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Drawing A Line In The Tar Sands

We’re debating the thousand mile pipeline that would cut across the U.S., from Canada’s tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico. The “Keystone XL” pipeline.

Activists protest a proposed pipeline to bring tar sands oil to the U.S. from Canada, gather in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011. (AP)

Activists protest a proposed pipeline to bring tar sands oil to the U.S. from Canada, gather in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2011. (AP)

The tar sands of western Canada make some of the dirtiest oil production in the world. But at a time when everybody wants energy, hungry eyes are on Canada’s heavy tar sands oil.

A huge new proposed pipeline, the Keystone XL, would send that tar sands oil 1,700 miles south, from Canada into the United States, across the Great Plains and six American states to Houston and the Gulf of Mexico.

Supporters say it would be an energy and jobs bonanza. Opponents say it would mean “game over” for the global climate. A disaster.

This hour On Point: debating the Keystone XL pipeline.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Michael Levi, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change.

Alex Pourbaix, President of Energy & Oil Pipelines for TransCanada, the Canadian energy company that plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

Randy Thompson, a rancher from Nebraska who is opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline. He’s become a local hero of sorts among those opposed to the Trans Canada pipeline.

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, director International Program, Natural Resources Defense Council.

From Tom’s Reading List

(U.S. State Department)

(U.S. State Department)

The Atlantic “Despite the fact that Obama isn’t even in the White House — he’s on vacation — the demonstrators have been wildly successful in provoking public attention: the Tar Sands Action has been Google’s number one trend for the past four days, and has garnered celebrity support from actors Mark Ruffalo and Sophia Bush, along with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke.”

The New Yorker “The tar sands begin near the border of Saskatchewan, around the latitude of Edmonton, and extend, in three major deposits, north and west almost to British Columbia. All in all, they cover—or, more accurately, underlie—some fifty-seven thousand square miles, an area roughly the size of Florida. It is believed that they were pushed into their present location seventy million years ago by the uplift of the Rocky Mountains.”

The Wall Street Journal “While Canadian regulators are tightening environmental oversight of oil-sands production in Alberta, American environmentalists and some U.S. mayors are campaigning against what they see as another potential threat from Canadian oil: pipeline corrosion.”

More

You can find the State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL Pipeline Project here.

Randy Thompson on Keystone XL

Martell, NE
View Martell, NE in a larger map

Video of Washington, D.C. pipeline protest

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  • Terry Tree Tree

    More ‘American oil’, going to the Gulf, for export!  The ‘oil-patriots’ will be all over this, citing ‘national security’ and lower gas prices.  It’s mostly for EXPORT! 
         How many wind-turbines could we build, and have generating electricity, for the price, and before, this pipeline could be completed?
        Run the pipeline on the property of its proponents, within 100 feet of their houses!!  That way they can smell the ‘money’ every second!

    • William

      The Cape Wind project has taken nearly ten years to gain approval. We can’t sit idle and watch our country fall further behind in becoming self-sufficent in energy production.

      • Jasoturner

        Cape Wind has taken so long because it’s a financial bomb that burdens customers with above-market rates for years and years.  You cannot become self-sufficient by paying a premium for energy and thinking good intentions will lead to tangible benefits to the economy and to people’s everyday lives.

        • William

          Cape Wind has taken so long because the rich liberals don’t want it in their back yard.

          • Jasoturner

            That may be partially true, but it is also a financial loser.  And I am simply concerned with the bottom line on this issue as it pertains to the Mass ratepayers.  I really don’t care if the Kennedy compound has to look at windmills or not.

          • Anonymous

            @jasoturner:disqus I guess if you think that oil prices are coming down you can show that; but the tar sands exploiters are the prime demonstration of the oil industry’s belief that oil prices will continue to increase to the stratosphere as the world’s economy grows. That is the ONLY way they will possibly recover their investment.
            While current wind electricty purchases are slightly higher to recover the initial investment, they are guaranteed NOT to INCREASE over some ten years; how much will you risk to guarantee that oil (or coal) prices will not increase more than enough to make Cape Wind the deal of the century?

            Note that the oil companies are not exploring many/most of their offshore tracts because of the expense of that extraction.

          • JustAskin

            Isn’t rich liberal an oxymoron. I would just say rich people along the MA coast, because wealthy snobbery does not seem to be connected to political affiliation.

      • AC

        did they ever finish studies on what Cape Wind would do to migratory patterns of fish and fowl? I remember wanting to read some of those, but i can’t remember seeing a published one go by and it’s been awhile….??

      • nj

        Who is saying that we should “sit idle”?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        That’s one project.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Oil, the problem to so many answers!

    • Jasoturner

      Our empire was built on oil.  And it will crash on oil too.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Too many sensible options!!   Only IDIOTS would crash with oil, instead of proceeding with sensible options!

        • Jasoturner

          Take a look at the profits and political contributions of ExxonMobil and other oil companies.  They are more than happy to ride the gravy train into the ground.  And our governing class is going to let them.

  • Yar

    2% using 20% is the past, not the future.  We must change our priorities, the world is moving on and our role as the world’s consumption nation is on its way out.  Our economy is experiencing fundamental changes.  Take the USPS for example, they use tremendous energy for those last few miles of mail delivery. Instead of just stopping Saturday delivery, I recommend switching to an every other day delivery schedule. It would use less energy and provide better service. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, followed by Monday, Wednesday, Friday, rotating every week so the longest time between deliveries is from Friday to Tuesday every other week.  If that is too long then add a delivery on Sunday. It would still save a tremendous amount of fuel.  I wish we would put resources into passenger rail rather than increasing our use of oil.

    • JustAskin

      I have always said that a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday delivery should be enough for anyone. Home delivery is for bills and 90% unsolicited junk mail. Billing grace periods would have to be adjusted to compensate for the change.

      The government should change junk mail to OPT-IN and reduce the bulk of household mail. It seems counter intuitive that reducing junk mail in favor of efficiency could save money, but like trash pickup, if they don’t have to stop at every house, they save money.

      Daily Business delivery could continue for an annualized subscriber fee to cover costs and prevent abuse. Perhaps two delivery types for parcels like medical and Netflix.

      On Point should do a program on this important issue. What would happen if mail stopped completely?

  • Anonymous

    Let me get this straight. The idea is to build a pipe line from Canada to the Gulf, which already is a major oil production area. This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard and is a disaster waiting to happen. 

    The chances for a pipeline this huge to fail alone is reason to stop this project.

    • Flowen

      It’s such a heavy crude they have no refineries in Canada to handle it.

      There are actually 3 pipelines: one to Cushing OK; a 2nd phase will bring Cushing oil to the Gulf Coast refineries to permit a higher throughput at Cushing, thereby relieving the bottleneck existing at Cushing (the main reason West Texas Intermediate Cushing oil is so much cheaper than world benchmark Brent oil), allowing domestic oil prices to rise, not fall.

      The 3rd pipeline is to the Canadian west coast, and is contingent on partnering with a likely Asian shipper to deliver the crude by ship to Asian refineries.

      On the bottom line, they should invest their resources into clean energy resources. Exploiting the tar sands is just much more of the same old same old. Haven’t we seen that doesn’t work well anymore? The only reason we need it is to allow the Status Quo to maintain itself at the expense of health, economic, and climate security.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Amazing, another example of us not learning from experience that we don’t learn from experience. The Yellowstone river spill happened less than a year ago…

      http://news.discovery.com/earth/yellowstone-river-oil-spill-110703.html

    • William

      Duh?..profits pay the taxes to build roads, schools, police and fire protection, are you against these too? The pipeline in Alaksa has worked very well despite the gloom and doom predictions when it was being built.

      • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

        Right, without that Alaska pipeline we would never have had the pleasure of the Exxon Valdez spilling oil into Prince William Sound.

        • William

           Yup…big spill…and guess that drunk ship’s master had nothing to do with it huh? or the 3rd Mate that ignored the warnings and went out of the shipping lanes…wham!!!…industrial accidents happen, planes crash and we don’t stop flying….

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Hired by Exxon, or a company it trusted!!

          • William

            How’s that green job industry going these day? They paying the same taxes that Exxon pays? Same payroll? 

          • Terry Tree Tree

            The green job industry is GROWING!!    Does Exxon really pay taxes?  Do they pay nearly as much taxes, as they pay lobbyiests, and politicians?  Advertisers? 
                Of course green industry hasn’t got CEOs paid as much as Exxon’s!  Actual payroll, world-wide?   I don’t know!  Do you?

          • William

            Exxon has a lower profit margin than the high tech industry. They are very good at what they do and help make this country work. The disaster of green jobs is coming to light with more of those failed companies going bankrupt despite billions of dollars from the taxpayers. The CEO of Exxon is running a very successful company something that the “green jobs” companies can’t match.

          • Anonymous

            @0aeb1c67f759dc0e24a92a5eb0bf6a0b:disqus And the regulation that required all oil tankers to be double-bottomed and tanker shipping rules changed, opposed by the oil companies, should not have happened either?

          • William

            Do you think double-hulled ships can not sink? It makes them more expensive to build, but you hit a big enough reef, they will leak and sink.

          • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

            If there weren’t an oil terminal there there would have been no accident.

            True, industrial accidents happen but we don’t seem to learn from them. I give you the Yellowstone River.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Selling oil to Japan and China is so necessary?

      • nj

        92% of the oil from Prudhoe Bay has been extracted.

        How will Alaska fund itself when the remaining oil is gone?

        Who will clean up the mess that’s left (old exploration wells, old production wells, waste, abandoned buildings and infrastructure), and what will it cost?

        Addiction narrows one’s perspective.

  • No World Goverment

    “Michael Levi, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations”.

    Leave it to On Point to invite someone from the C.F.R., on as a guest.

    The same C.F.R. that has stated that it wants to rescind the U.S. Constitution and establish world goverment.

    No thanks!

    • Anonymous

      @7c65f18633a8e63b7346662251123a2a:disqus And how does the U.S. preserve its influence to prevent chaos in the world outside its borders impinging on its citizens: the coal-fired plants of China are putting mercury in our fish and arsenic in our air as just ONE example. Individual treaties are not the solution.

      But you need to provide a reference to an ORIGINAL source for your claim, which I believe is a gross exaggeration of what the C.F.R. meant.

  • JustAskin

    So.. who’s paying for it? Just the consumer? State and federal grants of land, land leases, funds, eminent domain, etc.

    Which costs more, a refinery in Canada or on the border, or a pipeline across halfway across the continent?

    Who pays for the security of the pipeline, and who pays when it floods a local river system (or hey maybe it can pour into the Gulf)?

    Isn’t it interesting that pipelines always get the green light in recessions.

    Will the pipe be above ground, or below?

    Is the oil heated, or cold. How many pump stations are required?

    Why is this story never covered by the MSM?

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Because the MSM is payed for by the very companies wanting to build this. Advertising money shuts people up fast, unfortunately.

      Never forget 60 minutes/CBS and the tobacco industry…

  • Alan

    I am a photographer based in London who has been working on a multimedia project concerning the Tar Sands, I have made a few pieces with regard to the Lubicon Cree in the Peace River country and of course Fort McMurray. The environmental damage is heartbreaking not to mention the damage to the community’s health.

    http://vimeo.com/17566949

  • william

    A good project that will generate good paying jobs and reduce our dependence on Middle East oil. Build it!

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Did you watch the video above? Did you listen to Randy Thompson? What about his rights as a landowner who wants to protect his water supply and the integrity of his private property? No doubt there are many Randy Thompsons being affected by this, some willing to take money from a lease, others not.

      Given what happened on the Yellowstone river this year (an oil pipeline broke crossing the river spilling a lot of oil and fowling the water downstream) I think Randy Thompson has quite a bit to be concerned about.

      If I were farming in Nebraska and depending on a shallow water table there would be no way on earth I’d want something like this going through my property, no matter what the lease agreement was.

      • William

        Property rights? The Supreme Court ruled a few years ago that the state can take your property if they think it is a good idea for society as a whole. 

        • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

          And you support this decision? I certainly don’t.

          • William

            It was one of the worse decisions the court ever made…it goes against what this country is all about….

    • JustAskin

      The jobs part is true, but the oil in the pipe belongs to Canada, and the fuels refined belong to Canada. We may purchase the refined fuel from Canada. Just because a Canadian pipe passes over US territory, does not mean the US has any political say in who Canada cares to sell to.

      I wonder how many politicians suddenly own land parcels in the west 50ft wide and 50 miles long?

      • William

        Oil has not value unless you sell it on the open market..then it belongs to the buyer….

    • Yar

      It will be a prime target for terrorists.  Just think of all the jobs that will be created protecting the pipe?   Heavy crude spills are difficult to clean up, more jobs?  Who pays all these workers?  

      We do, at the pump!

      We are paying for the BP oil spill, we are paying for the wars in the middle east, we are paying for climate change as well.  This doesn’t lower the cost of fuel, it will raise prices even more. 
      To lower dependence on foreign oil, add a dollar per gallon tax.  It will put downward pressure on consumption, and lower profits at oil companies.  The price wouldn’t simply be 1 dollar higher.
      To make it so the poor can get to work, offer tax exempt coupons for the first 10 gallons each month.  
      When should we change our consumption habits? Now, or when we can no longer breathe?

