Seriously, credit where due, per Mother Jones:
On Friday, President Obama announced his administration’s decision to reject the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, after seven years of intense deliberation over the pipeline’s potential environmental risks. The announcement is widely viewed as a major victory for environmentalists and is sure to further burnish the president’s legacy in combating climate change…
Slate-pitch, yet true — “Obama Didn’t Kill Keystone XL, Innovation Did“:
… In reality, Obama and Kerry simply delivered the coup de grace to a long-wounded project. Yes, politics was part of it. But the effort to bring more oil from the Alberta tar sands wasn’t spiked because the method used to extract produces a lot of negative environmental effects—or, I should say, only because of that. Rather, the end of this effort to benefit from newish innovations in external fuel production (extracting liquid oil from gooey tar sands through the application of steams) comes as a result of some very different innovations in fuel production and consumption…
Thanks to increased domestic production, and the fact that U.S. producers are essentially prohibited from exporting oil, prices have remained low. The spot price of West Texas Intermediate crude is now below $50 per barrel, about half what it was a couple of years ago. Which means it doesn’t make all that much sense to build a pipeline that will carry oil that is comparatively expensive to produce. And as the Wall Street Journal reported, the estimated break-even point for a newly initiated project in the oil sands is $65 per barrel. Another strike against Keystone…
Meanwhile, oil is slowly being displaced as a transportation fuel by natural gas—not in cars, but in trucks and buses. Each day, the website of trade publication NGTNEWs has news of giant corporate delivery fleets, refuse-collection fleets, and municipal bus systems putting hundreds of vehicles into service that will never use a gallon of gasoline. And let us not forget that each month, about 10,000 cars are sold that run entirely or partially on electricity. The changing shape of future demand is a third strike against Keystone….
“Keystone” had essentially turned into a purely political touchstone — an ongoing irritant to environmentalists otherwise on the President’s/the Democrats’ side, and another anti-Obama totemic phrase for the Wingnut Wurlitzer to pump. (All the GOP candidates have been promising to re-institute approval for Keystone just as soon as they’re inaugurated, which is seventeen kinds of BS, but what in the GOP platform isn’t?)
Last best words to Mr. Charles P. Pierce, at Esquire:
… You could see it coming over the last month—when Canadian elections went against the death funnel’s primary political supporters, both nationally and in Alberta. You could see it when TransCanada, the multinational corporation seeking to build the death funnel, begged the State Department for a reprieve that would have pushed the decision to approve the tunnel past the end of the current president’s term. You could see it this week, when the State Department refused to honor that request. But the real story of what happened on Friday begins years ago, and it begins with ordinary people, and it is a remarkable story of actual populism in action.
The real story involves an alliance between liberal environmentalists and conservative farmers, between Native Americans and white people, between Democrats and Republicans. The real story involves a grassroots victory for a lot of people you’ve never heard of who pushed and yelled the national government into reversing a project that seemed almost unstoppable five years ago. The real story involves a defeat for faceless corporate power, and for the money that is poisoning our politics at all levels, and for the corrupt alliance between corporate power and poisoned politics that is so much of our national life these days…
I don’t expect the No Labels crowd to applaud what happened today. (They’re too busy finding soft words to explain the evisceration of Social Security.) But this is the way it’s supposed to work, a truly bipartisan populist project that, through sheer indomitability, beat the power of a multinational behemoth and turned an entire administration around, and on an issue that ultimately affects us all. In the early days of the administration, the president’s people were fond of telling progressives about the possibly apocryphal quote attributed to Franklin Roosevelt when A. Philip Randolph approached him on civil rights: “Now make me do it.” This is how that works…
He will always be Worse than Bush to me.
Can someone give me the executive summary of why this pipeline was so bad? I haven’t followed the issue at all.
@Baud: Baud 2016: More PUMA than a vintage low-top, More Nader at Any Speed, Making Cornel Look Like Broder in an Afro, He’s Baud.
@redshirt: General enabling of pumping more climate change bringing, fossil fuels out of the ground.
@Baud: LOL. So you’re not running as Obama’s third term, then?
Obama was my warm up act!
@goblue72: With little in the budget for environmental clean up of the inevitable leaks (ALL man made pipes will leak eventually. That’s the nature of human engineering).
Are you an executive?
Bottom line, building a really really long pipeline to move low grade oil to an area with almost zero excess refining capacity is a stupid idea. Which is why the promoters of the project tried to back out just recently making Obama’s decision a convenient one.
@Baud: good evening, Columbus! Put your hands in the air if you’re ready for BAUD!!
