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Environmental Report Raises Pressure On Obama To Approve Keystone Pipeline 301

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Reuters reports that pressure on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline increased on Friday after a State Department report played down the impact it would have on climate change, irking environmentalists and delighting proponents of the project. The long-awaited environmental impact statement concludes that the Keystone XL pipeline would not substantially worsen carbon pollution, leaving an opening for Obama to approve the politically divisive project as it appears to indicate that the project could pass the criteria Obama set forth in a speech last summer when he said he would approve the 1,700-mile pipeline if it would not 'significantly exacerbate' the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. The oil industry applauded the review. 'After five years and five environmental reviews, time and time again the Department of State analysis has shown that the pipeline is safe for the environment,' says Cindy Schild, the senior manager of refining and oil sands programs at the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for the oil industry. Environmentalists say they are dismayed at some of the report's conclusions and disputed its objectivity, and add that the report also offers Obama reasons to reject the pipeline. The report concludes that the process used for producing the oil — by extracting what are called tar sands or oil sands from the Alberta forest — creates about 17 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than traditional oil (PDF). But the report concludes that this heavily polluting oil will still be brought to market. Energy companies are already moving the oil out of Canada by rail. 'At the end of the day, there's a consensus among most energy experts that the oil will get shipped to market no matter what,' says Robert McNally. 'It's less important than I think it was perceived to be a year ago, both politically and on oil markets.'"
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Environmental Report Raises Pressure On Obama To Approve Keystone Pipeline

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  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:55PM (#46135059)

    "The long-awaited environmental impact statement concludes that the Keystone XL pipeline would not substantially worsen carbon pollution..."

    Pretty hard to "worsen" something that doesn't exist... Carbon is NOT a pollutant.

    Funny, you don't hear anybody talking about "Oxygen Pollution", even though oxygen makes up more of CO2 than carbon does, and in fact in high concentrations oxygen is poisonous, but carbon is not.

  • by Omega Hacker ( 6676 ) <> on Sunday February 02, 2014 @02:58PM (#46135067)
    While I generaly loathe our excessive use of fossil fuels, this is a case where the "market" is well in the lead of regulators. Those oils sands are already being dug up and processed, and the market is not going to let anything get in the way of that. This pipeline simply reduces the overall environmental impact and increases the safety (Casselton, North Dakota anyone?) of moving what is already being produced.
  • by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:00PM (#46135077)

    Carbon monoxide.

    Seeing as how every organic compound that exists, which includes nutrients and poisons, is based on carbon, just naming things that have carbon in them is pointless.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:03PM (#46135091)
    Rather predictably, someone has already modded my post "troll"... although I honestly have no idea who or what I'm supposed to be trolling.

    I guess maybe I offended somebody's religious beliefs.
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:10PM (#46135139)

    "Anything is a pollutant when large quantities are somewhere they shouldn't be."

    That doesn't justify the recent "fad" of "carbon pollution".

    I mean, your point is correct of course but scarcely relevant to this situation. The carbon in CO2 is no more a demon than the oxygen in CO2. And even if ALL the carbon in CO2 were free carbon particles in the air, it still wouldn't be very poisonous. (You might get black lung eventually, but that doesn't make it a "poison" in the conventional sense.)

    But again: even in the case of CO2 (which is what people are really referring to -- so far -- when they say "carbon pollution"), carbon is truly no more of a "culprit" than oxygen is.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:15PM (#46135181)

    "Now, see how far it gets you when millions of people fleeing the coastlines drive your property prices down."

    In order for that to happen, the seal level would have to rise significantly, and at a far higher rate than it actually has been rising over the last century.

    Even if IPCC's worst-case projections were correct, you have about a century before it would be a meter above where it is now. Better start fleeing.

  • False premisis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <yburxyno>> on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:22PM (#46135233)

    Many people seem to be under the delusion that if we don't allow the pipeline into the US that the oil wont be extracted. It is Canada's right to extract the oil and sell it to the market - and they will. By removing the pipeline to the US from the table all you are doing is forcing the market to adapt. The market can and will adapt by either using trucks to haul the oil (much higher risk of a spill) or by selling their product elsewhere.

    You lose the advantage of having the environmental impact of a single pipeline that is easy to monitor and the safest relative way to transport oil. Your instead replacing it with shipping through another pipeline to a port where it will be placed on ships and sent overseas. The most likely place to ship it to is China and you can rest assured they won't be worrying about environmental impact reports.

    Now the same amount of oil is being used and it has a higher impact on the environment during shipment and afterwards. Meanwhile the US will be importing oil from overseas to meet demand, again adding shipping risks and emissions. This is plainly worse for the environment and the net result is pretty much the opposite of people are trying to achieve.

  • Re:Spills (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:27PM (#46135257)

    From an economic standpoint it's basically a pipe from Canada to China.

    Seems like it. And from that perspective, my biggest concern is: who will pay for it?

    Is it being built entirely with money from the special interests involved? (Should be yes.)

    Will it have minimal environmental impact under normal conditions? (Should be yes.)

    Will the owners be responsible if ANYTHING goes wrong? (Should be yes.)

