I'm sure some of you have heard of the Keystone XL pipeline that Trans Canada wants to build to pump oil from the tar sands in Canada to the gulf for refinement. Now, on one hand, it's getting oil available for use. On the other hand, that oil will release tons of greenhouse gasses when it's burned and contribute to Global Warming.
What are your opinions on the pipeline? Should it be built?
As a Nebraskan, I have a particular beef with the pipeline, though. Specifically, Trans Canada wants to run it through the porous Sand Hills and over the Ogallala Aquifer, meaning that the results could be truly catastrophic if it springs a leak or ruptures.
Not to mention that they are sending goons out to harass local farmers in an attempt to force them to sell their ranchlands for cheap.
Also, tar sands are perhaps the worst possible way to extract oil. You literally dig up the top ten feet of vast acres of land, squeeze out the oil, then dump the remaining silt into rivers. It's about as destructive for the environment as mountain top blasting, and shouldn't be allowed easy access to more markets.
China is offering several times the price for the oil.
Anyway, they're rerouting it around Sand Hills now, so at least that's good.
It's fine to get the oil, it's not so fine to rely on it to continue burning gasoline in gas-guzzling cars. We still need the oil for plastics and stuff until we find good alternatives (seems like hemp is all the rage these days).
I think it might just be better to sell to China instead. Get a better price, that's how it should work.
Well, hey, I'm not much of an environmental nut, outside the point at which it helps us economically and politically, so in the short run, fine, I guess if it helps, it helps.
They're not going to sell it to the US, though, so I don't really care much. For any other country, I might advocate some punitive economic action in return, but we do enough of that to Canada as it is and that's probably why they won't end up selling it to us, so...
Yeah, I've heard about this a couple times before. Uhm.. the tar sands thing right? I've heard the process itself is incredibly damaging to the environment, as well as pretty inefficient for getting oil out in the first place. (Fracking or something like that?) And one article about them actually trying to bully a Nebraskan off of his farm so they could build a pipeline through the area.
Basically, they're kind of being douches.
One of the big supports for this is that it would create thousands of jobs.
Except, you know, those jobs would be extremely temporary and almost all of them would vanish as soon as the pipe was complete, leaving only a small handful of maybe-permanent jobs.
Doesn't exactly sound like a fair enough trade since this would just, you know, be putting a dick in our environment's mouth.
I'm pretty sure the concept of Law having limits was a translation error. -Wanderlustwarrior
Wait... Canada wants to build a pipeline through the US to the Gulf just to sell all that oil to China...?
Well fuck that shit, they can build it through their own wilderness then. I suppose the retaliatory forcing of the US to move our Alaskan pipeline might suck, assuming such a theoretical scenario, but oh well.
No, they were saying that if we wouldn't let them use their proposed route (instead of just running parallel to an existing pipeline that doesn't run through the Sand Hills), they might just take their business to China instead of the US. I assume that means that it'd simply instead be an all Canadian route to one of their coasts.
I haven't been following it closely, but my understanding was that the "sell to China" thing is because the US State Department (involved because it's international and interstate commerce) is dragging its feet in approving it at all on any route,*
quite possibly in an attempt by the Obama administration to pander to the environmentalists in preparation for the 2012 elections
Few things to add:
1. America losses jobs out of the deal - Texas and Oklahoma oil companies would have to compete directly with the Canadians, and the Canadians can afford to sell their oil cheaper, so to remain competitive American companies have to lay off workers, period.
2. They HAVE been bullying Nebraskan ranchers and farmers in the sand hills region. One rancher who refused to sell his lands was told point blank by the Keystone lawyers that Keystone could and would use "eminent domain" to seize his property for a pittance. When the man still refused to sell his land, Keystone goons showed up at the man's mother's funeral to give him a flower donation with the reminder that "Keystone is watching".
3. The process to extract oil from tar shales is incredibly destructive to the land. Here's a taste of what has been done to an area the size of Florida (or England for you Europeans), with further plans to devastate the planet (they intend to quadruple the size of the operation in ten years) in the pipes, so to speak:
edited 15th Nov '11 9:34:33 PM by MyGodItsFullofStars
As I understand it, they have the route they want more or less approved (I think they chose it because it's shorter or something), but there are environmentalists protesting it, and, once again, we've got some problems with it here in Nebraska as well, because if the aquifer gets tainted, that'll ruin our agricultural sector.
Well no. Trans Canada is a fine company, all the bullying is on the American side... that's not their fault. They just proposed a pipeline and the companies in America that are partnered up for this did the usual crazy ass tactics.
The alternative is to route the pipe from Alberta to BC and ship the oil to China for lots more money. In fact, as enticement, China offered to pay for the whole pipeline. In contrast, some US congress men basically told Canada the equivalent of "suck my cock for this deal" and we have to sell our oil at a lower price in the US compared to selling it at insanely jacked up prices to China.
I think given what's been going on, if US doesn't want the oil, whatever. It's not environmentally friendly anyway. Sell to China, it's getting stupid.
I don't doubt that it will go through in some form - there lobby is strong in Washington. Obama's managed to delay it for a time, but he can't do that forever, and its likely that he will cave in once the lobby runs commercials accusing him of "denying Americans jobs".
To be fair though, you can't rely on that aquifer forever. The Ogallala is a fossil aquifer - it is left over from when Nebraska was beneath an inland sea - and eventually that water will run out. In fact, as an environmentalist it kind of irks me that they grow so much corn in Nebraska and use above surface sprinklers - sure it makes a better profit for the farms, but if you want to conserve that non-renewable water supply a smarter move long term would be to use underground or drip irrigation and switch to drought-adapted wheat.
Also, your state needs to make more windmills. For crying out loud, you are getting beaten by Idaho on windpower...yet Nebraska is basically the windiest state in the union. Idaho... Beating you... In wind related things...
Finally, here's another video, a bit shorter, that showcases the damage exclusively without the interviews. All that was once part of the largest forest on the planet:
edited 15th Nov '11 9:59:14 PM by MyGodItsFullofStars
Either way, everyone loses in the long run due to the environmental impact of the tar sands mining. On the upside at least they agreed to alter the route away from the Sand Hills and the Ogallala Aquifer (a move they previously said was not possible).
And yes, I am fully aware that we're overexploiting the aquifer as it stands (it's not that it will inevitably run out, it's that we're using it faster than it refills).
As for the wind power, I have no real answer, as to why we don't have more here.
Well, I'm not saying sell to China because I don't like the USA. The environmental concerns are legitimate. That is actually why I think selling to China is better. They are willing to pay the jacked up price which means that there might actually be enough profit in the venture for the cleanup.
Then again, I suppose I am somewhat miffed that the US wants the oil, wants all these environmental concerns addressed and then expect to pay below-market rate for the oil. That is insulting in a way.