Archive for conservation

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

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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.

SCREECH.

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.

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What I will not write about today

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frustrated21

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

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

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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.

 

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

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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.

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Michele Bachmann says she'd consider Everglades drilling

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Oh my god. Oh my holy crap sundae with a creationism cherry on top. What kind of twisted mind would think that drilling in the Everglades is even in the realm of rational thought? The Everglades has more than 67 endangered species living there. What a sick woman. Let's hope there are no "experts" that she can find that will be bribed convinced to okay such a hideous plan.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said Sunday that she would consider oil and natural gas drilling in the Everglades if it can be done without harming the environment.

Bachman said the United States needs to tap into all of its energy resources no matter where they exist if it can be done responsibly.

"The United States needs to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy and more dependent upon American resourcefulness. Whether that is in the Everglades, or whether that is in the eastern Gulf region, or whether that's in North Dakota, we need to go where the energy is," she said. "Of course it needs to be done responsibly. If we can't responsibly access energy in the Everglades then we shouldn't do it."

In 2002, the federal government at the urging of President George W. Bush bought back oil and gas drilling rights in the Everglades for $120 million. Bachmann, who wants to get rid of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, said she would rely on experts to determine whether drilling can be done without harming the environment.

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Bills targeting oil industry move forward in House committees

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(via)

While the BP Gulf oil disaster is putting pressure on the UK to ban North Sea drilling, our U.S. of A. Congress is putting on some pressure of their own:

Far-reaching legislation that would impose new environmental safeguards on offshore drilling, repeal oil-industry-friendly provisions of energy policy and hit producers with a new tax to fund conservation programs gained ground in Congress on Thursday.

Acting as BP at least temporarily halted the flow of oil from its blown-out well, two House committees advanced legislation from a pile of oil-spill-related bills.

One bill, approved by the Natural Resources Committee on a largely party-line vote, would strip the oil industry of royalty relief for deep-water drilling. It would repeal a provision of the 2005 Energy Policy Act that exempted projects, including the Deepwater Horizon drilling, from detailed environmental analysis. It would also bar companies with poor environmental and safety records from bidding on future offshore oil and gas leases.

Of course, a really simple fix would be to ban drilling. And that will happen when unicorns roam the earth, Barbie McLipSchmutz de-idiots herself, and the GOBP discovers the word "yes".

Also, California Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein called on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to investigate whether BP lobbied for the release of terrorist Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi, convicted in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270, in an effort to gain favor with Libya to drill off its coast.

I can't imagine any actions remotely like these happening if Carly Fiorina were to become my Senator. Good thing Boxer has pulled in 12 times what Carly has so far, but... it's not a done deal yet.

If we're to make any progress whatsoever in the ever-elusive pursuit of clean energy and against corporate power, we better get Dems to the polls in a huge way in November and in 2012. True, Democrats are no angels, but compared to the GOBP, they're light years better.

Here's why.

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PhotOh! My first car crush: FaST NOGaS

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I had a lovely lunch today with my Twitter buddy 42bkdodgr, who you may know from his frequent guest posts which can be found here.

He walked me back to my car, and parked right smack next to me was a super duper shiny hottt little Tesla. I'd never seen one in living color and within touching distance before, so I got a little closer (it was teeny tiny!) and checked out the license plate....

... and the license plate was as cool as the car. Look closely. The plate reads: "FAST NO GAS".

Of course, at first, being the weenie that I am, I turned to 42bkdodgr and asked, "What the hell are 'fst nogs'?" He immediately focused like a laser right in on the teensy little "A" stickers as I slowly slithered into my puddle of awkward.

Okay, no I didn't. Instead I leaned in and checked out the license plate frame: "A stake in the heart of OPEC." It was love at first bumper.

This is my first real crush on a car. I usually don't fall for inanimate objects (if you don't count Haagen Dazs containers), but this Tesla had me at FaST NOGaS.

Tragically, my love is unrequited. I'm clearly outclassed. Next time I'll set my sights on a Prius.

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