Archive for keystone pipeline

Watchdog: Oversight of state pipeline safety "riddled with weaknesses."

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What would we do without a watchdog to protect us and reveal what we already know: We need more (and as you'll see, way more effective) oversight of Big Corporate Ventures; and that Big Corporate Ventures involving fossil fuels (coughKEYSTONEXLcough) are putting our lives in serious danger.

Two words: Oy vey.

Via HuffPo:

(AP) — The federal agency responsible for making sure states effectively oversee the safety of natural gas and other pipelines is failing to do its job, a government watchdog said in a report released Friday.

The federal effort is so riddled with weaknesses that it's not possible to ensure states are enforcing pipeline safety, the report by the Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General said. The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, isn't ensuring key state inspectors are properly trained, inspections are being conducted frequently enough and inspections target the most risky pipelines, it said.

Uh oh.

uh oh

The post goes on to say that more than 20 percent of our pipelines are more than 50 years old or made of inadequate materials. And don't get me started on those incompetent inspectors. One had less than a year's experience.

Without proper oversight, deadly explosions and leaks occur, so clearly, the qualifications and competence of those who are charged with keeping us safe have to improve drastically.

But wait. One of the top three items on the official Republican bucket list is "less oversight." Oh, those wacky zany "pro-lifers" and their totes adorbs shortsightedness. The inspectors and the companies who are the focus of any given watchdog are as responsible as anyone for maintaining safe, healthy, reliable conditions for everyone affected by their operations. But so are our elected officials.

There's more here.

Time to revisit my post of a few days ago, "Our addiction to the ways of the past are destroying us. For humanity, intervention is needed."

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"Only intensive push in next 15 years can stave off climate change disaster"

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tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

The New York Times has an unnerving article about a United Nations report that "only an intensive worldwide push over the next 15 years can stave off" a potential climate change disaster later this century:

The report did find some reasons for cautious optimism. The costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are now falling so fast that their deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said. In fact, extensive use of renewable energy is already starting in countries such as Denmark and Germany, and to a lesser degree in some American states, including California, Iowa and Texas. [...]

Yet the report found that the emissions problem is still outrunning the will to tackle it, with global emissions rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century than in the last decades of the 20th century.

That was posted today. Yesterday, MSNBC's Alex Witt interviewed  John Fiege, the director and producer of "Above All Else," a documentary about lives affected by the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline project. Juxtaposing these two reports in one post-- one on impending climate change disaster and the other on a short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting-- should be a wake-up call. But will it be?

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Witt: If completed, the [Keystone XL] pipeline could stretch 2,000 miles from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast. Deep in the heart of Texas, a group of rural land owners and student activists came together in an unlikely union to protest the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The property owners claim they were manipulated into signing over their land to TransCanada. The energy company for its part is saying the pipeline is a job creator that will ensure North America's energy independence. What happened next is chronicled in a new documentary titled "Above All Else."...

Fiege: The companies building the pipeline were surprised to see such strong opposition from people who lived there. The thing in east Texas, they don't like a foreign company coming in and taking their property and they know how to fight back so it is an interesting conflict...

The folks who signed, as they learned more about what the Keystone XL pipeline is, and that its whole purpose is to transport tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, they didn't know that when they signed the agreement. They also didn't know that the company did not have the permits it needed to build the pipeline. So they felt like they were manipulated and lied to...

You know, another example of an oil project touted as being "state of the art, cutting edge" was the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf Coast that BP ran that exploded. We've heard this over and over again, where oil companies claim they're using state of the art technology-- they probably are-- but we see this over and over again that this infrastructure is not safe. ...

That's one of the main stories the film tells. If you're an individual, if you're an American and you want to fight back against this and you object to a foreign corporation taking your land and you want to do something about climate change, you are putting yourself at great peril and you're going to be crushed by these enormous corporate powers that have emerged and really taken an outsized, you know, section of power and wealth in our society. I think one thing this film chronicles is really a wake-up call for folks in the middle of the country and the reddest parts of red states who don't think this is a good system to have and feel completely disempowered.

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Pres. Obama, just say no to addiction to (tar sands) oil. Please.