      • William

        You put a dollar tax on gas and watch what happens to the unemployment rate. Why exempt the poor? You want to discourage consumption, it should apply to everyone right?

    • Jasoturner

      Really?  But oil is a global commodity and this represents less than 10% of that use (if I recall correctly.)  OPEC will still have huge influence on the price we pay.  While we may import a little less oil, we will still be utterly dependent on the world market to set price.

      And by the way, the developers in of this good project will sell oil in a heartbeat to the highest bidder.  Hometown discounts are for dreamers and saps.  This does very little to change the oil game no matter what, although plenty of people will get very rich building and operating it.

      • William

         Yes, sell it to anyone, but increase the supply and that will decrease the cost. Decrease the cost and you lessen the power of OPEC and especially the Middle East oil producing countries.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Did Deepwater Horizon decrease costs?  Since it was to be capped anyway, would it have decreased costs?  Did the Exxon Valdez wreck decrease costs?

          • William

            The cost of doing business. Just ask the airline industry. How many people have died since commercial air was started some 60 years ago? How is that Cape Wind project going these days? Or those Green Jobs? …..

        • Anonymous

          @0aeb1c67f759dc0e24a92a5eb0bf6a0b:disqus Everyone IN the oil industry KNOWS that oil prices are ONLY going up (average-wise) or they would not be working to extract this expensive oil. When the world economy recovers (and the U.S. better hope it happens soon, though policy makers here and in Europe are doing their best to prevent it) the growth will, and even now (see China’s buying spree), keep oil prices going up, with normal deviations. All increasing the supply will do is slightly lower the upslope.

          But alternate sustainable energy have no such built-in cost increase ramp; in contrast, its cost is coming DOWN, to the point that PV is currently about or below the cost of electricity from a new coal plant.

          An all electric vehicle cost per mile is one fourth that of a gasoline vehicle today.

        • nj

          The amount of oil added by these marginal areas is trivial compared to the world demand.

          • William

            Just like green energy. It does not provide much potential so why build it?

          • nj

            If, by “green,” you mean technologies whose primary, ongoing inputs are based on renewable or perpetually available sources, then we build it because their inputs are based on renewable or perpetually available sources.

            What do you propose to use once fossil fuel prices double? Triple?

          • William

            If green energy is so good..why is it so expensive?…why did Spain fail and destroy more jobs than they created with the failed green energy plan?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      How many illegal aliens?    Oil dependence is ONLY reduced by energy conservation,  renewable fuels and energy, and sensible options!

      • William

         We are losing millions of jobs because we can’t compete with countries that pay people less than a dollar per hour. We need massive, really massive power plants being built to provide the cheapest power in the world. Nuke, coal, oil, natural gas, solar, wind, whatever works, but get the power rates down.  Companies from around the world will come here to build factories even with higher wage rates. We have excellent roads, pretty good workers (mostly non-union are the best ones), and excellent colleges. We need cheap power to push back against China, India, Mexico etc…

        • nj

          It’s hard to envision anything more short-sighted.

          Energy costs will never be as low as they are now.

          Trying to compete again cheap labor with “cheap” energy makes absolutely no sense.

          Such is the intellectually bankrupt state of the right wing these days.

          • William

            You live in a dream world…we can’t compete and should not force down wages to 3rd world level…if we have the cheapest power rates in the world…reliable power….we will have jobs…millions of jobs….the left needs to think about rebuilding our industrial base and quit sending jobs overseas…you guys can’t get the Cape Wind project online after ten years…your ideas are all failures….

  • JustAskin

    The Tea Party must be stridently against this pipeline because it is against sovereignty and  individual liberties. Right?

  • AC

    I thought the analysis on this will not be out until Oct? What arguments do either side have yet?
     I know there exist much less invasive & modern in situ techniques to extract hydrocarbon bitumens, but I don’t know a lot about them – can you mention a few? Do they reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and by how much?
    The question of why they can not work closer to the site is also puzzling? Is it a permitting issue? Experienced labor? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have to move it so far off site….
    Also, what on earth is going on with the Julia oil field in the gulf? Why haven’t they got their act together for it yet if they’re so ready & willing to go? Instead, the last I heard is they’re suing the govt for the delays they themselves (!) caused by not being prepared??

  • Anonymous

    Pumping crude oil down to Texas only to truck refined oil and gas back up north seems a bit nuts… why do we need a pipeline at all? Why not build a refinery up north? We haven’t built a new refinery since 1976. Don’t we need a new refinery to help lower the price of domestic energy to spur our economic recovery? Furthermore would it not be wise to provide backup capacity for our existing domestic refineries to prevent a huge spike in energy costs should we have another refinery accident like the 2005 BP fire. Would in not be in the best interests of every north american person, be they human being or corporate entity, to reduce energy costs and especially reduce “uncertainty” in the market? ;^)

    • Jasoturner

      It’s all life-cycle cost analyses, isn’t it?  Refineries are simply too expensive to build.  But it is highly ironic that an empire like ours, which was built upon oil, elects not to increase it’s refining capacity, if only for national security reasons.  Alas, we cannot acknowledge our dependence on oil politically – at least not honestly, and we willingly allow commercial enterprises to dictate how it is best husbanded.  That way lies second-world status.

      • Anonymous

        I doubt that our empire would have ever been built let alone reach such a zenith if government had been run like a business basing its decisions on life-cycle analyses and P&L, expecially given that our current short sighted economic planning has been shortened from physcal quarters to polling periods if not news cycles.

        • Jasoturner

          I would not disagree.  And now republicans may help elect a former business consultant to finish the job off.  This country once supported great and daring thoughts, and acted to make them reality.  That country seems to be no more…

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Oil Companies REFUSE to build Refineries that are Environmentally Friendly!!   They could have added capacity at existing refineries, in a MUCH cleaner manner, but they chose NOT to.  You want to live within a mile, and down-wind from one?

  • http://profiles.google.com/lloydrph Jonathan Lloyd

    If you trust any energy company you are either an idiot or on the receiving end of a nice big bribe.

    • nj

      We all trust them to some extent. I trust that when i flick a light switch, the light will come on.

  • Brett

    This just increases our dependence on those radical, fundamentalist Canadians!   

  • Me

    Debate?
    What debate?
    Oil companies bought and paid the “republican$”.
    Why don’t we just cut to the chase and dump the oil directly at the head of the Mississippi river and catch it in New Orleans?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      That is what the Republicans are fighting for, NO Regulations, NO EPA, NO Taxes on the Rich, NO Accountability, and NO Sense!!

    • William

       Really? How much money did Obama take from the oil lobby?

      • Me

        Enough to look the other way like your “republican” buddies.

        • William

          He took plenty of money and has been bought off like most other political leaders.

          • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

            The fact that Obama has taken money from oil companies doesn’t make right what they’re doing here. No politician should take any money from companies, period. Until we get corporate money out of politics we’re ####ed and the people to legislate this are as heavily addicted as anyone else. Obama isn’t off the hook either.

          • William

            What is the different from a company giving money to a political leader and private citizens? do you think private citizens are not going to try and corrupt the system? get what they want and screw the other guy?

  • nj

    Tar sands, drilling in the Arctic and deep-water areas, shale oil all represent the last, desperate efforts of the extractive industries’ attempt to squeeze the last bit of profit out of a dwindling resource.

    The amounts of energy these sources will yield is, in the big picture, trivial. For a few years’ worth of production—and it really is a very few years—we not only risk damaging the environment, but also incur the opportunity costs of spending our collective resources on projects that are not sustainable, and have only short term utility. The money spent on these desperation projects would be better spent on reordering our infrastructure and developing more localized, sustainable energy sources.

    Plus, given the other known and potential, perhaps yet-to-be-discovered uses for crude oil, it seems incredibly stupid and short-sighted to burn most of what’s left. This wouldn’t seem to be the highest, best use of the resource.

    Plus, we’re pumping that much more carbon into the atmosphere, further accelerating climate disruption. None of the economic costs of the consequences of climate change are reflected in the price of these fuels. The extractive industries profit, the rest of us incur the costs.

    The time to begin making the big changes that need to be made in the Era of Dwindling Fossil Fuels/Peak Oil is now. We can squeeze tar sands, drill the Arctic, frack all the shale on the continent, and in a few decades, all that energy will have been burned up, all that carbon released into the atmosphere, and then what? 

    We can either face the problem of our energy needs and usage clearly and boldly, and begin making the needed changes in a thoughtful, planned, rational manner, or continue to frantically try to maintain the status quo, grubbing out every last bit of coal and petroleum until the whole system crashes.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      EXCELLENT!!!

    • William

      Actually, oil companies are being forced to go to places that have more risk because they are being blocked from drilling in the states, and off shore. 

      • nj

        Nonesense (i’m being charitable). They drill in riskier places because that’s where the remaining resources are. Most of the easier-to-extract stuff is gone.

        • William

           Nope…areas that have oil are being kept off the market. Exxon just found a huge oil deposit in the Gulf…there vast untapped oil deposits off California and the East coast.

          • AC

            actually, they found it in 2008. they dragged their feet dotting their t’s and crossing their i’s so their leases expired.
            At the risk of sounding as cynical as others on here, i’d have to say they were working w/an admin that needed scrutiny & before the deepwater horizon incident – so they must have assumed ‘business as usual’ would never change… Honestly, if I were an Exxon big-wig, I’d fire whoever didn’t do their job on this one….

          • AC

            that is, if you’re talking about the julia field….

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Deepwater Horizon proves that is is safe?

          • William

            Industrial accidents happen all the time. How many airplanes crash and yet we get back on them and fly around the world. Should we allow our country to become another Africa? Failed state, starving population, no electricity, no jobs, no hope?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Perhaps Bhopal, India?  Massacre (Massey) Energy  coal mines?   True, they happen all the time!  No EPA, would allow them to happen much FASTER!

          • William

            Yup…poor managers…people get killed….people got killed when they built the Golden Gate Bridge…people die when planes crash, the Big Dig Tunnel leaks and the roof caved in on some poor lady….we learn from our mistakes and move on….

          • nj

            News flash, Bill! Off-shore is a riskier place to drill.

      • Vermonter

        Let the record show that there is great risk in drilling offshore…

        • AC

          but if people like you would go into the industry and become inspectors, it would be a lot safer!!

          • Vermonter

            People like me?  Don’t understand your comment.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I interpret her saying someone as concientious as you impress her to be!
               Want to go breathe oil fumes all day, for weeks at a time, until it exudes from your pores?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Deepwater Horizon was SO safe?

    • Vermonter

      Very well said nj.  This will be an environmental disaster.  Problem is, people in the US are confused about climate change largely due to “bought and paid for” politicians, and compliant mass media.  Though an overwhelming majority of climate scientists tout anthropogenic climate change, the media presents the debate as if there were an equivalence between opposing views in terms of the science, and the scientific community that stand behind it.  

  • Terry Tree Tree

    A line of Wind-Turbines , Solar Panels, Solar Boiler Towers, and such, would provide MORE energy independence, earthquake protected, terrorist-protedted, and otherwise secure!!   This system could be providing energy MUCH FASTER!!  FAR LESS POLLUTION!!!

  • Ellen Dibble

    I would put up solar collecting fields and wind farms on those tar sands.  As one whose health has been seriously compromised since I was a child by environmental factors, and for whom it took almost half a century to start to figure out how to get my body to proceed at all, having internalized too much from water and air to proceed in ways doctors understand, as one who spends a basic $100 a week to get some of those toxins chelated out of my body, as one who considers herself terribly lucky to have figured out that approach — I look at that swath of pipeline going down the spine of the United States, and think — one more place I cannot think of inhabiting.  And how did I get so much uranium into my body last year?  Maybe someday everyone will be sitting there every week or so, paying to have toxins pulled out of their brains and bones, everyone who can afford to.
    Meanwhile I have to write out manuals on how to care for me, sort of, in case I end up in a nursing home — for when I can’t breathe, when my digestion won’t function, for when my brain won’t function, etc.  How many of us are there already like this?  Don’t you care about the cost of keeping us functional, insurers?  Medicare?  Speak up.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    This is just oil companies and speculators looking for massive government handouts and muscle (needed at least until the government hands over the power of eminent domain to corporations – and of course someone else to clean up during spills and after the pipeline is no longer profitable) in exchange for a handful of (temporary) jobs.

  • BHA in Vermont

    They should build a refinery in Canada next to the source of the oil rather than running it 1500 miles south. We presumably need more refineries anyway. Just read today Sunoco is selling their unprofitable refineries (if anyone buys) or shutting them down.

    • Ellen Dibble

      We presumably need or do NOT need?

  • Jay

    Is there a good reason not to build a refinery in Canada at the source of the oil?

  • Iowa common sense

    Why not build a small oil refinery in southern Canada or northern ND and only move refined products instead of unrefined crude?  Apparently all efforts to move this oil east or west in Canada have been turned down because it is too environmentally dangerous.

