Monday, November 17, 2014

The Keystone XL Pipeline Isn't What We Need

This post might not have a major impact to the West and East Coasts of the United States, but it does talk about the nightmare that the Republicans are trying to pass through congress and the ability to have the Keystone XL pipeline run from the Alberta Tar Pits down to the Louisiana Gulf. Now I am not above using fossil fuels to provide energy. But the pipeline has too many big promises that will not come true. It is become just another big lie that the GOP thinks they can push through.

The CEO of TransCANADA does say that the State Department report on the proposed pipeline will have about 50 permanent jobs. 50! Nothing like a major impact on the job market into the future. The state department does say that it will provide about 50,000 temporary jobs like waitresses and shopkeepers for about 2 years. Put in about 4,000 temporary construction workers into the mix. That is great for 2017 or 18 when you have 50,000 people moving away from the pipeline and the temporary camps that will be shutting up after the pipeline is done. Maybe we can find more part-time jobs for people since corporations can't seem to waste any penny of profit.

We understand here in North Dakota what cost an oil spill has on the economy and the environment. The economic impact is felt because the oil companies are fined a small amount, and the state government foots the bill if the oil company doesn't fulfill their requirement to clean the entire spill up. In fact, ask Alaskans or Floridians how easy it is to clean up oil spills and how short the time is that the oil is a minor hindrance to enjoying the environment. Here in the 2nd largest oil producing state in America, we have had oil companies flaunting their breaking of the rules. We have had radioactive socks that are supposed to be stored with Nuclear waste just thrown into dumpsters and stored en mass in abandoned buildings. We have had oil spills and leaks that the oil companies had to notice, but conveniently missed. Oil flow regulators have conveniently become broken and miss leaks on the pipelines. But I just know that wouldn't happen on the Keystone XL, would it? Oops, maybe I spoke too soon.

Alberta is known for it's gas and oil. Unfortunately, the canadian oil companies seem to know how to spill lots of crude like their American counterparts. The West Coast Native News has been compiling stats about oil spills in Alberta. And the thing is that spills are not uncommon. In October alone, Crude Oil and toxic produced water was spills in the amount of 600,000 Liters. 1 Liter is equal to .264 gallons. So what we have is approximately 158503 Gallons of toxic stuff being spilled in Alberta for 1 month. There are 42 gallons in a barrel of oil or 3774 barrels of crude or water mixed with crude that is spilled in Alberta in 1 month. Now let's ask this question. What makes us think that the companies that are spilling all of that sludge in Alberta will make the pipelines safer here in America? We know that the federal government regulation is a joke. We understand that the companies will not police itself. So the question still stands. Why do we think that the Keystone XL pipeline which is carrying oil through the heartland of the United States will not have the same problems?

Another thought came into my head. Remember when this was first proposed? Why was it that we needed to have this pipeline? Oh, I remember. It was for energy security and independence from the rest of the world. We needed this pipeline to produce crude so we can refine it and eliminate the importation of oil. Does anybody remember the arguments of the GOP back then? And why can't the GOP members of congress who have fought tooth and nail for this remember those arguments? And the reason I believe that this pipeline isn't being used for energy independence is also from the GOP. Remember when Iraq was hot and heavy with American casualties? The GOP was screaming that we needed energy independence and that government regulation had caused oil companies not to be building oil refineries for the past 20 years. And the reason that gas prices had risen so high is because of the lack of refining space. So where does this make sense outside GOP land? You have a lack of space to make the finished product, so you want to produce more raw materials. Where does the raw material go? To other countries so they can refine it and sell it back to us with a markup. That is what I call helping your donors, not solving the nations problems.

Finally, I will go back to a previous point. In all the reports of spills and leaks, there is nothing speaking about what damage the toxic substances do the environment or the wildlife. Why? I believe that it would cause major problems for the supporters of fossil fuels. It has been reported that it will take decades for the local wildlife and environment to revert back to the way it was for just a small spill. They are still finding that the oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico from the Gulfwater Horizon is affecting the wildlife. That it has caused medical problems with people and has killed the ability of people in certain industries to make a living.

This project has the potential to cause major problems for the country. Running pipeline through agricultural land can cause problems for our food. It can cause tainted food that gets into the distribution network and all of a sudden, we have a major catastrophe on our hands. And the reason that we are taking this chance? For money, nothing more, nothing less. Who says that elections don't mean anything. The people that elected the GOP into power knew what they wanted and are going to eventually get it. So if you voted for the GOP, I hope you get what you wanted. If you don't like what the GOP is doing and decided not to vote, stop your bitching. You voted with your non-action. Hope you like what you get.