@goblue72: General enabling of pumping more climate change bringing, fossil fuels out of the ground.
So just general anti-oil sentiments?
Erm, this is hardly a “newish” innovation. It’s called “steam distillation” (unimaginatively enough) and has been used in chemistry to remove volatile components from admixtures for literally centuries.
@Davebo: I used to be!
So where will the oil go now? West, to China?
This is the worst decision since the cancellation of the Dos Rios dam.
Let’s Get Ready to RUUUMMMMMBAAAAUDDD!!!
@redshirt: There are various specifics that I’m sure opponents can point to as to why THIS pipeline was so much worse than any other. There were environmental objections based on potential for leaks.
But taking a step back at 10,000 foot level, yes – its about climate change. If you poked the major environmental groups with a sharp stick long enough, they’d mostly admit that at end of day, its part of an overall by national environmental groups to more aggressively oppose major fossil fuel extraction projects. Similar to the recent opposition to building coal export terminals at various major West Coast ports (Portland, Seattle, Oakland).
Not a criticism, mind you. I support the need to aggressively get our energy economy off fossil fuels.
Hey hey, ho ho, C-Oh-2 has got to go!
First time commenting on the “new” site. Been lurking. I kinda like the look of it (until I don’t, like a true BJ’er). Anyway – I quit my job yesterday. For real. With a real hard copy letter. Today I went to a meeting with one of the schools I service (I work in central admin in large university (NYU). I manage sponsored funds. They were FREAKED. And right there, in front of me, with my input, the school invented a position for me. I told them my terms. They said yes. They are going to the Dean on Monday to find the funds. Will they get it? Probably. NYU is getting a new President in January. They need to pull it together.
You go girl!
It was always going to China or some other foreign country. It was only passing thru the U.S. on its way to Texas (sometimes regarded as a hostile territory) to be refined and then shipped overseas. There would have been little or no consumption of the final product in the U.S.
Black Jimmy Carter!
@Helen: Wow! You’ve got some pull!
I did something similar in early 2013. I said I am resigning and my boss and management above him said, No.
Unfortunately, over 2+ years they have almost all the way backslid and otherwise made it not the outcome I would have hoped for.
@Helen: internet high-five!
@goblue72: How is the tar sands oil moved now? Trains, I assume.
That ain’t gonna stop.
@Baud: Sounds like Helen will fit right in on TeamBAUD. Can you make her a counteroffer?
@Felonius Monk: It was always going to China or some other foreign country. It was only passing thru the U.S. on its way to Texas (sometimes regarded as a hostile territory) to be refined and then shipped overseas. There would have been little or no consumption of the final product in the U.S.
Why is that assumed? The US has rather large oil demands of its own.
It would be a waste to put Obama’s library in Chicago. It should be a bronzed Greyhound bus, driven around the country for every community to throw themselves under.
@Felonius Monk: It was always going somewhere else. Just destroyed Canada first and then transited really sensitive environmental space across the US, waiting for the inevitable leak(s).
watching O’Malley on the #DemForum and Baud! is looking better and better to me.
You mean a counteroffer with money?
Not assumed. It was publicly stated that the refined product would be exported. That is just one of the many things that made this such a contentious project.
When they all falter, I’ll be there to pick up the pieces.
Mike in NC
Not-so lame duck Obama continues to torment the GOP. Looking forward to Ryan, Rubio, Jindal, and all the other mutants whining about the worthless XL pipeline on the Sunday morning TV shows.
It was always just barely profitable if the price of gas stayed really high. I think the promoters were business idiots who would have lost their shirts if it had actually gone through. We have a history of claiming Obama was playing 7 dimensional chess against the Republicans….I don’t think he really foresaw this but I do think future politicians should remember this. sometimes stalling and stalling will change enough factors that you can do the right thing without a huge fight.
The reasons for this being such an idiotic project in social value is it wasn’t even going to profit Americans much nor bring many jobs because it was a Canadian company who wanted to build a pipeline thru to US to out coast to sell to China. Mind you, the American government was supposed to condem American property along the line to build it on which means we had to pay those farmers and Indians for their land. I never understood why that was expected. Then it was supposed to go through th a lot of sensitive land over some aquifers that provided water to a lot more people. Pipeline leak. You have to pay attention to where they go. Circle back to the business side of only being profitable whe gas was really high and think about a pipeline being maintained by a company that I think would have been in financial trouble whenever oil went back down which it has tended historically to bounce a lot. It seemed to me that the republican base was supporting it mainly due to Cleek’s law, because democrats and liberals were against it.