    Best bet…leave the oil sands alone and change energy standards in US.  Last report: too much oil is being refined in US and US is now selling its energy abroad including natural gas.  Keep it in the ground until needed, IMHO

  • Pat Churchman

    They should not build it. We should be concentrating on other ways to fuel our vehicles.
    Pat C
    Bridgewater, VA

  • Anonymous

    Tar sands is like an alcoholic going into an old bar to suck the carpet to get the spilled booze… Tar sands are clear evidence that we have passed peak oil. The sun will shine for about another *billion* years, and all renewable energy will be around that long. How long will oil and coal and gas last? http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/08/josh-fox-tar-sands-video.php

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Will the same quantity of carbon in the form of oil be pumped from elsewhere and burned?  If so, Canadian oil is safer than oil from the failed states and dictatorships in the rest of the world.  Oil is yesterday’s energy, but we still need it for now.

    • Ellen Dibble

      If we cannot stand up in the United Nations and say we are taking the lead in reducing greenhouse gases — by disallowing this pipeline for instance — then how can we then tell Brazil and China and India and wherever that if we can do it, so can you…
          We can’t say hey, we’re a oil-fueled plutocracy, with oil money running our campaigns and elections, but you over there, don’t cook the planet; get yourselves started with butterfly energy.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        We don’t have to tell them to do that; they’re already doing it.

        • Ellen Dibble

          Well, that is the awfully good news.  Actually.

    • nj

      [[ Oil is yesterday's energy, but we still need it for now. ]]

      Assuming this is a credible statement, how much longer will it be operative? Five years? Twenty? One hundred?

      And what will render the “we need it for now” part inoperable?

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Show me a replacement that’s ready to go now.  Until it’s ready now, we need what we have.

        • nj

          You assume that something can “replace” oil. Dangerous.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The biggest lie that will be pushed is that somehow since this oil is traveling through the US that it’s somehow oil for the US.

    The reality is it is oil owned by multinational corporations – and will as likely go to Asia as into US gas pumps and furnaces.

  • Nancy

    Tom, why is James Hansen not on this panel? He is the world’s leading climate scientist and has studied the potential outcome of mining and burning the Alberta Tar Sands.

  • Iowan

    1.  Not needed
    2.  If Canada desires it, then build refinery in southern Canada
    3. Only move refined products, not this tar-baby oil.

    Note..glut of current oil resources to extent oil and natural gas are being exported from US.  RU kidding me?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      If not from Canada, then from where?

      • Iowan

        Cuba.  Closer, Could be connected via 90 mile pipeline.  Good way to break up silly blockade, IMHO

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Ah, because Cuba is our friend…

          • Iowan

            Cuba is no more an enemy or friend than any other country today. We import from Venezuela and would likely take energy from Russia if it were to US advantage.  Cuba fears are silly.  In fact, could be a great economic boost if relations normalized.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Michael Levi, I believe, is saying we ALREADY blew it on climate change, and that the global price of oil will go down if we move forward, and that (b) the investors in tar sands extraction will NOT move their investment over into alternative energy.
        Hey.  Anyone out there with retirement funds in energy, thinking $$$$ in your shining eyes, beg your investment advisers to move those investments into something sustainable — for your children’s health and for the environment, and for our national pride.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Isn’t it kind of stupid to build something as risky  as 1700 mile pipeline to send it to refineries that are only waiting for the next big hurricane to take them out commission for weeks or months if not permanently?

  • Terry Tree Tree

    With ALL the costs figured in, energy to mine, heat to separate, heat to pipe, water needed for all that, the loss of water to the locals, the pollution, the health-hazards, the labor, the equipment needed and abandoned, the RISKS of pollution, and SO MANY MORE, will the profits of a few, be worth it?

  • Carolchapman

    Who profits from the pipeline? Is it possible the oil companies want to bring this dirty oil to the Gulf Coast so they can sell it and easily transport it all over the world? Why not spend the money on a refinery in the Northern U.S. or Canada? Better still don’t do ANYTHING to encourage tar sands oil productions.

    Carol Chapman

  • JMc

    why is it we must create jobs that result in our ultimate demise, it is a short term mentality and ultimately hurts us in the long run. why can we not use the same budget to invest into alternative and safer methods? people are willing to do anything at this point to work and it is a sad state of affairs.

    • Sixerjman

      Exactly what I think every time I hear about some boondoggle that creates long term negative effects creating jobs.  The argument is always ‘let’s green light this thing even though it may kill us all, because it will create jobs for a few (but more importantly make even fewer rich, richer and richest).  By all means, let’s legalize methamphetamine that will create a large amount of jobs, also – chemists, warehouse workers, retail distribution, management, health care.  

  • Dave in CT

    Perhaps off topic, but it is debate night.

    To On Point and all media:

    As Ron Paul is number 3/4 in many polls, all discussions of the Republican race should include  25-30% of the time discussing his positions and reasoning.  Not just a name drop and grandfatherly dismissal, but an intellectual (no!) discussion of his actual ideas and line of reasoning.  Careful though, open the door and you might get upset at realizing how it is he has for so long predicted our calamities.

    • nj

      Yep, off topic, not appropriate. I flagged it. Send On Point an e-mail if you want to shill for Paul.

      • Dave in CT

        thanks!

      • Modavations

        Snitch

  • Charles A. Bowsher

     Why don’t we build a train track along the 1,700 mile route and transport the oil via rail?. Then at least we would have something we could use later. Plus the tar sands wouldn’t have to be diluted so much.

    “Current rates of extraction” Lawyerease for “Not in my lifetime”.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Excellent idea.

  • Jennifer

    New jobs?! How about supporting our working class with building all the bridges, high speed train lines & other massive infrastructure that is so needed in this country instead of going back to the crack house of our addiction. In rehab they say: “Your first day is today”, isn’t that the phrase?
    Last guest said that it would take 1000-3000 yrs to release all the carbon from the Tar Sands, as though THAT IS OKAY?! Does NO ONE think that that is part of our families future? Just because it’s not oing to happen in our short lifetimes doesn’t mean it’s okay!

  • Jay

    That there are existing refineries on the Gulf coast does not sound like a good reason to ship the oil there. A rough guess is that the cost of building refineries in Canada is much less than building a huge pipeline. Add in the danger to drinking water and cleaning up leaks, and it is more to the point. Whenever big money is being spent for things that do not make sense, follow the money: most likely lobbyists and unions are putting pressure on policy makers to ignore common sense.

  • Helena Hadek

    If there are 3000 years worth of oil at the Canadian site, why not build the refineries there?

  • Jmmcmillin

    ask your guest the budget for the pipeline

  • Eric

    We must consider the environmental impact on the BOREAL FOREST: critical to hundreds of bird species, including many threatened and endangered species.

  • John Mason

    I can imagine that after a good faith delay the pipeline will be diverted to piping down better quality Alaskan oil, rather than bitumen chunks from foreign Canada. The billions of construction money go to Big Oil, and Venezuela takes a hit. Everybody happy.

  • Daniel K Sakamoto

    I do not appreciate how the proponents keep taking advantage of the current political atmosphere by emphasizing the “jobs” it will create.  The last audio clip said “thousands of jobs.”  Thousands of jobs are not worth the environmental risks and increasing the dependency on oil.  Maybe if it created hundreds of thousands of jobs.  ”Canada has commited to the exact same green house gas emission targets as the US” …same as the US?! That’s nothing to brag about.

    • Anonymous

      I agree Daniel — it is not an either/or choice between jobs and the environment.  This is a false dichotomy.

      Our economy is a subset of our environment — the economy is totally dependent on the environment, and if we ruin the environment, we ruin the economy.

      Neil

  • WOODBROOKS

    ASK ONE OF YOUR GUESTS HOW MUCH ENERGY IS EXPENDED TO PROCESS 1 GALLON OF OIL.  THE ANSWER* IS 1 GALLON.  THIS IS ENTIRELY A ZERO SUM GAIN. IN MY OPINION THIS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.

    *I RECENTLY LISTENED TO A LECTURE BY A SUCCESSFUL ALTERNATIVE ENERGY CEO WITH 25+ YEARS EXPERIENCE IN THE INDUSTRY.  HE PRESENTED STATISTICS ON ENERGY-IN, AND ENERGY-OUT.  

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      If that were true, we wouldn’t do it.

      By the way, all caps is shouting.  Use your indoor voice.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      Try doing that calculation on the energy required to produce solar panels and you’ll be very disappointed.

      • nj

        Red-herring alert!!

        The analysis needs to be done on the entire cycle of production of the panels, installation, their useful lifetime, recycling costs at the end of useful life, etc., etc., none of which, i would safely bet, The Worried One had bothered to access.

        If he had, he would have found that multi-crystalline, silicon-based photovoltaics result in an EROEI (energy return on energy invested) ratio of between 4:1 to 10:1 which compares favorably to most fossil-fuel sources.

        There are—or could be in the future—issues with pv (raw materials supplies, especially) but currently, the energy invested in the infrastructure relative to the energy produced is one of them.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Do not indulge this liar anymore. I would throw tar sands on him if he were in the same room with me.

  • Jmmcmillin

    does that mean the ozone layer will only grow 6% larger?

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think it’s Alex Pourbaix talking jobs and US requiring to import 2/3 of its energy, per the US Energy Department analysis.  
       I’m thinking what part of the energy lobbyist bloc paid for that analysis, the one that says we’ll import much more than half our energy, in the form of oil, for at least I think he said 20 years.
        We need to employ people in new energy, not dirty energy.  Of course the oil companies are not going to tout the number of jobs they are thinking of starting in say tidal/wave energy or whatever.
        Money talks.  Apparently it talks to the Department of Energy and it talks to Canada.

  • Dave in CT

    IMO if you are really concerned about humanities impact on the planet, you will be working toward population reduction.

    To force the lower middle class and poor to pay for experimental and insufficient green sources of energy, will just never fly, regardless of how attractive the idea is.

    Similarly, Debt-funded subsidy of cleaner energy will not be a magic bullet either.

    There is NO FREE LUNCH

    Impact/Person    Reduce people, reduce impact.

    Coercion will always fail, and lead to alot of conflict when in gets nasty.

    As a scientist, I appreciate and believe the global warming concept.

    • Ellen Dibble

      No free lunch, but shouldn’t we be maneuvering in the right direction, toward more sustainable ways of living?
          Or should we, like the person below said, be sucking the alcohol out of the carpets when the bottle starts to go dry?
          Addicts need to think Pearl Harbor.  Throw the weight against the problem.  Not throw the weight BEHIND the problem with a pipeline.

      • Dave in CT

        Definitely try.  But we can’t act as if the great hope or idea, is a magic bullet. We have to do the math of energy demand and energy supply availability of all sources.

        I think its easy to understand the idea that the payback of creating energy certain ways, be it solar or tar sands, involves issues of how much does it cost in energy to produce a unit of usable energy. At some point, the numbers just don’t meet our demand.

        I am all for our society re-examining our wasteful, selfish, materialistic, over-populating ways, but holding the economy hostage to well-intentioned dreams, may be fine for upper middle class academics and subsidized business start-up folks, but for the vast majority who live in a bricks and mortar economy, and who live with the long term damage of debt and financial issues, it doesn’t seem fair to put this on their backs.

        Getting back to a more organic supply and demand economy, with real jobs that serve our basic human needs, as opposed to a debt-scheme financed ponzi economy that fuels excess materialism for the benefit of bankers and Wall St, would go a long way to reducing wasteful consumption and energy usage IMO.

        • Ellen Dibble

          I think both the science and the cost/benefit analysis will improve once we start heading in the right direction — cleaner energy.  Who would have thought that a computer could cost a few hundred dollars when we first were buying them a few decades ago.  Or DVD players.  Et cetera, et cetera.  The cost of dirty energy in health no one  wants to calculate for some “inexplicable” reason.  The cost of dirty energy in terms of compromises with dictators, if not wars.
              Science may start to present lots of alternatives.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  But we aren’t seeing “necessity” when it is still decades away that our coasts will get encroached upon, for instance.  What is the cost of that?   How many cities and islands, how many species…

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The poor and middle-class have been paying for the reliance on oil, and the HUGE increases.  None of them got pay-raises at the percentage that oil and coal costs went up!
         We will pay Far more, as we lose more!

  • Modavations

    Daryl Hanna and the rest of the “swells”told their drivers to park the limos out of public view.

    • nj

      Unencumbered by facts, and having no idea of how Ms. Hanna arrived in Washington, Modavations jammers about limousines in the fashion typical of those tilting rightward to smear anyone employed in Hollywood.

      Never mind that Ms. Hanna lives in an off-the-grid, solar-powered house utilizing a lot of recycled materials, and she drives a bio-diesel-powered vehicle.

      • Modavations

        I’ve never seen more private jets then on the tarmac at the last Cancun Climate Summit.From there they all jetted to Cannes.Ever hear of satire and levity???

        • nj

          As with much of what you post, you’re unclear on the concept.

          Satire needs to be based on truth or it’s just distortion.

  • Jim Pyrzynski

    The Nebraska governor (R), senators (R & D) and at least one of the three (R) representatives are against the route of the pipeline. It’s route will traverse the Ogallala aquifer and a leak could severely damage the aquifer. The past year and a half we have had pipeline leaks in Michigan (putting Lake Michigan in jeopardy), Montana (fouling the Yellowstone River) and elsewhere. A different route would be better and the governor supports a different path.

    The State Department (who has the approval authority) is not qualified to determine the safest route. As for the tar sands – yes they will be mined regardless, regardless as to the impact on the health of the planet.

