American Ambivalence

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Have you ever wondered why the tar-sands oil companies in Canada are pushing the Keystone XL pipeline so vigorously through the American heartland when it would be much closer to pipe it to the ports of British Columbia for shipment via oil tankers?  Its because 80% of British Columbian people are adamantly opposed to oil tankers coming anywhere near their pristine coastline and the oil companies know the British Columbians have the political muscle to keep them from piping their filthy crude to the Pacific Coast. Apparently Americans are too ill-informed to care whether the environment of the Great Plains and the Ogallala Aquifer lying directly under the next potential spill of bituminous sludge is threatened with catastrophe.

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9 thoughts on “American Ambivalence

  1. How likely is it that President Obama will approve the project? Will he listen to the people who protest or will he be influenced by the oil-lobby?

    If he does, then the Keystone XL pipeline will go through America’s agricultural heartland, the Missouri, Platte, and Niobrara Rivers, the Ogallala aquifer. Public water supplies, croplands, and recreational opportunities will all be at risk of dangerous tar sands oil spills like the million-gallon.

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  2. It would seem that you know very little about oil companies, other than left wing hearsay and hatred.
    For example many led the way in providing same sex benefits in the late eighties and early nineties. Decades ahead of other non-energy companies.
    They continue to lead the way in real work safety and health policy.
    The majority in Alberta, Canada at least, over-comply with ALL regulatory requirements, as set forth by Alberta Environment, the Energy Resources Conservation Board, Alberta Labour Board, and the Workers Compensation Board.
    And in cross province pipelines, the National Energy Board as well, part of the Canadian federal government.

    It is funny how the image used in the article to illustrate the “tar sands” is not from Alberta, or even Canada I would guess.
    There is a crab in the mud, perhaps dead.
    There are no crabs within 1400 km of the oil sand construction sites, or of pipeline reight of ways and sites through the middle of north america.
    My guess is an unfinished clean-up of a spill in Louisiana or west Africa.
    Certainly not Alberta.

    The claim in the article that 80% of the people of BC are against a pipeline to carry heavy oil across BC is bullshit.
    I would guess the true numbers to be 10% hardcore anti-energy industry development people, with 60% who don’t give a damn so long as it doesn’t run through their backyards, and is operated safely.
    With 30% who are strongly in favour of development.

    There are a number of pipelines already operating through BC carrying oil and other energy products 24/7 for decades.
    The silliness about fear of tankers near BC’s pristine coastlines is bull too.
    Every day there are tankers filled with crude oil shuttling from Alaska to US ports, mainly San Francisco. They have been doing this for decades, safely with the exception of the Exxon Valdiz spill in Alaska.
    There are also unit trains of many different toxic chemicals that arrive via rail and leave BC for divers location on board barges daily.

    If you know how the environment is treated with contempt in certain other oil producing nations you would rejoice at the strict regulation we are under in Canada.
    We all want a safe home for our future grandkids.

    If we are looking for a valid alternative to oil, we need to seriously turn our thoughts towards thorium molten salt reactors.
    They can’t melt down, the reaction stops without help to run, no toxic or dangerous radiation, ample thorium everywhere.

    There is a confusion about regulatory discussion and policy discussions, they are not the same thing.
    The problem is that regulatory hearings are hearings about regulation of utilities and projects, they are not venues for Environmental Policy discussions.

    Regulatory hearings are being hijacked by radical environmentalists who have failed to bring the climate change issue and others to the level of policy discussions in both Canada and the USA.

    I agree these issues need public discussion for how our nations should proceed in regards to energy policy.

    PS
    And in regards to the Ogallala aquifer, the last time I checked oil floats. Even heavy oil. The oil shipped from the oil sands, is blended down for operational densities and viscosities with diluents like condensate, which is like gasoline, or small quantities of butane. There are no other magic chemicals.
    The US ships thousands of cubic meters of condensate to Canada via train car and pipeline for this purpose.
    Heavy oil has been diluted with condy for decades,
    It takes a long, long time to move on the top of water in soil.

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  3. A lot of specious arguments, John. Yes, oil floats… until it emulsifies. Then it sinks, which it did in the Gulf of Mexico where most of what spilled will never be recovered, which is true with all oil-spills everywhere. The photo in my article was from the Gulf Shores area. But oil-spills devastate with similar consequences wherever they occur. There is in fact a proposed pipeline across British Columbia which First Nation coalitions have been fighting vigorously (Remember when this was all OUR land? Maybe we should have a say!) The pipeline company, Enbridge Inc. has a spotty safety record and has had many spills. Despite regulatory compliance, these spills keep occurring, so obviously the regulations are inadequate or compliance isn’t what you claim it is. The very nature of the Alberta tar-sands bitumen makes it much more deleterious to global-warming when it is burned than lighter crudes. Germany has demonstrated that even countries with low solar resources can replace much of their oil-consumption with renewables. Our warming climate is the result of decades of governments and oil corporations colluding to perpetuate the very myths you espouse in your commentary, John. Just because most of the population have bought into the lies and basically have no choice anyway since oil has been presented to them as the only game in town doesn’t mean that changing to a renewable-based energy economy isn’t the only solution which may save us as a species from our own short-sightedness.

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  4. I’m not talking myths, I am talking about my own real world experience.
    Regulatory regimes in the USA leave much to be desired.
    Many States are regulating with mining statutes and regulations.
    They are inadequate.
    Look at the disaster of shale gas fracking in the USA.

    Some of the native tribes in BC are against the proposed Enbridge pipeline, yes.
    If they get more gravy out the deal it is funny how most of them would change their tune.
    Funny how they aren’t against mining, forestry, and other much more landscape damning business. That is because it provides money from jobs, and direct social support from corporations.

    Enbridge pipelines run across my own land.
    They would be better if they had a good regulatory regime in the US states.
    Compared to the volume of oil shipped even the worst pipeline is better than truck or rail by thousand folds.

    I’m well aware of emulsification, but that doesn’t really happen in land spills, and very little in river spills. I’ve never seen it, and I’ve seen a number of spills.
    In the event of spills the volumes lost would be smaller by far than an uncontrolled offshore rig. There was malfeasance as a part of the BP spill there.
    Line balance programs an integral part of SCADA control software limit spills.
    In Alberta anyway we have to test the as working every year for the ERCB.
    I doubt that is the same in most US venues, but it should be.
    As well as Internal Line Inspections every 5 years, then you know if your lines are in good condition. The ERCB in Alberta requires every ILIs 10 years.
    It is not the burning of heavy oils that are the problem, but the extra energy used to produce the bitumen.

    Germany is a red herring, since the statistics have been slanted in a certain way to exclude most heavy industry.
    I think it would be possible to with solar and wind supply much of the domestic electricity used.

    I don’t think I’m the only person supposedly believing lies in this dialogue.

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  5. I just noticed your email name, John! olorin.johan?? OLORIN? You took the name of my favorite wizard??

    Well, Mithrandir… one of us seems to have a financial vested interest in the oil industry, and it isn’t ME!

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  6. Pingback: microjo

  7. Almost two years later I read this today:

    Keystone XLObama vetoes against oil pipeline

    For more than five years, US politicians argue about the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will lead extracted from tar sands oil from Canada to Nebraska. The Congress agreed – but Obama will stop the project.

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  8. That’s a slick answer to a chlelanging question

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