@redshirt: Yes by rail. Part of the analysis has to with cost. The oil from the tar sands is not the cheapest source of oil. And shipping by rail is more expensive than by the pipeline, such that depending on the market price for crude, the oil extracted from the tar sands could be not profitable. And since the GHG emissions from the extraction of oil from the tar sands is 17% more than from conventional petroleum extraction, opponents argue that if you can keep the cost of oil from tar sands non-competitive, you incentivize keeping more of it in the ground – or at least reducing the amount extracted. And thus, producing less GHG emissions than otherwise if it was cheaper to ship (via the pipeline).
The net effects are probably on the margins. But given that we are well past the 11th hour on climate change, its kinda all hands on deck at this point.
@Baud: Well, there are all those hi-jacked Brinks trucks, but then again your personal charm might win her over
@Baud: you just blew your cover
@Helen: Way to go Helen!
@goblue72: Thanks for the great answers. I’m up to speed!
Though I would appreciate more bullet points next time. :)
@redshirt: @benw: @goblue72:
Thanks for your congrats.
Yeah, I have been there. If they can’t do it my resignation still stands. I have nothing to lose here.
Iowa Old Lady
@Helen: Go you! No guts, no glory!
Congrats! If you know how to raise and manage donations, you will always find work. My aunt has successfully been doing that for years at her community college.
Gin & Tonic
@redshirt: Trains, I assume.
Yup. Trains like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lac-M%C3%A9gantic_rail_disaster
OH YES. Please do BAUD; Make me an offer. I would love to be on Team Baud.
Gin & Tonic
@redshirt: Trains, I assume
Yes. Google Lac-Megantic. I’d link but that doesn’t work now.
@Helen: I hear he’s looking for someone to run his Super Pac
This looks like it might be another instance of Obama outsmarting the rethugs. XL had recently indicated that they were going to withdraw their application for this pipeline citing the recent low price of oil as the reason it wasn’t currently economically feasible. Their was some speculation that the real reason that they were withdrawing their application was so they could resubmit to an incoming Republican administration.
My understanding is that if they withdrew before a final decision was made, they could easily pickup where they left off when the Republicans came into office. By Obama officially killing it before it was withdrawn pretty much ends it and precludes the XL ploy.
@Helen: You know, once upon a time someone had something similar happen to them and it didn’t work out perfectly. Guess you should go out and eat some worms! /s
There could be refining capacity created for the Alberta/North Dakota crap that is flowing now but those with the money to make such things happen know it won’t flow for very long. Imagine if someone spent the 700 million it would cost to build a refinery nearby. I can assure you Calgary wouldn’t be opposed.
But they won’t. Because it’s not going to be profitable in the long run when the miracle of fracking peters out.
And the entire idea of a pipeline to Houston has also petered out. Obama just killed the life support machine the project was living on in the era of $45 a barrel oil.
I have a comment in moderation. And not even any curses. Which I do all the time. I LOVE curses. Not in that comment.
ETA: Thanks mods. I am out of moderation
@Helen: Ours is not the place to question the mysteries of Moderation. Praise FYWP.
@Helen: Curse words do not put one in moderation.
Awesome. Your my official campaign fundraiser. Your first task is to get Tommy to add a Donate to Baud button on this blog.
Speaking of pipelines, did that Afghani pipeline ever get built? The one we supposedly invaded Afghanistan to make happen?
Just One More Canuck
@goblue72: I had the theme from “Maude” going through my head as I read that . “And then there’s Baud!”
@Helen: Gosh but it’s a good feeling. Just wanted to share my story. A little story you may be stunned to hear about.
@Just One More Canuck:
That’s my official campaign song!
ETA: The link doesn’t seem to take you to the correct comment. You may have to scroll down to the comment at 6:30.
@redshirt: The oil won’t go anywhere if our First Nations have their way.
Hillary”s up. Everyone watch MSNBC.
Just One More Canuck
@Baud: Even though I’m Canadian, I’ll vote for you. As many times as I can
???? Not stunned. Not at all.
@Just One More Canuck: Thank you. Full disclosure, however, my hair is not as robust as your new prime minister’s.
Because he’s Baud! He’s Baud! You know it!
(really really Baud)
Gin & Tonic
@Helen: That was a very deeply inside joke.
@Gin & Tonic: She should have got it but she’s been gone too long.
@Gin & Tonic:
Oh I get it.. MY BAD.
Sorry @Corner Stone:
Actually a lot of the opposition to that comes from the people living in small towns out in the middle of nowhere, the kind of people that normally hate everything liberal Seattle stands for. They don’t like going from one train crossing Main street every day to twenty or thirty.