  • Iowan

    Ask the Canada person about cost of buying land rights since no US government funds will be used?  Also, as what point will the oil be “owned” by a US company?

  • BHA in Vermont

    Current comment – RIGHT – we need to use LESS oil, not bring in MORE oil!

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Actually posted by Charles A. Bowsher, but my internet server is screwy.

    Why don’t we build a train track along the 1,700 mile route and transport the oil via rail?. Then at least we would have something we could use later. Plus the tar sands wouldn’t have to be diluted so much.“Current rates of extraction” Lawyerease for “Not in my lifetime”. show more

  • Charles A. Bowsher

     “Keystone” is aptly named. It is the Keystone to assuring our continued suicidal dependence and reliance on fossil fuels. We as a country are long overdue our day of reckoning when it comes to energy usage. It used to be that we could justify our gorging ourselves at the oil teat because we were so “productive” as a nation. That is no longer the case. The only thing left over from our “productive” period is our seemingly insatiable delusion that it is our God given right somehow to use and waste as much of the earth’s resources as we can amass or control.

    It is time for the energy consumption hawks to face reality. We are on a limited resource in the middle of nowhere. Until we get our heads around that we will continue to make wrong-headed decidions such as this one.

    Its time the energy hawks and their lambs learn that conservation is the actual “Keystone” to our world’s energy future. Just ask your favorite NASCAR driver if it they would accept the handicap of running their next race with their tires underinflated by 10%. I assure you it would be a big fat no. Jimmy Carter was right, he had us on the right track with energy conservation, a push towards solar and alternative energies which if we had followed through on would have put us in a very comfortable position instead of once again having to battle sheer lunacy once again.

    The people who are supporting this project and others of this ilk are wrong, they were wrong in the past and frankly I don’t think they deserve a place at the table for some time to come.

  • Helena Hadek

    As I understand it, it is about the US oil companies exporting this oil to other markets. This would not be oil that would be used by US consumers. This would sacrifice our environment for oil company profits.

  • Modavations

    We should have invaded Alberta instead of Iraq.Christ, for the money we’ve blown in the Mideast,we could have bought Alberta

  • Rex

    Obama really can’t lose by approving this pipeline.  While this may tip conservative independents over to his side, liberals and environmentalists have no other choice when the republican option would not think twice. 

    If it comes down to Obama, I really hope he takes a stand for the environment and clean energy.

  • Modavations

    Drill in Anwar.It’s so ugly up there even the mosquitos won’t go

    • Anonymous

      ANWAR is also a dead end.  It would be a drop in the bucket, and the risk is not worth it.

      If something is “ugly” in your eyes, then it is okay to exploit it?

      Neil

  • Modavations

    Lift the Mexican Oil moratorium and 50,000 guys can go to work

    • Anonymous

      Mexican oil is running dry.  Oil is finite, and it will run out.

      Neil

  • Tim Weiskel

    Faulty EIA Process Will Have Globally Fatal results:

    The “Environmental Impact Assessment” (EIA) of the State Department is fundamentally flawed.  It assessed the potential impact of the pipeline itself, but did NOT seriously address the impact of burning the carbon to be made available from the whole Keystone XL project.  This is a fatal flaw…for the State Department and potentially for humanity.

    If you conduct a “cost/benefit” analysis and essentially leave out the most important “costs” for the global environment, it is no wonder that the benefits look attractive!  Such an exercise is both flawed and fatal. 

    It is time for the State Department and for the President to recognize that this one cannot be “fiddled.”  Oxidizing the carbon in the Canadian oil sands will commit the U.S. and Canada to a mutual pact of global climatic destruction.  Not only does every American have a responsibility to oppose this horrendously insane (though highly profitable) act, but all global citizens need now to realize that this proposed project needs to be stopped.

    Scientists are now clear on this issue. (See: Climate-Research.TV). President Obama must heed their warnings or accept the awful responsibility of signing the death warrant on the future of humankind.
    T.C. Weiskel
    Harvard Extension School
    http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Susan, green jobs are long term, stay in America jobs?  Tell that to the former workers of Solyndra Solar and Evergreen Solar.

    • nj

      The problems in those cases have less to do with the nature of the business than with the “free-trade” agreements which make it practically impossible to compete with dirt-cheap, third-world labor.

      Restructure these agreements, levy suitable import levies, problem solved.

      Unless we do that, places like China, Indonesia, India will continue to eat our lunch.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I can tell you that refitting my building for geothermal energy would take either immigrant or local labor.  Likewise refitting my windows or sealing up the seams in the building.  Likewise affixing solar panels to the roof or putting up wind turbines where the old town dump used to be.  All that would require lots of local employment.  And would save us tons of money in terms that even the local electric company has guaranteed, by entering contracts to re-fit municipal buildings at virtually no cost because they can predict that far less energy will be called for in future.  They want to be in charge of refitting.

    • Anonymous

      Once wind turbines, solar installations, wave power systems — are installed and producing power, all those jobs are guaranteed to stay local.  The profits from the power produced stays local, too.  Renewable energy is here to stay as long as the earth exists.  And they burn zero fuel and produce no pollution.

      The amount of water pollution from the processing the tar sands in staggering.  It will take lots of natural gas to heat the water need to even get the tar separated from the sands, and that gas has to be fracked out of the ground, which uses even more water and causes it’s own pollution.

      Neil

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Bad management has killed almost all failed companies!  Executives get $Millions to do it!!

  • Dave

    Tom, your Canadian oil industry rep. sets up a false choice:  either we get our oil from Canada, or we get it from unfriendly sources in the middle east.   What we really need to do is get off of our oil dependence entirely.  The US is like a herion addict always looking for the next supplier.  Let’s move forward with new cleaner sources of energy.  We’ve been having this same argument since the 1970′s.  Time to move on.

  • Jeanne

    Watch the movie Carbon Nation. As the opening speaker says, “We don’t have a solution to cure Alzheimers or Parkinson’s Disease, but we do have solutions to climate change.” That is what frustrates me no end. Every day I read about promising new technologies for clean, renewable energy. And yet the politicians continue to cling to oil and dirty coal. They need to wake up and understand that those things are antiquated. They are not our future. The US has been a bold and innovative country in the past. Now we are stuck in the past, held hostage to the coal and oil companies. We are going to let China and India take over as economic leaders because they are developing wind, solar, etc. Our politicians need to take their heads out of the sand (tar sand and otherwise!).

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Promising new technologies–that’s the point.  It’s tomorrow.  How am I going to drive to work today?

      • Jeanne

        You are correct – we can’t immediately go off oil. But the alternative energies are ramping up faster and faster. I have read that in about 2 years the price of solar will be on a par with coal powered electricity. The point is that we need to start moving away from oil as quickly as possible, not keep trying to find every last drop. After all, once oil is gone, we will have no choice but to find alternatives, so why not do it now instead of later. If we had paid more attention to Jimmy Carter’s attempts to get us off oil instead of ridiculing him, we would be way ahead in the game right now.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          I agree with you.  I just have to drive to work later today.  I have to be able to afford the vehicle and its fuel.  We can’t get to the beautiful future if we drive ordinary citizens out of work today.

        • JustSo

          Its far worse than that, because as oil prices go up it will become increasingly expensive to construct an alternative energy infrastructure. They too are built upon oil.

      • nj

        How will you (we) drive to work when gas is $6/gallon. $10? $15?

        At what point will it become clear to people that driving long distances for work, shipping food from afar, living in energy efficient houses is not sustainable?

        There will be no magic, fairy-dust technology that will take the place of oil that will enable us to maintain our current energy-intensive lifestyle/infrastructure.

    • JustSo

      Letting China and India take over is a plan. The plutocracy has most of their investment capital risk over there, not here. Anything that benefits China is a good thing for Wall St. investors.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Go, Susan Casey-Lefkowitz.  Run, Susan, Run.

  • JMc

    maybe the guest could show support by building his next home by a tar sand refinery

  • margaret/omaha

    It is a second pipeline running parallel with planned extensions. Why does no one mention this,,,,,,,

  • Modavations

    Shell spent 5 years and 4 billion dollars to open a field off Alaska, where there are 27 billion barrels.The four Democrats on the EPA panel said that an indian village,75 miles from the site may be affected by diesel fumes from ice breakers.Shell was forced to walk away.One lady on the panel isKathie Stein,an activist lawyer for the environmental Defense Fund.

    • nj

      Citations? Sources? Links?

      • Modavations

        You’re lazy.Google Shell oil,Beauford Bay.I’ll await your appology

        • nj

          You’ll be waiting a long time. It’s not up to me to prove your incoherent, simplistic rants. Especially with your factually challenged posting history.

          • Modavations

            Do you know the term “ripost”?Every time my rapier hits home,i’m called a name.

          • nj

            You’re welcome to your delusions about your “rapier,” but when you make assertions in a public forum, the onus is on you to back them up, especially with your dubious posting history.

            That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. (Thanks to Chris Hitchens.)

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Since we’re discussing running this pipeline across our Corn Belt, we ought to add the possibility of making ethanol from that corn.  That’s one alternative to oil that would work now.

    • nj

      That “possibility” is stupid.

      Using productive cropland for non-food production underutilizes that land. Corn is among the least efficient feed stocks for biofuel.Corn requires significant pesticide use.
      Energy return on energy input is poor for corn-based ethanol.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Stupid?  Show me an electric car that I can buy (and afford) right now that will do the job that mine will do.  Until then, it’s not stupid.

        • nj

          Oil is a unique substance that allowed/fueled the stuff we have that we take for granted.

          Why do you think you (we) are entitled to cars that “do the job” they do now?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        There are better crops for biofuels!

    • Anonymous

      Ethanol from corn is highly inefficient, just as the tar sands are.  Corn requires a LOT of fertilizer, pesticides, diesel fuel, and other energy inputs that make it a net loss.

      Tar sands are an admission that we have passed peak oil.  Oil will run out and it will continue to ruin our world’s environment.  We cannot just use all the carbon energy we can find, as quickly as we can — this is simply wrong.

      We must transition to the abundant, virtually infinite renewable energy sources as quickly as possible.

      Neil

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        I will make the transition when I can do it, but I can’t afford what’s available right now.  How am I supposed to live until the golden future?

        • Anonymous

          The true costs of burning oil and coal and gas (and nuclear fission for that matter) are way beyond what we pay for them, in money.

          We cannot pay enough to make up for the true costs for these finite energy sources.  They are far more valuable than the cash/money we pay for them.

          Greg, you are right that we will all pay dearly — but we cannot afford to *not* transition to renewable energy.  For many reasons, truly renewable energy will be the only energy that be here as long as the earth exists.

          Sincerely, Neil

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Neil, Are you in that business?  Have, or know anyone that have money to invest in start-ups, and companies that will cross over to re-newable and sensible energies?

          • Anonymous

            Terry,

            I am not in the energy business, but I am designing and I am going to start building a very efficient electric car, called CarBEN EV; that should be able to go 300-400 miles on a single charge.  Here’s my latest blog entry on the CarBEN EV:

            http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/2011/03/carben-ev-open-source-project-part-4.html

            I will hopefully be cutting the first pieces of the first full size working prototype this weekend.

            Neil

  • Randykay1

    While I’d/we’d like to believe that green jobs are a better future than tar sands pipeline jobs, the sad reality is that major green solar companies in CA (that the President touted) and  MA just closed their doors. To state that Green jobs are the only jobs in the future is ignoring current reality. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Who is saying that only green jobs are the only jobs in the future?  Green jobs are the ONLY jobs that will insure a future, with less health-risk, lower cost, less pollution, less terrorist risk, less danger, and a lot more benefits!

  • ST

    None of us specifically know the future, and that fact is
    being used as cover for reckless behavior by fossil fuel use advocates. Going
    forward with this pipeline creates an even higher probability that we and our
    children and grandchildren will have to attempt survival in a sickened and
    painful environment.

  • Nancy

    So many billions of dollars to build this highly damaging project.  This is the year 2011. Why are we not using  billions to construct wind turbines and concentrated solar projects across the country? 

    Green jobs now!

  • Rorytn

    Why does it need to go all the way to the gulf? Compromise?

    • JMc

      most refineries are on the gulf

  • Daniel Koopman

    I am somewhat indifferent towards this issue, HOWEVER, it is interesting that TOM refers to “THE” climate throughout this piece as opposed to “OUR” climate. I realize that he is trying to remain neutral to the two sides, but really, climate is not some inanimate “thing” that is being affected – it is “OUR” climate that “WE” all have to live with. I think that if we change this perception in the argument, it may turn the tide against this project…

  • BHA in Vermont

    Why aren’t the Tea Partiers throwing a fit? No new oil ‘revenue’, cut oil ‘spending’

  • Modavations

    I laugh at that commercial by Mr.Maddow on MSNBC.It’s about building Hoover Dams, to put people back to work.It would take about 3 seconds before Ms.Stein would find a wayward bug and litigate.

    • Bridget

      “Mr.” Maddow?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Sadly, that is true.  Any source of energy will have costs.  The key is to ask which kind harms the least, unless we want to return to 1850.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        1850-burning coal and wood for industrial production, in addition to home heating, cooking, locomotives, and so forth?