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tar sands keystone xl oil pipeline emissions

Excuse me, Official Environmental Review, but the dirtiest oil on earth ("a mixture of clay, sand, rock, and tarry fossil fuel called bitumen, which can be hard as a hockey puck") is brought to you by the Keystone XL "tar sands" pipeline. Then again, tar sands “isn’t oil. This is a pipe-eating, planet-cooking, water-fouling goo. You can’t clean up tar.” Did I mention that, per said report, only 50 permanent jobs would be created?

Get real, State Department. The Arkansas pipeline rupture foreshadows devastating environmental impact. Nevertheless, it looks like the State is leaning toward approving Keystone, even though it would bring the dirtiest oil on earth through America.

Here is some of what the Los Angeles Times had to say:

Environmentalists said the study neglected research that shows the pipeline would play a central role in the planned expansion of oil sands extraction, including a report by the Canadian Assn. of Petroleum Producers. [...] About one-fifth of Alberta's bitumen deposits can be strip-mined. The rest is deeper and would be tapped by injecting superheated steam. Both methods require burning fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide. [...]

[T]he current analysis conceded that mining Alberta's bitumen would generate an average of 17% more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil refined in the U.S. It also said that, under certain scenarios, the pipeline could add as much as 27.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere annually, or the equivalent of putting 5.7 million additional cars on the road. [...]

By [2020], nearly all of Canada's emissions increase will be due to oil sands extraction, the report says.

Environmentalists also point out that the State Department's inspector general is conducting an inquiry into whether the contractor that produced the final impact statement, Environmental Resources Management, failed to disclose recent work it did for TransCanada, resulting in a conflict of interest.

Here is what Chris Hayes had to say:

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Hayes's astute Special Comment on breaking our, and President Obama's, addiction to fossil fuels included this:

Trillions of dollars of crude oil, of tar sands oil, of coal and natural gas, we have to leave it in the ground. Abandon it there. In other words, we have to stop...

The [Keystone XL] Pipeline is the line in the sand... It is quitting time if we are serious... We have to say no...

No single project is going to be the project that does us in, just like no single drink is what does the drunk in...

If we say we're going to quit today and then push it off to tomorrow, we are not quitting, so let us not fool ourselves. If we spend billions of dollars to tap an entire new keg, a dirty keg at that, we are not quitting. We are sinking further into our dependence and self-destruction...

This fight is far from over. ... The president will have the ultimate say. And he has set the standard very recently in his own State of the Union...

The miracle of those who break addiction is the incredible resolve they somehow manage to find within themselves to counter the inner addict logic... and anyone who breaks free of any addiction digs down and finds some inner strength to say, "No." To stop. To say, "This is the day I start to turn my life around."

And the question is whether we as citizens and Barack Obama as a president, as a human being, can find that strength within himself.

tar sands keystone xl oil pipeline map

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Koch "Carbon Bomb" Brothers Could Cash in Billions on Alberta Tar Sands Holdings

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tar sands dirtiest oil on earth

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

A recent study by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), provides evidence that the Koch Brothers could earn at least $1 billion from Alberta tar sand land holdings (with additional profit from their processing plants and related products and services).  This is despite the unconvincing Koch Brothers claim that they have no personal interest in the pipeline.

That disconnect reflects a larger problem that befuddles the northern section of the Keystone XL Pipeline decision. Tar sands oil is already flowing into the US and the Koch Brothers are already profiting from it through its conversion into petroleum coke. [...]

Major tar sands oil pipeline spills have already occurred in Michigan and Arkansas.  And the southern leg of the Keystone Pipeline -- the one Obama approved -- has already needed 125 repairs from faulty pipes, and it hasn't even started flowing yet. [...]

The carbon bomb come at either end of the process: primarily in the extraction of tar sands oil in Alberta and in the refining or conversion to petroleum coke at the other end of the pipeline. [...]

The carbon bomb comes from the increased processing that will result from a northern pipeline with more capacity; in short the size of the carbon bomb will be increased because more tar sands oil will be able to be extracted and carried efficiently (otherwise more train tankers and land transport options will need to be used, which will slow the processing and profit down). [...]

