Monday, December 19

Keystone XL Pipeline - You Don't Get a Much Better Example of How Anti-Business (and Petty) This Administration is

There is one thing that really gets me about the battle over whether the Obama Administration will permit the building of a pipeline to carry oil from Canada to oil refineries in the United States. That is that this battle is going on at all. Really, at it's simplest level, the Keystone XL pipeline is a business project. A pipeline.

Sure there are regulations to be met and it will have to be done a certain way for the project to be safe and to protect the environment. But for such a project to involve the President of the United States to not just get involved, but to become the center figure in this issue is just crazy.

Worse is how the President decided to get involved, in that he shelved making any decisions on permitting this private business project to go ahead until after the 2012 Presidential election, well over a year away. Delaying not only the project itself, but all the jobs that come with it.

This of course did not sit well with lots of people, and members of Congress decided that the President should be forced to act one way or the other on this pipeline. And amazingly, word is coming out that the President will use this prodding as an excuse to kill the project.
Republicans hailed inclusion of the pipeline provision as a victory, but Democrats said the practical effect of the language would be to kill the project. “They’ve just killed the Keystone pipeline. They killed it because they forced the president to make a decision before he can make it so he’s not going to move forward with it,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and an ally of environmental groups. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said he was not concerned about giving in to Republicans on the Keystone provision. “The president is apparently just going to use the option given to him not to let it go [forward],” said Levin. “There’s a waiver in there which we understand the president is going to exercise.” - The Hill
As a reminder, they are all talking about whether a pipeline will be built. And it's not like this is a new idea. As the map below illustrates, the United States is already covered by pipelines. Then there is the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, built in one of the world's most sensitive, and environmentally brutal climates. Nor would this be the first oil pipeline from Canada either. The only reason this pipeline is having problems is because this is the first time the US Government was being run by an Administration that is both anti-business, anti-jobs and anti-oil
(Map found here) 

Apparently, the excuse that will be used to kill this project will be the risk to the environment that this project popes. This of course is a lie. As it stands, sending oil by pipeline is not only the cheapest way to move oil, but it is also the safest.

The alternatives to moving liquids by pipeline are moving them by tanker truck, ships and barges.

Liberals however like to pretend that this oil will somehow just remain in the ground if they put up enough roadblocks in the way of getting this oil to market. This of course will never happen. Instead the oil will most likely be sent through existing pipelines to be exported by tanker. In which case others will benefit for America's stupidity. Worse, some of this oil may still end up at the same refineries that it was destined for via the pipeline. See the map to get a reminder of how far oil from the Middle East travels to get to the US. Taking this oil from Canada is a no-brainer, even if it has to travel a more expensive, more dangerous route. Really, just how do they think we get oil pumped out of the ground in Alaska?

Is it possible that there will be an accident over the lifetime of this pipeline. It sure is possible. But this also goes for all the alternative methods of moving this oil, all of which carry a greater risk of a mishap. Even better, the oil transported by this pipeline will reduce the US need for other foreign oil coming by ship. I understand that there are concerns about the process involved in extracting the oil from the ground. This however is irrelevant to this debate, as the Canadians are going to extract it regardless. And frankly, if we are going to look into issues like this, then why not look at the human rights abuses being conducted in the countries we currently buy our oil from?

To conclude, beware of the regulators who claim to be acting on projects like this for our benefit. It is just not true. Take the DEEPWATER HORIZON disaster. 'Environmental Concerns' are part of the reason why oil companies are drilling in such deep water far offshore. Simply, the thinking appears to be, lets make it as difficult as possible for the drillers to operate and then lets crucify them when there is an accident. Here is a thought, if you want to reduce the risk of accidents, and want to increase our chances of dealing with problems when they come about, how about letting these companies drill closer to shore in shallower water. Everything is easier, from finding your keys lost overboard, to drilling on the seabed. 

Update: 28 Feb 2013
So it is two months later and our petty President has still not gotten out of the way of construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Liberals are doing their best to silence criticism of the President in this matter. Take a look at a recent post on Business Insider, 'Why We'll Have To Keep Waiting For Obama's Decision On The Keystone XL Pipeline', where Liberals killed every comment by flagging them as offensive, including a comment by the author who eventually turned comments off for the post.

But they cannot stop the flow of oil coming out of Canada. One recent story which validates my original post is the following noting the rising demand for tank cars for the transport of oil:
The number of tank cars ordered for shipping crude and expected to be delivered by the end of 2014 will be enough to move two million barrels of oil per day, almost three times what is currently extracted from the Bakken shale basin, Mr. Kolstad said. That’s the size of two Keystone XLs and one Seaway pipeline. As much as 40% of the orders are from Canadian entities desperate to get their crude out of Western Canada and into U.S. refineries in the East and on the Gulf Coast. - Financial Post (22 February 2013)
Read the rest of the story. So good job liberals. The oil you hoped to keep trapped in Canada is coming to the US, in a more expensive mode of transportation, which happens to also be less safe and less green.

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Anonymous said...

Sorry - can you provide any supporting information to prove your assertion that "'Environmental Concerns' are part of the reason why oil companies are drilling in such deep water far offshore"?

Jason said...

I thoroughly enjoy the idea of a good conversation about the pros and cons of any particular topic. However, it is impossible to use this article to help further the debate because it contains absolutely no factual evidence to support any of its claims. Without any statistics or proof of the points, it is simply opinion of an uniformed individual. And you know what they say about opinions...

Fred Fry said...

It is 'Environmental Concerns' that are part of the reason why oil companies are drilling in such deep water far offshore because the concerns basically close off shallower and easier to operate waters in the mistaken belief that the shoreline will be protected by pushing oil operations further out to sea in case there are any accidents.

Fred Fry said...

Jason, You say that you want a good conversation but your very next comment shows your true colors as a simple activist. Simple fact is that this oil in Canada is going to come out of the ground. The Canadians cannot use all of it. So where do you think it will go? Already there is much more oil being shipped by rail which is a sure alternate to pipeline. So the oil is already coming here and the President cannot stop this cargo flow like he can the pipeline.

Yes, I know what they say about opinions. What goes for mine goes twice for yours. All you do is dismiss my post and offer nothing in return. Typical of the left.