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          O.K., 1750, or whatever date is environmentally ideal.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Why not an environmentally-friendly-energy FUTURE, soon?

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Again, how do I live until that day?  I accept the science and cause of climate change.  I agree that we must change our ways.  But without sacrificing our modern lives, how do we live while we change?

  • Bridget

    I don’t understand – why were they arrested for protesting?  What happened to freedom of speech?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The pipeline would be considered a huge target for terrorists – who foots the bill to protect it?

  • Anonymous

    The advocate of tar sands on your show appears to have made a very misleading statement about the impact of using tar sands as opposed to conventional oil. Perhaps he was just carefully picking his statistics when he claimed that it was only 6% worse (I forget his exact metric) than the average barrel of oil. However, in the metric that counts, the amount of carbon dioxide released per barrel, tar sand oil is 2-3 times worse than conventional sources (http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3839).

    • Jeromy

      Seems insane to continue to invest so much money in oil considering no mater what advancement in refining or technology we make it will never be renewable or safe for the envierment!!

      The world is failing!! Mankind is failing!! And we fight and debate over every thing and do nothing that will truly benefit anyone.

      If there is anyone to look back on what was done during this time of need they will only read about aragent men fighting over greed and power!

  • Democracy

    Why isn’t the American public being consulted on this? Can we have some sort of a national referendum on this?

    The President needs to make a decision on this based on the American public’s will and wishes.

    • Jeanne

      Right. And that’s why everyone who is opposed should be calling the White House comment line at 202 456-1111 and expressing their opinion.

    • Cabmanjohnny

      You’re ( American public) not being consulted because you have no say or power in such plans. The ( any) president is advised by donors on their wishes. Public will is easily divided into being ineffectual.

  • Modavations

    The EPA is so out of line ,even Pres.Obama banned them, last week, from enacting their Clean Air provisions.And give me back my frigging,100watt lt.bulbs

    • JustSo
      • Anonymous

        Your expectation that this fool would be affected by facts is touching. 

        • JustSo

          Its not for him, but for the truth. It proves that he is spamming blatant lies.

    • Iowan

      LOL.   What a misunderstood statement.  The “lightbulb” law simply set energy standards, not a format.  It’s a Bachman gone overdrive myth that you can’t buy incandescent bulbs.  We have energy standards on autos and most appliances.  Join in the effort to save resources for our kids future.

      • Modavations

        Bull!!!!!!!!100 watt bulbs are banned.Edison is spinning in his grave

        • nj

          And Modavations is just spinning. 

      • Modavations

        Nonsense.Let the scientists invent the efficencies.P.Erhlich(?)of the Population Bomb, said we’d run out of food 30 years ago.The scientists came up with the “hybrid”.By the way,the guy still has a job and is a high priest of the left

      • Modavations

        100 watt bulbs are banned in 2012 and 40 watts by 2014

        • nj

          Nothing has been “banned.”

          Incandescent bulbs must meet energy efficiency thresholds.

    • AC

      but those bulbs require 5x the amount of coal to run? so expensive and wasteful!! Why would you want them? Do you think they should go back to using asbestos as insulation too? Some times, it’s time to move on. People don’t take turpentine to soothe a sore throat anymore either….

      • Modavations

        If you break a curly cue bulb, the Maine EPA expects you to call in a Hazmat team!!!!Furthermore,they don’t throw off enough light.Furthermore,only totalitarians would tell me which innocuous light I can or can not use.I thought your side was “Choice,choice,choice”

        • AC

          some choices are just old-fashioned. & it’s a question of efficiency; you’ll get more out of the ‘curly-cue’ bulb with a fraction of the waste, even tho the waste is more toxic…..

          • Ellen Dibble

            They are improving those curly-cue light bulbs.  Now I see them advertised as mercury-free, some of them anyway.

          • Modavations

            Free men demand choice.Let the market rule.The govt. didn’t mandate the Prius.People wanted them

          • nj

            And smart men (and women) demand choices that don’t create unnecessary harm to others or the environment.

            We don’t have a choice to use gasoline with lead.

            We don’t have a choice to use wood treated with arsenic.

            We don’t have a choice to ignore traffic signals.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Choice-LED lights.  Growing market share!

      • AC

        i think i might have lied here….i think meth addicts do still take turpentine….not sure

    • Terry Tree Tree

      President Obama didn’t enable that act, because there is a scheduled review, or something like it soon!
          With your money, you should have already bought your incandescent light bulbs!   You still can buy a few million!

      • Modavations

        In all seriousness I have 70 stashed.Again,I can’t see with the new bulbs.

        • nj

          You can’t see with a 100-watt equivalent CFL? What are you using, sodium-vapor lights?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Can’t use one in a reading lamp, myself.  Buzzing is too annoying.  Keep the faith, I’ve read they are working on a much more efficient incandescent!

  • Frank

    I live in Nebraska and I’d prefer that Keystone keeps their tar sands rather than creating tar sands in my state. 

    When the pipeline fails we can’t count on the fail-safes from destroying the largest fresh water reserve in the world. 

  • Af_whigs

    What irks me is that we have been at the mercy of the oil industry since Katrina was used as a ploy to let gas prices skyrocket.  Since then the oil companies have been recording record profits on the backs of the American people. 

    This pipeline will damage the environment and put more money into the pockets of Big Oil, but it will ultimately do nothing to relieve gas prices for financially hard-pressed US consumers. 

  • Tracy

    Why don’t they build a refinery in Montana or Alberta? Wouldn’t that be cheaper and safer?

  • Anonymous

    1- Ms. Casey-Lefkowitz observed that prices are not that elastic, since OPEC tends to simply limit their production to offset new sources. So if adding this new North American source leaves prices stable, but shifts sourcing of some world supply to N.A., wouldn’t that be good? 

    2- We’ve seen what happens to the best laid plans of mice and men – in the Exxon Valdez case, the Japan nuclear plants, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and on and on.  Do we really want that kind of risk to the Ogallalla Aquifer?  If we think high oil prices put a crimp in our lifestyle what would losing that water supply do to us?

    3- Has State Dept (or anyone) considered the alternative plan of constructing a heavy petro distillery nearer to the Canadian source?  Maybe near the Great Lakes?  Besides reducing environmental risk factors and reducing transmission costs, Wouldn’t that also work to constrain this new American energy source to sale in American markets?

  • Modavations

    19 companies wanted to put solar panels and wind mills in the Mojave Desert.The frigging desert!!!Ms.Feinstein said,no way,there’s an endangered Tortoise.The BLM said bull!!!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

      Ms. Feinstein ed ux are vested politicians, and zionists who use America’s thirst for oil as a pretext to serve Israels goals.  

      FYI Oil was $20 a barrel ten years ago.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        If you’re going to be offensive and anti-Semitic, back it up with facts.

        • Modavations

          He’sprobably part of the.mob in S.Francisco that is trying to ban circumcision(?)

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

          Oh here we go… the last desperate defense of a zionst…ANTI-SEMITISM !!!!!!!

          Sorry Greg…. I like jewish people. I do not like what Israel and its lobby has done to the USA and Europe. 

          And I already gave you the facts here.   oil was $20 a barrel before 9/11.   One would think Diane would support solar.  But Diane would rather see US and European troops dying in the Middle East to protect Israel, under the pretext of terrorist boggymen and need for oil.  Go check out the facts…. its all over the web…. or you just trust the New Yorker and Washington Post ??    LOL

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            I’m not arguing the price.  I object to your claims about “Zionist” politicians who only serve Israel’s interests.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            The facts that I was asking for was support for your assertion that our politicians are in the pocket of Israel.  Don’t tell me that they are friendly to Israel.  Many of us are.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            You’re joking right ??     You’ve heard of AIPAC ???   It is the most powerfull lobby in the US.   You may have heard that 80 more congressmen made their indoctrination visit to Israel this summer ??

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Yes, I know about it.  Politicians raise money.  That’s old news.  They serve money.  They visit many countries around the world.  Don’t leap to conclusions that aren’t warranted by the facts.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            LOL   No need to “leap”.  Standing in place will do.

      • Modavations

        Oil is bought in dollars and dollars are worthless.Firm the dollar and viola $20.00 oil.

  • Anonymous

    Pipeline seems bad strategically. Everytime there is a hurricane they justify raising gas prices because the oil refineries are in the Gulf… hmm can you say bad idea?

  • JMc

    offshore refineries were built “state of the art” with “industry experts”

  • Iowan

    Why can’t they get it approved in Canada if the company is so good at building pipelines?

  • BHA in Vermont

    Is this a double wall pipe? The one under the Colorado River wasn’t and look at the mess it made. Impossible to clean up.
    Oil tankers have to be double hull.

    Where is the built in safety margin?

  • Modavations

    All the Mideast wars are because the Dems.refuse to let us get our own oil.The Dems. make us depend on Nigeria and Bolivia,etc,. who know nothing about clean drilling.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

      All the Mideast war are about Israel’s expansion.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Right, because Israel’s been gaining territory in recent years.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Is there such a thing as clean drilling?  Recall the spill last year in our backyard…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

      Oil was less than $20 a barrel before Smirking Chimp caved into the cabal of neocons to attack the Middle East.

  • litekeep

    Listening to this issue.  If the pipe were ABOVE ground, so that it could be seen, so that if a leak occurred, it could be caught, I might accept that.  But, placing the pipe below ground is a terrible idea.  Look at what happened on the Yellowstone River in MT this summer.  100,000 gallons spilled before anyone even knew there was a problem.  What happens if there is a slow leak.  One that doesn’t set off alarms?  It plumes into the ground water because the pipe is in the ground.  It just doesn’t make sense to risk the ground water.  Oil companies don’t care.  They only worry about the bottom line…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Last caller was correct.    One cannot trust anything these oil companies say.   There will be disasters, natural and man-made, no matter how state of the art.

    • Modavations

      These co.s are the most effecient in the world .They employ hundreds of thousands of people,all making 60,0000-150,000.00 per annum.One chief was on C-Span last year, saying he employed the top scientists in the cosmos and that if the green technologies were viable,he’d be working them

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Efficient? At what?  Spilling oil?  Polluting?  Buying politicians and despot dictators?  Lobbying to pollute?

        • Modavations

          America is the most effecient country in the world.Occasionally,Switzerland wins the award.I am not a Luddite.I quit camping out because there’s no room service

          • nj

            Not that it will produce a coherent answer, but, again, efficient at what? Measured how?

  • Judy

    Please note that two unions, The Transport Workers Union and the Amalgamated Transit Union have changed their opinion.  They no longer support the building of this pipeline and have made a statement in opposition.  Gulf Coast refiners in their presentation to investors say they plan to refine the cheap Canadian crude into diesel and other products for export to Europe and Latin America.  Proceeds for tKeystone XL found that decreasing demand through fuel efficiency is the only way to reduce mid-east oil imports with or without the pipeline.  According to TransCanada data just 11% of construction jobs for the XL I pipeline were filled by local residents, and most of them were temporary, low paying manual labor.  Others are imported from elsewhere.  TransCanada predicted projected their XL I pipeline would leak once every 7 years, in fact their have been 12 spills in one year.  US required digging up parts of that pipeline and found defective steel, produced in India, the same company that would provide pipe for thie Keystone XL Pipeline.  Judy Allen

  • BHA in Vermont

    Aquifers aren’t big pools of water. OK, I can take that. But leaking oil will get mixed in with the aquifer whether it is a big pool or not.

    Non answer to a really pertinent concern.

  • JMc

    i would challenge the guest to go take a sip of the water at Texas City and see if it is risk free

  • no name

    typical of government radio; a professional spin artist to voice the oil industry’s spin. Someone who can’t even speak in complete sentence fragments to voice the concerns of those who caare aabout the environment.  and even at that, she remains silent during most of the conversation.

    Great!!!

  • Modavations

    Even though we are sitting on a giant nuclear reactor(earth’s core,etc,.),the Dems say Nyet to new reactors

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You live in Fukushima?

      • Modavations

        I don’t think it prudent to build in earthquake zones,or tsunami zones.How many years have Euro.plants operated san difficulty

        • Terry Tree Tree

          One in Virginia took some damage from D.C. quake.  Final appraisal not in on TVA nukes.    They build Diablo Canyon on a fault zone!

  • Cabmanjohnny

    I’m reading some good arguments against this project here but of course such thoughts make no difference. Nor the protest for which an advanced police state is prepared. Construction deals have been made, lots of oil and bankster money is going to be invested in this, as it always has in transportation use oil extraction lunacy. The “jobs” aspect will tip the public perspective to pro. Not to mention having fuel for pleasure boats, 300 HP cars, jet skis, ATVs, monster trucks, and single car commuting no matter what the cost or impact. Some of you people expect logic, climate science, or reason to prevail in opposing this pipeline? This is end of empire, the only plans made will be just those to keep the same old system going.

  • margaret/omaha, ne

    Perhaps a look at these pipelines that already exist

     http://www.crude-pipelines.com/image/CRUDE_WEBPAGE3.jpg

    • JustSo

      Excellent!

      If So…Then why build another one? I think its a money pipeline filled by the taxpayer.

  • JMc

    it all comes down to money, risk the entire country to save what oil companies will make in one quarter

  • Rex

    How much would this pipeline cost compared to building the new refinery?  Again, it’s always about the money. Cheap now, but we will pay later.