    Etc. If any of those answers are "no", then it should not be built. But don't trust Obama to decide bases on those criteria.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:39PM (#46135325)

    "You understand that when people talk about "carbon pollution", they mean carbon dioxide, right? You clearly do, since you say as much at the end of your post. So why are you talking as if anyone is concerned about free carbon particles floating around? We all know we're talking about CO2."

    Sure. For now. But will it stay that way? Probably not.

    Understand something: regardless of whether climate scientists are correct about CO2-based warming, it isn't just about the science. It's also about control. The phrase "carbon pollution" is no accidental turn of phrase, and Al Gore doesn't "accidentally" own shares in companies that profit from "warming" scares.

    Strictly regulating CO2 would give the government unprecedented control over the air. Control of "carbon", if the idea could be promoted enough, would give government control of virtually everything except maybe minerals and refined chemicals.

    In the same way that saying "piracy" when you really mean "downloading", saying "carbon pollution" instead of CO2 does the control freaks' work for them.

    These things don't happen by accident. That's not "conspiracy theory", it's just a fact. What something is called has a very strong effect on public perception.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:52PM (#46135397)

    "Difference being that lots of oxygen in the atmosphere is typically okay, while lots of carbon isn't. You were just explained this in the post you're replying to, and you wonder why you get modded troll? Protip: you're a troll."

    Do you know the slightest thing about what you are discussing?

    "Carbon" is NOT put into the atmosphere in huge quantities, at least by the Western world. Particulates are strictly regulated.

    It is CARBON DIOXIDE, not carbon, that is the alleged culprit here. Do you have these WHOOSH moments often?

    But despite the FACT that it is CO2, that is accused by some scientists of being a big problem and carbon is not, this article [] referenced by OP still tries to imply that carbon, all by itself, is a major problem. But IT ISN'T. Period.

    You are displaying exactly the misconception I was talking about in my first comment. Get it through your head: CARBON is not an atmospheric pollutant we need to worry much about in the Western world. Particulates are already strictly regulated. And in most of the rest of the environment (i.e., other than the air) it is simply not a significant problem at all.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @03:57PM (#46135429)

    "You understand that when people talk about "carbon pollution", they mean carbon dioxide, right?"

    I would also like to point out that the New York Times article linked to by OP very definitely DOES imply, in at least several different places, that carbon per se is a pollutant we need to worry about today. Which is both stupid and wrong.

  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @04:07PM (#46135479) Journal

    Not knowing a single damn thing about what they're doing has never stopped a politician before.

  • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @06:12PM (#46136035)

    (Casselton, North Dakota anyone?)

    Lac-Megantic, Quebec anyone? One thing about pipelines is that they don't tend to go through the centers of every small town along their route.

  • Re:False premisis (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @06:28PM (#46136125)

    You raised the point of Economics 101 - and it turns out that the best way to benefit from the economics of this is in fact to sell the finished products to the highest bidder. The idea that 'sucking the oil out of the midwest' is harmful to the economics of the region or the country is incorrect. Cheap oil price is not the best way to benefit from this resource.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @06:31PM (#46136133) Journal

    So tell you what, you pre-approve a refinery near the Canadian border and we'll stop pushing for the entirely sensible pipeline.

    Short of that, you're playing an obvious shell game.

    Either you misunderstand the situation or you're the one playing games.

    The point of the pipeline is not to get oil to the refineries, it's to get oil to refineries near a port that can ship to China.
    It's not a secret, but I'm surprised at how many people seem ignorant of this fact.

  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @08:32PM (#46136677) Journal

    The ironic part of your arguement is your argueing that oil that was scooped up in dirt, and extracted, would be impossible to clean up if it spilled back into the dirt!

  • by PrimaryConsult ( 1546585 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @08:59PM (#46136835)

    Yeah, over forty people could be killed and half of downtown destroyed! Oh wait, that wasn't a pipeline. []

    What rock didn't get that news?

    Even so, in what world is transporting oil in vehicles safer? Is your heart at ease when an SUV drives around crossing gates, barely clearing the tracks before a 40 car train of tankers moving at 70MPH rolls through? Do you live for the moments when you're driving among several of these tankers on the interstate? Or behind one at a railroad crossing [] (while it was a gasoline truck, I can't imagine the effect of oil being much better).

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @09:42PM (#46137025) Journal

    I think the focus on carbon comes from the carbon base of all the greenhouse gasses. Methane or CH4 is another man made greenhouse gas that also exists in nature and is about 4 times as strong as Co2.

    But please keep in mind, the natural sources of green house gases like Co2 are not considered the pollutants. It is the man made/ Man Contrived versions because somehow Man is a scourge on the planet and the Gaia hypothesis [] which is somewhat of a religious cult has been construed to state that we humans are hurting the soul of the earth known a Gaia. James Lovelock [] received much criticism for fashioning this theory as a religion but it seems as if it served us well if you are on the side of taking freedoms in favor of reducing everyone to the lowest common denominator.

    As for you seeing and understanding that Carbon is not the culprit but compounds of carbon, this doesn't fit the mold of political tendencies. After all, the entire history surrounding global warming or climate change is centered around political initiatives. First it was to redistribute the wealth with the Kyoto protocols and then it was about control of society itself. Scientists have already admitted that we cannot undo global warming- yet instead of dealing with the effects or impacts, we see things like this where the governments are trying to hamper progress in making life easier to live if it doesn't come from them and have the hidden control elements buried within.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling