Archive for conservation

Where's The Windfall For The US With The Keystone XL Pipeline?

Keystone XL Map

Keystone XL Map

There's so much talk about the Keystone pipeline -- should it be built from our northern border, dissecting the country in half like the Mississippi River?

Well, that's a long route and any pipeline carrying any product has certain risks. The largest being the spills. But it also means jobs in the short run - a few years. And the number of workers being employed are generally in the construction and oil business. But how many jobs? That's hard to say. The 1,700-mile Keystone XL is estimated to employ somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000 people according to Politifact. They also say the actual number might be half of that, or even less.

But how many people will be potentially affected by a possible spill of this dirtiest of crude? Millions. So do a little math, actually very little, and you'll see that there's high risk and not so great a reward.

Okay, let's assume it gets built and then the flow of this dirty liquid goes off without a hitch. Just think of all the crude that we'll be refining and having for our own use.


Our own use? Un-uh. It's not for consumption in the US. It's for exportation. And the receipts for those sales doesn't go to the US market. Oh, no. It goes to Canada, the "owners" of the dirty raw crude. We're just the risk-taking conduit.

We are NOT GUARANTEED a single drop of that US refined oil. Not one. We can be the highest bidder and keep the fuel here, but we face competition from all over the world.

So we get to take the risk, we do get to spike a bit of employment -- but 20,000 jobs doesn't seem to be a huge comfort compared to the millions looking for work. It's better than nothing -- if you don't take into consideration that oil pipelines leak all the time. We're facing the disaster of all times if we're not lucky. And for what? For Canada to reap the profits for a drop in the bucket for us?

Truth is we're already showing an abundance of fuel here in this country. So much so that we're growing the exports of our domestic fuel every year. That means we producing more than we're selling here in the states. CNN Money Reports:

In 2008 the country exported 1.8 million barrels a day of refined products, according to EIA. By 2012 that number jumped to 3.2 million barrels.

Does it make sense to put our country at risk over the dirtiest oil we can find when we're refining enough of it here to have excess and making a profit selling it. Do we really need to build a pipeline when we have roads that are falling apart, bridges crumbling and airports that are referred to as "third world" quality? Wouldn't we make more money here with an improved infrastructure which wouldn't add nearly the risks of the dirty oil flowing dissecting our county? It used to be we lived east or west of the Mississippi. Soon it could be do you live east or west of the Keystone oil disaster.

leaky oil pipeline

The pipeline might be worth it -- but to Canada, not us. We shoulder the risk and they take all the profit. The honchos there say they're going to continue to frack and pull up their dirty shale oil. Good for them. They have ports on both of their coasts. If they need to refine their dirty oil, let them build refineries and pollute their air, not ours. Maybe they'll even hire some Americans to go up north and help them learn how refineries work.

Let Canada build their own pipelines to them and use tankers like everyone else. Why do we have to take the risk of catastrophe for a temporary, two year building gain? After it's done, we'll have an eternity of potential danger to humans, wildlife and our native lands. And for nothing but Canadians making profits.


What I will not write about today



Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

drunk drink more wine


Good news: Energy use falls even though homes have gotten larger


good news happy hand

Whaddya know, a good news story! They're rare these days, so consider this an early New Year's gift. Or loan. Or momentary indulgence.

The L.A. Times is reporting that even though homes are getting larger and larger, household energy use is getting smaller and smaller. At least that's what government stats are showing, and that's good enough for me:

The reason: energy features built into newer homes. New houses are better insulated, so they use less energy to heat and cool. The appliances are more efficient, and people living in even the biggest houses tend to be more aware of the environment and energy waste.

Improvements in the efficiency of the building envelope, space heating, air conditioning, refrigerators and other appliances have all led to decreased consumption per household, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Specifically, double- or triple-pane energy-efficient windows have been a factor, as have have Energy Star refrigerators and Energy Star clothes washers. So have caulking and weatherstripping to seal cracks and air leaks, better insulation, and energy-efficient compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode lights.

Keep up the good work, America, conservation works... no matter what the GOP tries to sell/tell you.



"Romney's price argument... is the sort of thing you'd expect from a clueless rich guy."


President Obama said this today in Charlottesville, Virginia: "My opponent called my fuel efficiency standards 'extreme.' Maybe steam engine standards are more his speed."

According to an L.A. Times editorial, he's not far off. The problem is also that Team Romney arguments against the president's plan are, per the article, "untrue in every particular":

The new standards would be phased in from model year 2017 to 2025; by the end of that time, each automaker's passenger vehicle fleet would average 54.5 miles per gallon. This won't limit vehicle choices, because it's a fleet average — there will still be four-wheel-drive pickups, vans and other heavy vehicles on the road, but they will be lighter and more fuel efficient than they are today and will have to be offset with more high-mileage alternatives. Romney's price argument, meanwhile, is the sort of thing you'd expect from a clueless rich guy. Yes, the new technologies will cost more upfront, but only very wealthy people pay the full price of a new car upfront. Most people finance such purchases, and the monthly savings on gas resulting from the new standards are expected to more than make up for a car buyer's higher monthly payment.

As the editorial points out, the Obama administration's fuel standards are the most important environmental achievement of the president's first term. And one of the arguments against it is that lighter vehicles aren't as safe. However:

The heaviest classes of vehicles will probably see the biggest weight reductions. That should help reduce fatalities because the mass differential involved when an SUV collides with a subcompact plays a big factor in the death rate.

Obama's plan will reduce reliance on foreign oil while having an impact on combating climate change. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it will save 4 billion barrels of oil and 2 billion metric tons of greenhouse-gas emissions, with a net benefit to society of up to $421 billion, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But that doesn't matter to Republicans, because:

The GOP plot to obstruct continues.