - let's say like an intelligent Martian or Canadian.

  •  Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    todamo13

    I should keep a scoreboard of all the things that democrats do between now and November that will demoralize and keep away from the polls people who would normally vote for them.

    Obama will approve this piece of crap just like the eminent domain abomination of the southern leg.  Can't wait to see what section is the first to spill.

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 10:37:32 AM PST

  •  If XL goes ahead - Game Over (0+ / 0-)

    I have little doubt that the actual liberals and the progressive liberals will sit out the 2014 elections if the XL Pipeline is approved. The purpose of a Democratic party should be to see a difference between electing a Jeb Bush and a Bernie sanders, not between Jeb Bush and Rand Paul or Mitch McConnell. If we are going down by government idiocy, let it not be by "Democrats" who are actually Conservative Republicans. We are already sinking under this insane fake Bi-Partisanship crap. Try to remember that the people who were wiped out in the Warsaw Ghetto also tried to negotiate for a middle of the road, compromise solution. They got it too... just as our "balanced approach to stimulus and austerity, people versus corporations is balanced.

  •  I believe the that the Keystone XL pipeline will (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    be approved. Kerry at the State Department is likely opposed to the project but Obama and the majority of those in the Obama administration are in favor of it, I believe.

    Piping oil through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas for the principal purpose of export is asinine.

    The construction of refineries in Montana to process the bitumen for domestic use would be be a much superior proposal, but would significantly augment the emission of carbon dioxide, sulfur and mercury, of course.

  •  The only blindspot we have on the KXL matter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Maverick80229

    is that we do not know in any detail at all what KXL pipeline matters have been part of the TPP negotiations and we're not privy to the direct negotiations between the Canadian Prime Minister and President Obama.

    What we do know of these discussions is the the U.S. Trade Representative has been pressuring the European Union over fuel system standards, but we don't know why and this raises questions about President Obama's position on KXL vis. a vis the Obama trade policy.   We also know the
    Canadian Prime Minister has been leaning on President  Obama, but we don't know the negotiating posture of the President on this.  

  •  Very informative comments today... thanks to all. (0+ / 0-)

    My take-away is to imagine what it's like to stand in the President's shoes, juggling the conflicting demands of dozens of competing constituencies.

    PBO told writer Michael Lewis that the job of the POTUS is to make the hardest decisions. All the easy problems get solved at the cabinet and agency level. The ones that make it to the Oval Office generally have no "good" options, only a choice between "bad" and "less bad".

    I suspect that the KXL decision will involve trade-offs and mitigation, whichever way it goes.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 11:18:58 AM PST

  •  May I suggest…. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Maverick80229

    … that we add something to the MIX of "BADS" of drilling/digging/scraping the surface of the earth  for oil…. that when it is done, much of our economy, which is based not only on oil, but oil products and services…. and when it is gone or nearly gone…. WHO WILL OWN THE LAST BARRELS?

    I don't think it will be us.

    Since so much of our medicine and medical supplies come from oil products and the products that make isolation of medical components possible…. our HEALTH (even if there was no CLIMATE CHANGE!) products, our management of medically important diseases will end, too.

    ALSO, since we are NOT investing NOW in other methodologies like solar (it takes a lot of energy to purify and melt silica) or even wind energy our societies have been designed around oil, our food is based on oil, and we are NOT ready for the end of oil.

    "K"… so, we need to point out, and to our oil overlords "their" (our) lack of a future… not just Climate Change. We are adrift in the universe in our little bubble and we cannot think past what we have done and used up…..

  •  have progressives utterly failed in arguing (0+ / 0-)

    against keystone?   Reading the comments, I get the feeling that most here think approving keystone is politically expedient, while disapproving it would be politically courageous and would even cost Democratic seats in congress, but would be worth it.  

    If so, that points to complete and utter ineptitude on the part of those who have been arguing against keystone for years.  After all that advocacy against keystone , it should not be the case that approval would be more politically expedient than disapproval, unless those arguing against it have been totally ineffective and incompetent.

    •  Horse shit. (0+ / 0-)

      It's politically expedient to permit Keystone PD (planetary destruction) because the plutocrats who fund campaign want it.

      And to the extent that progressive messaging has not succeeded with the general public, the reason is not "complete and utter ineptitude," it's because the pro-pollution folks are billionaires with money (and a planet) to burn.

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis

      by expatjourno on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:48:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  He's Going (0+ / 0-)

    to approve it.  Got to do something to take the air out of all those progressive voters...

    Eat, drink, and be fat and drunk.

    by Ref on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 05:18:05 PM PST

  •  what I don't get (0+ / 0-)

    is how the hell can they just go and build a pipeline without it being approved?
    And then those invested can say "but look how much we have spent already!"
    I say "2 fucking bad"

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