@Baud: That reminds me, I need to dye my hair this weekend. Thanks Baud!
Hillary just slapped Maddow and screamed at her “YOU NEED ME ON THAT WALL”.
blogosphere is gonna pounce all over that.
@Frankensteinbeck: disappointed you didn’t go for the crotch grab.
“Not Baud meaning Baud, but Baud meaning good!”
@Helen: Three or more links (including ‘replies’) still get you moderated, alas.
Maddow asks Hillary who would she pick as a running mate, and she replies “someone like Baud!”
Classic Hillary, pandering for the Baud! vote.
Gin & Tonic
@Helen: Thanks Gin.
Something I say myself, at times. Incidentally, for you Bay Area folks, if you haven’t yet visited St. George Spirits in Alameda, don’t waste time. They make some really remarkable gins.
@Gin & Tonic: My boss, Gin, is at a conference there right now!
Big mistake, Hillary is wearing a fur coat made of 101 dalmatians.
Thanks Anne. I thought “links” meant internet links.
@David Koch: Pretty Baudy answer.
@BillinGlendaleCA: she’s a Baud mama jama.
Sorry. You know I still love you, right?
tee hee hee
Go, Mr. President.
@Helen: There’s your problem.
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And she’s always gone too long
Anytime she goes away
@BillinGlendaleCA: Hush, now.
Green is an ugly color for you.
@BillinGlendaleCA: Maybe you should rethink this redundant redundant request:
Well, there are a bunch more obstacles (as in First Nations political powers in Canada) to getting it to the Pacific than to the Gulf, so this is a victory.
@Corner Stone: I only wear blue and gold.
Please don’t fight over me, boys.
ETA: I meant : OH please keep fighting over me, boys.
@trollhattan: Heh, I might have that Cub Scout uniform somewhere. Though, I’ve grown a bit since then.
@BillinGlendaleCA: Sideways maybe.
I urge everyone to watch this:
Canada’s national shame.
Age of the Oil Sands
For the sake of our children and grandchildren…
@Corner Stone: Sideways is the story of your life.
@BillinGlendaleCA: I will not drink Merlot!
Did you miss me?
@Helen: Does a childishly thin skinned and failing WP designer live in So IL?
Two many links. Three max, including reply link(s).
Can’t edit. TOO many links.
Don’t have the cite handy but read the cost of producing oil from that field is in the neighborhood of $100/bbl but because of the sunk costs developing it they virtually can’t afford to shut down, even as they lose money with each bbl produced.
Nice work, if you can find it.
YUP. Been keeping quiet. I want to release the HOUNDS.
You would not—I repeat, would not—last an hour in Helen’s situation. You just would not.
Three are okay, I believe.
@redshirt: The oil wasn’t going to be sold to Americans anyway. The Canadians were going to ship the refined oil elsewhere, to other markets.
J R in WV
But the biggest problem for the pipeline is the way the oil is extracted. Mostly strip-mining, like what has ruined much of West Virginia. Then the mined sand/tar mix is heated in huge ovens until the tar becomes a liquid, and is squeezed out of the sand.
The heating takes a lot of energy, and generates lots of greenhouse gases, and makes the tar liquid, as long as it stays hot. They make it permanently liquid by adding thinners to it, so it isn’t really crude oil, ever, but a bastard mix of tar and chemical additives, which, surprisingly, is quite difficult to make salable products like gasoline, diesel fuel, etc, from.
So I’m glad the pipeline is dead for now. Strip-mining tar just sounds horrible, and shipping all around the continent is worse.
Of course, the fracked Bakken crude comes out of the ground fizzing with methane, like Perrier only explosive. This is why the rail cars full of Bakken crude are much more likely to explode and burn than normal crude. That methane bubbling out as it jiggles down that old railway track, like shaking up a warm Coke on a summer afternoon.
@redshirt: British Columbia said no to a pipeline about a decade ago. The only hope the developers of the Northern Alberta Moonscape had was to push a pipe through the Oglala Aquifer.
Once known as the Great Nebraska Sea. And where the water for all that wheat on the Great Plains (You eat bread, right?) comes from.
Nebraska farmers (and Archer Daniels Midland and Beatrice and ConAgra) REALLY DIDN’T WANT THIS.
I keep saying they should build a refinery there, and a pipeline east to Hudson Bay, because it’s going to be navigable year-around, any day now.