CommonSenseCanadian.com:

"The Kochs have repeatedly claimed that they have no interest in the Keystone XL Pipeline, this report shows that is false.” Said Nathalie Lowenthal-Savy, a researcher with IFG. “We noticed Koch Funded Tea Party members and think tanks pushing for the pipeline. We dug deeper and found $100 billion in potential profit, $50 million sent to organizations supporting the pipeline, and perhaps 2 million acres of land. That sounds like an interest to me.”

The report also asserts that the more money the Kochs and their ilk make from accelerating climate change beyond the tipping point, the more funds they will have to continue lobbying to increase the impact of their destruction of planet earth.

Please read the entire post here.

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Canada's booming oil sands industry offers "choice between whether we starve to death or are poisoned to death"

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tar sands oil handful

The EPA and the Interior Dep't. contradicted the State Dep't. by slamming the Keystone XL "tar sands" Pipeline on potential environmental harm.

The Keystone XL tar sands “isn’t oil. This is a pipe-eating, planet-cooking, water-fouling goo. You can’t clean up tar.”

Again, the tar sands pipeline (scroll) is the “biggest carbon bomb on the planet.” Think Progress and Van Jones both remind us that the project will create only 35 permanent jobs, but will emit 51 coal plants’ worth of carbon. Plus, much of the oil would be exported elsewhere. We’d be way better off investing in clean energy instead of a costly, dirty catastrophe-in-waiting like the tar sands mess.

In a recent Gallup poll, nearly half in the U.S. say government should do more to protect environment, and 20 scientists pulled out of the project. Plus, the Arkansas pipeline rupture foreshadows devastating environmental impact. Nevertheless, it looks like the State Dep’t. is leaning toward approving Keystone, even though it would bring the dirtiest oil on earth through America.

Bill McKibben and NASA’s Jim Hansen both warn that it would be “essentially game over for the climate” if this crackpot project gets the go-ahead.

And now we have the Los Angeles Times reporting that Canada's booming oil sands industry is both a major health hazard and a goldmine for Alberta residents:

Oil sands production, as the procedure is called, is booming in northeastern Alberta. And it is expected to grow far larger if the Obama administration issues a federal permit for the Keystone XL pipeline from the province.

Debate in the U.S. over the pipeline has largely focused on whether the oil sands would contribute to climate change, or spill along the route. But in northeastern Alberta, the effect of the oil sands industry plays out in more complicated ways.

And by "complicated" they mean cancerous:

"From everything I hear from the indigenous peoples, their thinking seems to be 'It's a choice between whether we starve to death or are poisoned to death,'" said Dr. John O'Connor, a general practitioner who has worked here since 1993.

How's that for being pro-choice? You either risk death by acquiescing to Big Oil, or you risk poverty if you challenge them.

Three studies by independent scientists have shown rising concentrations of pollutants, including carcinogens, in waterways near Alberta's oil sands production. [...]

There were about 4,000 possible violations of environmental regulations from 1996 to 2012 related to oil sands extraction; Alberta authorities took enforcement actions in 37 cases, according to a July report, based on provincial records, by the environmental groups Treeline Ecological Research and Global Forest Watch Canada.

Call me crazy, but good health trumps income concerns, because if you're alive and healthy, you still have options available to you. If you're riddled with cancer or dead, well, let's just say your choices are drastically reduced.

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Feed A Cold, Starve the People

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sneeze

Those Republicans are at it again. They don't have time for a jobs bill. They can't be bothered with immigration reform. They don't care about our crumbling infrastructure. What's the pressing issue they can't wait to get their hands on? It's SNAP -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

A Republican proposal to cut food stamp spending by 5 percent would eliminate benefits for as many as 6 million Americans, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal D.C. think tank.

starvation

They just don't get it. Many people on food stamps do work -- but they don't make enough on current minimum wage to rise above the poverty level and thus qualify for assistance. And who's fault it that? The Republicans. They refuse to vote on raising the minimum wage to a livable amount.

No matter how many times economists show them that raising the minimum wage increases productivity, these thick-headed morons refuse to listen. Instead, they unsparingly propose harmful cuts. Regardless of who they are hurting: Children, the elderly, and people who don't get 4 months of paid vacation a year, like Congress.