  • Modavations

    Solyendra,run by a Dem.fund raiser,Herr Kaiser, just went bankrupt and cost us 500million.He had regulations waived and e-mails have disappered.We have our own bankrupt solar co. in Ma.,that cost the tax payers 50million

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The concept sure looked good in Popular Science!  Another bad investment by our government!   Like Nuclear Fussion, always just 25 years from producing cheap power, for the last sixty years!  Now much have we ‘invested’ in that?   WAY too many examples of fraud and abuse, by BOTH parties!!

      • Modavations

        What do they do well?.Even the P.Office is defunct.Amtrak subsidizes the Ca.to Chicago train, to the tune of $400.00 per rider.Why don’t they just buy the patrons jet tickets

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Manhattan Project, Agricultural Extension, Intercontinental Railroad, Space Exploration, Communication Satellites, LORAN, GPS, and a HOST of others. 
          But , also,  Definitely too many expensive failures to suit me!

      • Modavations

        I’m a libertarian from the Term Limit party

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Saw a NY Times article that said that prices have dropped 25% in since the time that Solyendra was started.  That’s quite a price-drop!  Most businesses plan to operate on a margin smaller than that!

  • BHA in Vermont

    Billions spent to upgrade the Gulf refineries to “allow them to process heavier crude”.

    OK, so build one in Canada SPECIFICALLY designed to process heavy crude. It will be more efficient AND the Canadians can run their own lives rather than cowing to the US oil companies. Refined products are more profitable than crude.

    Let the refineries in the gulf process better quality stuff if they aren’t getting enough low grade oil, they are capable.

  • Modavations

    I’m in Europe all the time and they have clean diesel Audis,Toyotas,Vw’s that get 45 mpg.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Amazing, isn’t it, that U.S. auto industry keeps claiming to be improving fuel mileage, while advertizing HORSE POWER??

      • JELB

        If we urbanites were now designing a transportation system, would we design expensive, environment polluting vehicles weighting 1 or 2 tons that have 100 to 500 HP internal combustion engines that require costly, scarce resource energy supplies to operate or would we build minimal cost, light, safe, low energy consumption, easily replaceable or fixable vehicles? How many new cars can the world take and for how long? Electric bikes anyone?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Tried one at Earth Fair, was GREAT for the short demo ride I took.  Didn’t have time to test range.  Not enough work for months, for me to afford it.  Will keep it in mind for when the Republicans FINALLY keep their word about creating jobs.

  • Modavations

    Remember the earthquake in Wash.D.C.Any minute now an environmentalist will say it’s the Frigging Fracking

    • Terry Tree Tree

      WOW!  Moda, you’re an environmentalist?  THANK YOU FOR MENTIONING IT!  It is a slim possibility that it could have influenced the earthquake!!

      • Ellen Dibble

        I read in one of these threads someone postulating (or knowing) that melting polar ice is changing the gravitational center of the earth, or magnetic center, something like that.  Think of tinkering with a gyroscope.  Hence the volcanic and earthquake activity.  I don’t take that as gospel, but I’m waiting to hear.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Unlikely.  The magnetic field is generated in the core, and the weight of rock is far greater than the weight of water ice.  Besides, the ice has grown and shrunk many times–think of the ice ages.

          • Ellen Dibble

            I believe there were earthquakes and volcanoes in the past as well.  Never underestimate the effect of a “slight” shift in weight. Think of that gyroscope.  Put a butterfly on one wing of it, and its spin is totally different.  I don’t think it takes a whole lot of disruption to cause the great earth guts to rumble.  As I say, I’m waiting to hear.

        • Anonymous

          The hugely thick Antarctic ice cap is what raises the sea level of the southern hemisphere relative to the northern hemisphere.  The earth’s spin causes the diameter of the equator to be greater than the other diameters (look up oblate spheroid), but then the Antarctic ice adds to the gravitational pull and this moves the ocean water to affect the shape, as well.

          Given that the science of plate tectonics is younger than climate change, we can only surmise that it is a very complicated situation, and time will tell.

          If the Antarctic ice melts, then about 100 years or so after that, the ocean level of the northern hemisphere will rise to a greater extent than the southern hemisphere.  The law of gravity like all forces of nature, will hold sway.

          Neil

          • Ellen Dibble

            Thank you!

      • Modavations

        Told You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I can’t argue with that!

  • Josh in RI

    This is alot like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  Why are we building this infrastructure, when we should be transitioning to a post oil future all together? Peak production has already been reached by just about every developed country in the world, and the demand by developing economies sunch as India, China and Brazil coupled with the US are causing us already to be consuming more than we can supply.  This is literally a drop in the bucket.  The corporations arleady know all of this, they are just trying to keep the charade going for as long as possible.

  • Iowan

    Would rather hire the workers to fix national parks, state road systems (including bridges), and inner city housing, etc. than any large scale pipeline.  Add to that electrical power lines for entrepreneurs to connect clean electrical resources to such as hydro-electric, solar, wind, and geo-thermal.  Best bet for the next 50 plus years.

    • Anonymous

      Renewable energy is here for the next billion years, or so.

      Neil

  • Eneida

    The Transportation Safety Board of Canada reports that 100 different incidents and accidents are logged over the past 2 years.  Documentation indicates that TransCanada and Enbridge are responsible with TransCanada responsible for 3/4 of the reported cases; this includes 21 incidents on their new multibillion-dollar Keystone pipeline. There is spillage of crude oil and/or natural gas due to loose pipes, vibrations, thermal expansion ,etc. One major investigation is ongoing.  We need to protect our planet from the release of carbon dioxide now by saying no to this venture.

  • Hale Anderson

    Our first action is to understand that the proposed XL pipeline will not ‘relieve’ America’s energy needs! – The issue is environmental protection – the pro argument for the pipeline pull out the same tired, rhetoric about jobs – dirty jobs – energy required to refine 135 billion barrels of dirty Tar Sands will release four times the CO2 than so-called ‘clean’ oil refining produces.

  • Hale Anderson

    The primary assumption that we need more oil is false – the Keystone XL pipeline perpetuates the dysfunctional, short-term oil habit – jobs estimates of 20,000 are wildly convoluted – jobs created in America must be clean energy jobs – the pipe line simply stalls the inevitable and necessary transition to clean energy.

  • Sydney

    Visible from space: If you look at all of Canada AND the US from Google maps satellite image, you can pick out the tar sands without any closer magnification – and this is the beginning of the supply? This destruction for an exaggerated 20,000 temporary jobs?  (btw – the US Post Office has plans to layoff 120,000 workers.)

    • AC

      bank of america 30,000

  • Hale Anderson

    Current discussion ON POINT = Keystone Xl Pipeline – environmental damage done would rip out a forest in Canada the size of Florida – that would rob us permanently of a huge amount of oxygen - 

  • Dave in CT
  • Modavations

    Rachel Carson ,using specious science,had DDT banned.5 million sub saharan africans ,promptly died of Malaria

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Specious science?  The bald eagle was going extinct.

      • Modavations

        First off it was about thinning egg shells and it was poppycock..Secondly only a Dem. would worry about a bird and blow off 5 million innocent africans

        • Redherring111

          Another post from Modivations’ parallel universe where facts aren’t things to worry about.

          Nixon’s EPA banned most uses of DDT in 1972. Some public-health uses were exempted. Last time i checked Nixon wasn’t a Democrat.

          Agricultural use in most other developed countries was banned through the 70s and 80s. Vector-control use was never banned, but DDT has been replaced by other, less persistent insecticides.

          • Modavations

            Specious science.DDT,or a derivative, is once again used everywhere

          • Modavations

            And the party of Rachael C.was…………

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I noticed you did NOT answer Ellen, whos statement was first, and answered this.

          • Modavations

            50 kazillion people were raised on DDT sprayed veggies ,with no ill effects.My mother and her palettes smoked butts while they breast fed us and none of the  kids that got cancer.Stop wringing your hands all the time.

          • Anonymous

            Heard that causes brain damage that manifests itself as adult ADHD after period of latency.  

          • Ellen Dibble

            One of the self-defeating things about the toxins in our environment is that you can imagine those who cause the problems don’t want to be tagged as causing it.  Do you remember the decades it took to tie tobacco to lung cancer?  
                With the pesticides that go on veggies, there are other problems besides cancer.  In a way, cancer it the tip of an iceberg where the tip of the iceberg can be seen and addressed.  But for other problems, there is no specialty like “oncology” to address it.  Call it environmental illness, EI.  Actually that is a condition, and there are doctors who address it, and it is less often due to one thing, more often a lot of things.  Call it the overflowing the barrel effect.  The last straw effect.  Someone may have been exposed to a lot of DDT on farms as a child, and was okay with it, but when that person starts to wear a lot of makeup as a teenager, something about the combination of new hormones plus the added chemicals might overflows that barrel, and the immune system suddenly isn’t up for anything any more, maybe permanently so.  It can’t fight off viruses, maybe can’t mount a fever to ward off bacteria, maybe has an immune system that is so overwhelmed that it becomes allergic to everything it encounters, and to things never before encountered. It becomes dysfunctional, not because of one piece of the environmental onslaught, but because of the combination.  Do you think insurers want to pay for something close to untreatable, something close to impossible to pin the blame on any specific trigger?  Nope.  Try a lot of denial instead.  We can back away from that and save tons of health care money, create much more productive citizens.

          • Modavations

            Dear Ellen ,women live to 82 and men 78.I like you lady,but I can’t read long screeds

          • Ellen Dibble

            I know, you told me yesterday.  I write some short pieces just for you.  I hope you’re not where I was at about 20 years ago when my brain could take in the funny papers but not much more.  

          • Modavations

            Be nice Ellen.Believe it or not,I’m watching your back.I’m 60

          • Ellen Dibble

            Thank you again.  I need all the watching I can get.

          • Anonymous

            We cannot poison our way to a “clean” world, and we cannot rid ourselves of “pests”.

            Have you heard of super weeds?  Have you heard of bugs that have mutated to be immune to the poisons we throw at them?  This is how evolution works.

            The only way to feed ourselves for another 10,000 years is to go back to the only sustainable way to live: with organic, widely diverse agriculture, that doesn’t depend on oil and gas and fossil water getting pumped up from deep underground.

            Neil

          • Terry Tree Tree

            With Alzheimer’s victims numbers exploding, various cancer numbers increasing, and a plethora of other diseases wildly increasing, who can say that DDT wasn’t a contributing factor?

    • Ellen Dibble

      I know people still alive who are permanently disabled from DDT, their physical resilience squelched or worse.  The effects do not only affect bald eagles, whether or not scientists have nailed the exact biochemistry of it.

    • nj

      The troll is on a roll today.

      Erasing any remaining trace of credibility, Mr/Ms Modivations offers, “Rachel Carson…had DDT banned.”Carson never argued for a total ban of DDT, but for careful use.

      Complicated issues seem to be a challenge for some.

  • Omaha Joe

    Proponents are reticent to admit that a more likely reason the Sandhills route is preferred… lower population density with (they hope) less publicity; fewer people to pay off… Obviously the path of least resistance.  Unfortunately, big oil and big money usually have their way.  If you don’t like this project – the Pebble Mine/Bristol Bay is another one that needs public scrutiny.

  • Kiran

    It is not true that a new refinery will cost $10 billion. There are so many refineries in the Middle east that range from $200 million to $500 million which are bigger refineries. Your client either is misinformed or should do further research. What your client said is totally incorrect!

  • David

    Given that there’s NO assurance, much less a guarantee, that any of the oil derived from the pipeline will be sold to Americans (and not the highest world bidder), I say let the Canadians build their own refineries.  My thinking is similar to my reaction to giving tax breaks to the so-called “job creators,” as Republicans like to call big corporations.  Yes, give job creators a tax break FOR EVERY JOB THAT IS CREATED HERE ON AMERICA SOIL AND AFTER AN ACTUAL JOB HAS EXISTED HERE FOR A YEAR.  Similarly, agree to the pipeline only if a substantial percentage of the refined oil is required to wind up in American furnaces, airplanes, cars and the like.

  • Dave in CT

    Austrian Economics versus Mainstream Economics

    For anyone, including nj, wondering what Ron Paul is talking about, and how it relates to almost all our shows that touch on economic issues, like today’s.

    http://mises.org/media/6446/Austrian-Economics-versus-Mainstream-Economics

    • Dave in CT

      Time for healthy deflation.

    • nj

      I’m fine with talking about Paul or anything else, but this is way tangential to the pipeline which is the subject at hand.

    • Modavations

      Mr NJ thinks he’s our official censor.NJ mix it up a bit:try cretin,neanderthal,troglodyte,misanthrope.You’re lazy lad

  • Ted G

    1. Pulling an ostrich (behaving so we ignore reality) doesn’t change the allocation and economics of oil. We don’t live in an ideal world. I wish more oil wasn’t necessary; but it is, so let’s make the best of it.

    2. I suspect  but cannot prove that human behavior may be contributing to the climate change. We don’t know the eons of earth and the cycles of weather & climate history, so we cannot be “certain” of each decision. We are making an educated, tenative guessimate. Call it what it is. But, that doesn’t change my desire to reduce pollution.
     