Acc. to the NYT, the change in Canadian Prime Minister was a big influence. The old one Harper was pretty much insisting that Obama could not say No without damaging relations. The new one Trudeau supported the pipeline but said he would not make a major issue out of a refusal.
News article from 7-25-15:
“On Sunday more than 60 Native and non-Native opponents of the pipeline will ride into Fort Pierre, South Dakota, on horseback from the four directions, “north, south, east and west, to show their collective resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline certification in South Dakota,” the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) announced on Friday July 24.
The group is hoping that the riders will be greeted by hundreds of people when they arrive at the intersection of highways 83 and 14, the starting point for a march across the Missouri River Bridge. The march will end at Steamboat Park in Pierre, with a water blessing and rally led by leaders of the pipeline opposition.”
@trollhattan: The aerial/sat photos of the tar sands operations are mind boggling.
And did anyone mention the fallen price of oil as a reason?
@Helen: My sorta alma mater! Congrats!
@redshirt: The carbon footprint for a petroleum product has to include the energy used to extract, process, and deliver the product, if the energy used is carbon-based. The tar sands oil is extracted using a steam process. The energy used to make steam, which is generated by burning more oil, adds to the total carbon released. Also I think the resulting heavy oil takes more energy to process into gasoline and other products than a light crude.
Redshirt – keep in mind this crap they extract from the ground is not “oil”. It is a precursor called bitumen or kerogen. Only through application of heat and pressure (often steam) can they extract a sludgey thick and not very useful petroleum-like substance that contains large amounts of toxic, heavy metals like cadmium, arsenic and chromium that are carcinogenic and have a very long life in the environment. The damage to the area mined is horrific – combining the worst deleterious impacts of strip mining and acid leeching, commonly associated with copper mining. There are large pools of waste water left that birds land in and die almost instantly. It is an environmental nightmare. Someone wrote once about how they were “proud” that companies had figured out how to extract petroleum from tar pits. I am ashamed and horrified by it. It is akin to a crack addict scraping his crack pipes to get a few more hits. It is a sign of our pathetic and ultimately fatal, addiction to fossil fuels.
And as usual, none of you shit-for-brains will remember the vehement ignorance with which you all screamed at the top of your lungs, “But president Obama has no power! Congress is where all the power resides!” when you howled away in your frantically failed and futile efforts to defend Obama’s indefensible refusal to put single-payer health care on the table, his refusal to order the DOJ to indict and jail the Wall Street crime lords who wrecked the world economy, Obama’s refusal to end the drone murders of innocent children and women, Obama’s refusal to shut down Guantanamo Bay, and so on.
Tell us all again how a president has no power. Explain to us in more detail the sneering tenets of the Green Lantern Theory of the presidency.
If you people were any dumber, you’d need life support just to keep you breathing while you recite the rote verbal calisthentics that justify Obama’s unjustifiable betrayals his progressive campaign promises with policies straight out of the third term of George W. Bush.
Another Holocene Human
So will our white emo-prog betters who never understood the relationship between the political process and protest, most of whom never showed up for the environmentalists’ protests (who, in fact, did understand and didn’t scapegoat Obama) apologize now, or never?
Another Holocene Human
@mclaren: Oh, sure, Obama could have pulled a **tch McConnell and refused to sign ACA without single payer.
There would be no ACA today.
@mclaren: you really do need to take your meds regularly.
@Another Holocene Human: they are too busy scrapping off Obama stickers and making pouty faces, while drafting manifestos about the eight year long betrayal of Obama. Oh, and how with one spittle laden sweep of his hands, the Bern is gonna fix it all. Because civics 101 is for losers! Three branches of government? Fuuuuck that!
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Baud: And Hilary / Sanders have already sold us out?
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@mclaren: What are you talking about, the House passed a single payer law and then the senate sat on it and dithered until as each Senator tried to make his own law so he could claim credit until Kennedy died.
@redshirt: Actually the CEO of Valero said the reason for the keystone was so that they could more easily access markets in the pacicific rim, in a speech to investors a few years ago, before the pipeline became a political football.
As far as lowering the overall environmental impact, not having a convenient transportation system isn’t going to mean that the tar sands are somehow going to be abandoned, so the same amount of damage from a global impact will still occur regardless.
From a US standpoint there will be no huge pipeline carrying really nasty crap across our country near aquifers, and such to have a catastrophic failure all so some Canadian corporation can maximize its profits, while adding nothing to our energy situation. On the downside there are some decent short term construction related jobs that are lost, but nearly no long term employment. So the question becomes; do you risk possible catastrophic environmental disaster for a modicom of short term construction jobs?
Seems a poor risk/reward model