"House Republican leaders haven’t formally released the language of their plan, but the information they have made available makes clear that the proposal will be very harsh, denying SNAP to at least four million to six million low-income people, including some of the nation’s poorest adults, as well as many low-income children, seniors, and families that work for low wages," the CBPP's Dottie Rosenbaum, Stacy Dean, and Robert Greenstein said in a report published Monday.

Back in June, a proposal to cut SNAP (Food Stamps) funding by 20 billion dollars was voted down.

Scissor cut

BECAUSE IT WASN'T ENOUGH OF A CUT!!!

What is wrong with Boehner and his vigilante posse? Are they so callous they want to refuse to give us jobs and then watch us starve, writhing in a slow death, watching our families perish and making us dig their graves, assuming we have enough strength?

The Romans thought Caligula was a demon and barbaric. They intentionally looked the other way when he was jumped by the Senate and stabbed to death. What do we have in store for Speaker Boehner and his gang when they come back. I hope it's our votes and our voices to shout them down and rip them apart by taking away the thing they cherish most -- their seats on Capitol Hill. To them it's the gift that keeps on giving. And if they don't start giving back, wait until they walk among us.

Earplugs may not be enough to drown out our dissatisfaction. Disruptive town halls during August showed that. Our voices are raised and we're going to be heard. Tread on us and we'll tread on you. Don't be surprised if we go a little "mashed potato" on your behinds.

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EPA, and now Interior Dep't., contradict State Dep't., slam Keystone XL Pipeline on potential environmental harm

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tar sands dirtiest oil on earth

An "independent study" on Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline was closely linked to fossil fuel companies. Quel surprise! If that's what it takes to garner support, then this filthy undertaking should be scrapped ASAP.

Need more convincing? Just check out: VIDEO: Keystone XL tar sands “isn’t oil. This is a pipe-eating, planet-cooking, water-fouling goo. You can’t clean up tar.”

Allow me to remind you that the tar sands pipeline (scroll) is the “biggest carbon bomb on the planet.” Think Progress and Van Jones both remind us that the project will create only 35 permanent jobs, but will emit 51 coal plants’ worth of carbon. Plus, much of the oil would be exported elsewhere. We’d be way better off investing in clean energy instead of a costly, dirty catastrophe-in-waiting like the tar sands mess.

In a recent Gallup poll, nearly half in the U.S. say government should do more to protect environment, and 20 scientists pulled out of the project. Plus, the Arkansas pipeline rupture foreshadows devastating environmental impact. Nevertheless, it looks like the State Dep’t. is leaning toward approving Keystone, even though it would bring the dirtiest oil on earth through America.

Bill McKibben and NASA’s Jim Hansen both warn that it would be “essentially game over for the climate” if this crackpot project gets the go-ahead.

But now, a glimmer of good news: Two of three government agencies have come out swinging against the impact of this disaster-in-waiting on the environment. The Interior Department sent a 12-page letter warning that the tar sands project could have "long-term, damaging effects on wildlife."

Via The Los Angeles Times:

The letter from the Interior Department grimly catalogs many ways Keystone XL could harm wildlife: "species displacement, increased predation rates and predator travel lanes, increased nest parasitism, vehicle collisions with wildlife … invasive plant species, increased wildfire risk, lower wildlife density, increase in collisions with power lines and electrocutions on power poles … and increase in poaching."

The Interior Department is the second major federal agency to criticize the State Department's draft environmental impact statement, a detailed look at the potential effects of the proposed pipeline on air, water, endangered species, communities and the economy. In April, the Environmental Protection Agency slammed the assessment, saying it failed to account for what could be considerable greenhouse gas emissions from the project and risks to aquifers along its route.

Along with warnings about potential oil spill disasters, Interior stated its concerns about every day effects on wildlife, including nesting and threats to the lives of birds and fish from various intrusions by the new infrastructure.

The Interior Department also raised concern about how the pipeline might damage wetlands and archaeological sites. And it warned that Keystone XL could create light and noise pollution that could affect people and wildlife alike.

The pipeline is a terrible idea that could have catastrophic long term consequences. Let's hope it gets a big fat thumbs down and we can move on to concentrating on and developing clean, renewable energy sources.

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