    3. I contend we should attempt to decrease/ manage CO2 and other pollutants ’cause it will reduce the pollutants…a worthy objective.  And, hope that it may be the right thing to do and may reduce the symptoms of climate change…but realize it may not.  We cannot live in some dream world!  Less developed countries don’t and will not. We should continue to explore and to implement more efficient methods to produce and to conserve energy and to curtail the addition of pollution to the world atmosphere and earth’s crust.
     
    4. The US requires the importation of oil; that is reality…regardless of whether we want it to or not.  Why not purchase oil from our neighbor, Canada?
     
    5. The change from current petroleum consumption to less petroleum consumption will be gradual; and we need to encourage alterative energy production. But, the decision will be biz / economics / science. It is too important to be left to politicians. When other energy sources cost less than oil, the transition will be seamless.
     
    6. Where do you stand on my position to increase a petroleum / gasoline / nat’l gas tax to provide money to support alternative energy research and to provide money to rebuild and to upgrade the infrastructure of water, roads, canals, railroads, etc.?

    7. While alternative energy methods are developed, we haven’t any choice but to rely on oil, nat’l gas, etc. How about hydro and nukes?  Perhaps, it’s time to revisit those choices? I’m willing to explore anything…I’m not standing on ceremony or past bias.

    8. Oil & oil products are among the most efficient methods to mine, to distribute, and to produce energy. That is physics and chemistry and hasn’t any political message.  Encourage chemistry, physics, engineering, math, and history, geography  study in schools and curb the consumption of trashy wasteful video games, and non-presecription drugs, etc.

    9. To pretend the US can exist without imported oil and imported electricity (from Canada) and ignore energy production / consumption while the developing countries increase their energy consumption is unrealistic…a folly.

    10. We must not handicap ourselves unnecessarily.  We need to cooperate and work together with our Northern neighbors and help one another.  I do not want to let other nations take over our leadership role in biz and in politics.  We may be recovering from decades of “bad decisions,” but  I believe we are still the ”Beacon of Freedom,” and the must behave responsibly and keep ourselves strong as we seek to revolutionize the production and the management of energy.

    11. If the US doesn’t purchase the Canadian oil, Canada will sell it to others and it will be shipped overseas…increasing the risk of damage to the ocean, etc. and helping to support our competitiors. Do we really want to encourage Canada to cater to our former allies?

    12. The US may continue to import oil from our “traditional” (that quotation marks means my intention is to be factitous) allies from Africa, Mexico, Venezula, etc. and directly support our economic and political enemies.  I would prefer not to do that.  I prefer to exchange business with friends such as Canada. If we both prosper, we all benefit.

    13. Yes, the movement of oil entails risk. But, not importing oil also entails risk. We cannot escape risk, but we can manage it…to our advantage and to the advantage of the world.

    14. Maintain a sense of humor…we are discussing this primarily for the benefit of our future generations.  Exercise the golden rule.  Don’t let temporary setbacks discourage your drive and long-term objectives.  Be polite …even when “your know he/ she is wrong.” They’ll eventually come around.

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain quotes (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” Mark Twain quotes (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)

    • Anonymous

      Tar sands oil is proof of peak oil — and that should be worrying to anybody who thinks we “have” to have as much oil as we want, and that we have a “right” to use it as quickly as we want to.

      Oil is finite.

      Coal is finite.

      Natural gas (methane from underground sources) is finite.

      Uranium is finite.

      So why do we humans of this particular generation — think somehow that we can use up these finite resources as quickly as we want to?

      Renewable energy all come either from the sun — solar, wind, wave, biofuel; or from the earth’s core — geothermal; or from the moon’s gravity — in the case of tidal energy.  And all of these will be here as long as the earth is here — scientists estimate about a billion more years.

      There is a huge abundance of renewable energy, all around us.  It is available in an excess — we only need to gather a tiny fraction of it, to more than meet all our needs.

      And none of these energy sources cause any pollution, and none cause global climate change, and no one has to pay another country to get them.  No one can control these energy sources.  They are there all over the world, and nobody can dominate them.

      So, here’s where we are at:

      We have burned up a huge amount of these finite energy sources in a very brief period of time, leaving very little for all the generations of humans to come.

      We have caused global climate change, that is an unavoidable result of releasing the carbon from millions and millions of years back into the atmosphere in about a century.

      We have also caused myriad of more localized damage to the earth we depend on to live.

      Oil is running out.

      Coal is running out.

      Natural gas is running out.

      Uranium is running out.

      A “growth” economy is by definition going to end.  It cannot continue to grow forever, even if we humans figure out how to limit ourselves to ~7 billion.

      The inevitable conclusion is that the *only* thing we can do is use renewable energy, if we want to continue to live as we are, here on this earth.  This has been a hard lesson, and we had better pay attention.

      Sincerely, Neil

      • nj

        I was with you right up until, “The inevitable conclusion is that the *only* thing we can do is use renewable energy,…”

        It’s but one of the things we can (should, have to) to.

        It’s just not possible to substitute “renewable” sources for all our current fossil fuel use. 

        We cannot expect to live the same kind of lifestyles; support the current, hugely inefficient settlement, food and materials distribution patterns, and maintain the same level of mobility by mere adoption of “renewables.”

        The reasons for this are many. “Renewables” are not nearly as energy dense or productive—per area, per invested dollar—to power the system that we have built using relatively cheap, highly concentrated petroleum.

        And “renewables” are only renewable to a point (which is why i keep putting it in quotes. As one example, the known reserves of certain raw materials necessary for photovoltaic panels are limited, and those limits will fairly quickly be reached when/if production is scaled up.

        The short of it is that adopting “renewable” energy technologies will only get us so far. The much harder part will be doing the hard work of restructuring and rebuilding most of what has been built over the last 150 years or so.

        • Anonymous

          It is totally possible to use renewables for all our needs.  The hardest is certainly flying, but biodiesel is coming along fine.

          There is a huge abundance of energy all around us.  And we do not need to “go back to an earlier time” — electricity and the Internet are here to stay.

          Materials for PV panels are recyclable.  The energy to do this can come from … renewable sources.  And we don’t have to sit still — there are going to be new and better ways to gather renewable energy.

          Enough sunlight energy hits the earth in *one hour* to power ALL of human needs for *one year*.  Of course, we cannot gather all of it, so it might take us a week to gather enough energy for the whole year — and that is just solar energy.  Wind power would take about a month to provide enough energy for an entire year.  Wave power might take a month, as well.  Geothermal energy can be drilled.  Tidal power in places like the Bay of Fundy are truly awesome.  Biogas (methane aka natural gas) can be produced from every sewage treatment plant in existence, and from farm waste (plant and animal), too.

          There is way more renewable energy than we could know what to do with.  Energy is the least of our worries.

          Neil

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Photovoltaic by photosynthesis!  Plants do it every day!    Solar Challenger is electric airplane! 
              There are probably substitutes for those limited raw materials!  We won’t know until we try! 
               Energy Efficiency is part of ANY realistic future equation.

      • Ted G

        Neil,
        I agree with your advocay to use renewable energy. I agree that using up petroleum, coal, nat’l gas, uranium, etc. faster than they are created, mined, distributed, and consumed (converted to energy + CO2, etc.) carries risks and cannot last “forever.” I view the oil pipeline as providing a temporary benefit while more advanced, sophisticated, and renewable energy sources are developed..and become more economically competitive as fossil / carbon energy becomes more expensive. I suspect as petro, coal, and Uranium become more expensive the human allocation and distribution of energy will readjust. Other sources and forms of energy to replace those “expensive” forms will gradually or abruptly replace them…including renewables. How about more mixed sources of energy including windmills for some electricity production? Tidal movements to generate hydro created electricity?
        Note: all forms of energy are ultimately solar as the sun provides nearly all the earth’s energy source via many  intermediate steps.
        example: sunlight used by plants which, eventually,  decay and convert to coal & petroleum. We “burn” (aka oxidize / reconvert) carbon / fossil fuels back to their initial forms of CO2, water, + energy released, etc.
        I don’t know exactly what will occur, but how about this for some Aldous Huxley-type science fiction: How about solar concentrators on earth or via satellites (aka collectors & concentrators)  so sunlight might be converted to a laser-like beam and used to heat water directly; to supply concentrated energy to solar panels that generate electricity directly.  Essentially, bypassing intermediate steps such as fossil / carbon consumption. Will mistakes occur…of course, eniviatably. But, some successes, too. One can’t make an omlet without breaking some eggs.
        Although I don’t know what all the consequences might be, I suspect we will succeed without burning up the earth (aka H-bomb annihilation)…so long as suicidal terrorists don’t get the bomb.
        With or without energy our economy will grow and change. Recall the laws of thermodynamics and energy-entrophy. 
        Keep thinking and communicating…I think we’re on parallel (or the same) tracks..just slightly different interpretations (which don’t amount to much). My best, Ted

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    The opponents are making a huge mistake focusing on CO2 emissions.  There may be merits to the aquifer protests but I doubt it.

    This reminds me of the faux protests against Seabrook station in the 70s.  The protesters only managed to delay the project resulting in higher electric costs for ALL and ultimately more coal plants.

    • nj

      More disinformation from The Worried One.

      Here he yammers,[[ The protesters only managed to delay the project… ]]

      If only. I attended a number of the protests. Important symbolically, but the crowds of us at the entrance had zero effect on the actual construction.

      “Virtually all delays in the construction of Seabrook resulted from the EPA’s evaluation of the proposed once-through cooling system.”

      (http://books.google.com/books?id=wwoAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA53&lpg=PA53&dq#v=onepage&q&f=false)

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        Yup, it was the Carter administration (with the support of the protestors) that effectively killed the  nuclear industry which resulted in the advance of coal power generation.  And all this from a President who was a self proclaimed nukUlar engineer (and peanut farmer).

        • nj

          That’s right, when one unsupported, bogus contention of yours is refuted, quickly change subjects and make other unsupported, bogus contentions.

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            LOL.  I’ll happily retract any statement if is in fact refuted.
            You are also forgetting the significant delay caused the numerous legal challenges.  We had the double whammy of high electric rates and tax dollars wasted by the governor on faux evacuation plans and legal challenges.  Thanks Duke!

          • nj

            Still waiting for any evidence that the protesters caused any significant delay.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        No the plant was built but the power company went bankrupt and the second plant was only partially built.  Now we have the highest electric rates in the lower 48 states.  Thanks for that.

    • Anonymous

      Did you not read the above comment? You’re not very well informed are you.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        Huh?  Which comment?

  • Nebraskacitizen

    Get your heads out of the (tar) sand.  Here are a few more realities:

    1.  The Oglalla Aquifer provides 30% of the nation’s groundwater… used for such frivolous things as drinking water and irrigation. If you thought cleaning up the gulf was bad, consider the implications of an aquifer “clean up”.

    2.  The proposed XL pipeline goes directly over the Nebraska Sand Hills, the nation’s largest and most intricate wetlands ecosystem.  It’s an ecoregion.  The Sandhills are a crucial stopping point in the migration of sandhill cranes.  This isn’t “flyover country”, folks.

    3.  The proposed XL would traverse regions with sparse populations, leaving the pipeline an easy target for terrorists and resulting in delayed responses for clean up crews that would have to come from larger towns/cities  hours away.  There are concerns about the steel to be used plus the high pressure of the bitumen.

    4.  Transcanada has already threatened Nebraska ranchers, farmers, and property owners with eminent domain.  That corporate bullying has got to STOP.

    5.  The pipeline that runs along the eastern part of Nebraska has leaked 12 times in ONE year.  Keystone predicted 7 spills in 10 years.  A UNL study predicts 91 spills in 50 years.  Again, this pipeline is proposed to go through the sand hills and over the aquifer.

    6.  Nebraska has no legislation that would require Transcanada to clean up any spills.  

    7.  There is no guarantee that the oil that is being sent to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas will be purchased by the U.S.  To think otherwise is naive.

    8.  Tarsands are dirty and require a huge amount of energy to extract oil from the bitumen.  The claim that “Oil & oil products are among the most efficient methods to mine” is ludicrous.  Here in the heartland, solar, wind, and bio-fuels are readily available. 

    9.  The people opposing the pipeline aren’t all radical hippie environmentalists.  They are citizens who care about their states, their families.  The Farmer’s Union opposes it.  Nebraska’s Governor Heineman (who is particularly conservative) opposes it.   At the very least, MOVE IT so that it doesn’t go over the Aquifer and the Sandhills, and make sure that clean up provisions, spill detection, and pipe standards are in place BEFORE a pipeline is built.  And if it is inevitable, then guarantee that the oil that crosses our nation will be available for purchase.

  • Modavations

    I’ve never saw more private jets on a tarmac, then at the last Cancun Climate Summit.From there they all jetted to Cannes.Poverty Pimps,phoney environmentalists.What a world.I thing the Envir.Def.Fund has 50,000 lawyers.

    • nj

      More of M’s daily, baseless trolling.

      EDF has about 250 people on staff.

      • Modavations

        EDF and Judge Schwartz litigated against Army Corps of Engineers,forbidding them to reenforce the levees prior to Katrina

        • nj

          Source? Citation? Link?

      • Modavations

        I suppose you’ve never heard of Satire

        • Anonymous

          You mean like “Modavations makes some really good points”?

        • nj

          Satire needs to be factually based, otherwise it’s just distortion.

  • Anonymous

    So now the world’s largest oil glutton has a taste only for the light, sweet stuff? This while drilling proceed in one of the planet’s most environmentally sensitive araes, Alaska’s North Slope!?!? This holier-than-thou attitude is why the U.S.A. is so thoroughly disliked around the world. Let the OPECers enact another oil embargo and we’ll happily invade Canada to get at their resources…

  • Nebraskacitizen

    Sand Hill cranes near Long Pine, Nebraska

    • Gregg

      That’s beautiful. Much nicer than the frozen tundra of ANWR. We know the Caribou population exploded after the construction of the Alaska pipeline. The warmth it generates makes them frisky. There are more caribou than ever. Maybe the sand hill cranes will react as the caribou did.

      • nj

        Yeah, it’s one hell of a dump up there!

        http://www.arcticwild.com/arctic/anwr.html

        Despite Greg’s shilling the industry propaganda line, the populations of some caribou herds are declining, in some cases rapidly. And part of the cause is likely climate change from burning the oil that’s being pumped through the pipeline that shills like Greg think help the herds.

        http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/hunting/2010/09/scientists-climate-industry-blame-dramatic-decrease-caribou-population

        According to scientists, the causes of the global caribou decline are straightforward: rapidly rising Arctic temperatures are throwing caribou out of sync with the environment in which they evolved; oil and gas development, mining, logging, and hydropower projects in the Far North are impinging on the caribou’s range; and, though not a major factor, hunting is further depleting already beleaguered caribou populations.http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/eshope/alberta_caribou_herds_could_pe.htmlThe new study entitled “The influences of wolf predation, habitat loss, and human activity on the caribou and moose in the Alberta oil sands” indicates that tar sands development is having a major impact on caribou and could be detrimental to the caribou herd in the tar sands region. As this recent New York Times article on the studysummarizes, “Humans are a much bigger problem than wolves for a caribou herd in the oil sands area of Alberta, Canada.” In other studies, scientists have indicated that if development trends continue, within 30 years the caribou herd on the east side of the Athabasca River could go extinct. While Alberta and Canada like to make claims that they are effectively managing the tar sands, Alberta’s caribou protection plans are so ineffective several Canadian environmental groups have taken the issue to court this month. Alberta’s Lower Athabasca Regional Plan is no different, only protecting 11% of caribou habitat.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Health risks, pollution, oil for Asia, illegal alien workers, aquifer-pollution/dimunition, fracking, near-zero-energy gain, permanent damage to LOTS of land, terrorist risk, accident risk, and so much else going for it, It’ll probably be built!

  • Anonymous

    I love it. Let’s bury a pipeline pumping over 600 gallons a second of toxic waste through a vast auquifer and pretend that there is no such thing as earthquakes capable of shredding this thing like a rhinoceros stepping on a paper cup.  How many new fault lines have been discovered in this past year? Ignoring the power of the mother nature is the pinnacle of hubris and such hubris usually bears with it a huge cost not borne by those who embrace it, but sadly by those who protested against it.

    • Modavations

      Do you prefer endless wars in the Middle East.Do you prefer degredation of poor countries like Nigeria,Bolivia,……..

      • Patrick

        Give me a break.  Of course no one prefers that, but it’s a false dilemma.

        Instead of throwing fallacy bombs, why don’t you give your own position the respect it deserves, and present it as if you had at least some interest in convincing people?

        • nj

          Because that’s not what trolls do.

    • Gregg

      Fair enough but if you believe as I do in the power of mother nature then don’t worry about CO2 causing climate change. 

      • Flowen

        Don’t worry…be happy.

        Sounds like you say that to all the girls!

      • nj

        More anti-rational, anti-science climate denialism.

        What the hell does “believing” in the “power of mother nature mean”?

        Because an earthquake can crush a pipeline, this somehow means that releasing billions of tons of previously sequestered carbon into the atmosphere will have no lasting effects?

        Stunning.

        • Modavations

          I’d reply,but you’d probably snitch me off too.Shame!!!!!!!!

          • nj

            Your lack of a reply is a deep loss for us all, but, somehow, we’ll find a way to get through it.

    • Flowen

      Hubris and arrogance over nature. Right On!

      It’s not just a philosophy, it’s a sickness: blind to reality, driven to growth like cancer.

      As long as our “leaders” continue their hubris, no amount of policy, technology, regulations, or “free markets” are going to change anything.

      Only continuing and accelerating breakdown can force change. Good Luck to All.

  • Pingback: NPR program, On Point: Drawing a Line In the Tar Sands | Ecosophic Turn

  • Patrick

    Alex Pourbaix’s stated position is, “Americans shouldn’t worry about the environment, they should worry about energy security, the economy and jobs.”

    Boiled down to it’s essence, Pourbaix’s statement is “eff that aquifer.”

    Dismissing environmental concerns in this way just produces bad decision making.  The Great Lakes, for example, have been fundamentally altered by the introduction of invasive species like the zebra mussel, in order to accommodate shipping activity that is of insignificant value vs. the economic harm caused by the end of commercial fishing in the same lakes.

    Environmental assets are always undervalued and taken for granted, at our peril.

  • tunnelman

    Even though those in favor of the pipeline got the majority of time on the program, I feel they failed to impress upon the audience of the logic for building this pipeline. They are playing on the fears of jobless and under-employed Americans by dangling a few measly jobs while the involved corporate interests make their excessive profits. 
    Michael Levi tries to play the middle, but ends up sounding like a corporate shill. “The beauty of the Keystone Pipeline…(???)”

  • tunnelman

    Even though those in favor of the pipeline got the majority of time on the program, I feel they failed to impress upon the audience the logic for building this pipeline. They are playing on the fears of jobless and under-employed Americans by dangling a few measly jobs while the involved corporate interests make their excessive profits. Michael Levi tries to play the middle, but ends up sounding like a corporate shill. “The beauty of the Keystone Pipeline…(???)”

  • Mitch Clogg

    The oil industry will not take “no” on any chance for more profit. So let Canada’s oil guys refine that slop, not us, not in the foulest air in the country, Texas’s. Pipelines always leak. That’s the nature of the beast.

    Mitch Clogg
    Mendocino

  • Anonymous

    This is an INSANE project and I do NOT want to be PARTNERS with Canada in destroying the planet! NO,NO, NO!

  • http://www.socialdocumentary.net Glenn Ruga

    Check out these images of the Tar Sands from Garth Lenz–his exhibit “Canada’s Tar Sands and the True Cost of Oil” is now up at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn (opening reception is Saturday, September 10)
    http://socialdocumentary.net/exhibit/Garth_Lenz/1147
     

  • Imarahyman

    So we get to have jobs but our daily wardrobe will be hazmat suits and gas masks.  I’m sure we’ll be eating pellets and drinking filtered water since air, water and soil will be compromised.  When will we decide that clean air, water and undefiled soil are priceless and not ot be exchanged for profits.

  • Erik

    There are many good reasons not to build this pipeline. But the fact is Americans have done nothing to curb our use of oil. And don’t seem interested in starting any time soon. Price spikes on oil and gasoline go back more than ten years but pickup trucks are still Detroits best sellers. Most of us would rather complain about the cost of heating oil to dumping a bag of Americian made wood pellets in a stove once a day. I believe our envirement needs to be protected. But I am also a REALIST. We are much better off buying oil from our neigbhors than from the middle east. We are fighting wars in Iraq, Yemen, and Libya, bribeing governments throughout the region, plus spending hundreds of billions of dollars per year in tax money to protect oil shipments in the Persian Gulf and around the Horn of Africa. THIS IS INSANE!!! As an Iraq Vet I hope the next generation of vets does not have to continue dieing for oil. This insanity needs to end. The pipeline should be built because of this alone. I wish the enviremental groups would help make this the safest pipeline in the world, protect the people that live along its route. Our government needs to make sure the pipeline and the oil benefit Americans. Its a better option than endless wars.    

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Fellow Vet, I haven’t seen news on an environmentally safe pipeline in use yet!  It makes a nice PIPE DREAM!  GREEDY  oil execs won’t do it, it’s more profitable for vets to die for them!

    • Flowen

      Nice analysis, but the same facts and wishes support reasons to not build the pipeline:

      As per everyone, including all statements on the show, the pipeline will have a near term effect of raising prices in America; the long term effect lowering prices is theoretical:more oil in the market means lower prices…a half million barrels daily will have negligible effect. Yet the oil industry and their cheerleaders are falling over themselves to get this deal done.

      In my view, it is simply to extend our addiction to oil. In addition to making lots more money, they are also removing incentives to find alternates to oil…the industry goal is not to increase prices, it is to defend and increase market share, volume…that will be the end result of this pipeline. It will not materially affect our importation of oil, or dependence on all foreign producers. It is an industry lie to claim otherwise.

      Of course this industry is good at lying: the 20,000 direct jobs and 100,000 in-direct jobs are figments of their imagination to sell the deal to the public. Just like the Gulf Oil Spill leaking 1000 bbls/day, uh we mean 5000, that is 15-20,000; actually 35-40,000; well what do you know, that professor we humiliated was right: 64,000 bbls/day. Never mind…it’s all clean now!

      Likewise, they claimed the Yellowstone River spill was “contained” to 5-10 miles, even while they were wading in it 30-40 miles downstream. Even the oil industry had to retract that claim.

      Building this pipeline will increase our dependence on all things oil; it is the way to keep things as they are (great, huh?). Not building it will be an important step in the right direction.

      The growth of renewable and clean energy is so robust, almost no one is able to keep track of it at the moment. It is another great lie on the part of industry, and their Republican and TeaParty cheerleaders that clean energy can’t work and doesn’t create jobs.
      Just look around for yourself!

      Check out the recent military experience with portable (clean green) renewable energy: they love it!…as you know, less batteries = more bullets; more solar = less fuel convoys.

      And, thanks for your service.

  • xray

    No fracking, no nuclear, no oil, no coal; just sit in the dark and freeze.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      While sensible people heat and power with Renewable and clean Wind-Turbines, Solar Heat, Solar Panel Electric, Tide-Turbines, and others, that cost LESS to fuel!!
          Little need to invade other countries, when you get free power for the harvesting, instead of hauling and refining oil, coal, nuclear, or natural gas!  
          Or, if you are ignorant, sit in the dark and freeze!

  • Slipstream

    Another excellent program, with knowledgable guests and a lot of clearly presented information.  Thanks, OnPoint!

    Btw, I like Mr. Pourbaix’s dry little chuckle – thought he used it effectively.

  • Pingback: Tar Sands… « CART 411 — Project Studio I

  • W L Simpson

    Please tell me why a refinery should not be built near the Sands. The 
    projected  80 billion + cost of a pipeline should easily cover the cost of a more state of the art facility than now exists way down here. Is the cost of distributing the finished products?

  • Pingback: A Mixed Media Verdict on Tar Sands Mass Action, Arrests | The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media

  • Dseals03

    My comment / query is about the same as that of W L Simpson = Why does the pipeline have to go all the way to the gulf?
    Why not one of more refineries near sources of demand for finished / refined product????

  • Judder

    Check out what happened in Michigan in the summer of 2010.  The Marshall Oil spill dumped close to 1 million gallons in the Kalamazoo River.  The spill was caused by a break in the a pipeline that transports oil sand crude from Alberta to Michigan. There are already many pipelines bringing crude down from Canada.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sage.radachowsky Sage Radachowsky

    We need a carbon tax. A serious one, to increase the price of dirty and harmful fossil energy. It is artificially cheap now, and oil and gas companies profit by wrongly externalizing (socializing) the harmful costs of extraction and burning of fossil energy, while reaping all the profits. This is not even capitalism. This is corrupt state-backed “crony capitalism”.

    We need a carbon tax to make the energy economy match reality of costs and benefits. The price of tar sands oil needs to go up, along with all other fossil energy, in proportion to the harm done to people, ecology, and climate.

    Then you would see a major voluntary reorganization of behaviors to favor renewable energy and conservation. This is not rocket science. It is a matter of “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

    It would also bring in plenty of revenue to solve our looming fiscal crisis. The real cliff is the climate cliff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Jones/100001227496805 Michael Jones

    Cheers to the young adults that were on the show. Tom, you did a good interview and keep the topic on focus.
    We need to fight now. President Obama is speaking with two tongues

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 24, 2014
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, left, talks with Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Covina at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, April 21, 2014. Hernandez proposed a constitutional amendment that would ask voters to again allow public colleges to use race and ethnicity when considering college applicants. The proposal stalled this year after backlash from Asian Americans. (AP)

California as Exhibit A for what happens when a state bans affirmative action in college admissions. We’ll look at race, college and California.

Apr 24, 2014
A Buddhist monk lights the funeral pyre of Nepalese mountaineer Ang Kaji Sherpa, killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest, during his funeral ceremony in Katmandu, Nepal, Monday, April 21, 2014.  (AP)

A Sherpa boycott on Everest after a deadly avalanche. We’ll look at climbing, culture, life, death and money at the top of the world.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

 
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Holy week with an unholy shooter. South Koreans scramble to save hundreds. Putin plays to the crowd in questioning. Seven days gave us seven sounds.

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Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

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Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

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