What is the Keystone Pipeline Project?
- A project proposed by TransCanada Corporation in 2005.
- A pipeline from Northern Alberta to transport synthetic crude and bitumen to refineries in the United States.
- Consisting of four phases, oil was to be transported to a number of locations, the southernmost being in Houston, Texas
- Phase 1 and 2 have been completed and are already operational.
- Phase 1 goes from Northern Alberta, across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, down into North and then South Dakota, through Nebraska, taking an Eastern turn at Steele City. Phase 1 continues on across Kansas and Missouri, and stopping in Wood River and Patoka, Illinois.
- Phase 2 branches off from Steele City, southward, to Cushing, Oklahoma.
- Phase 3 was planned to begin at Cushing and move southward to Port Arthur and Houston, Texas.
- Phase 4 was planned to run straight from Alberta, southeast through Baker Montana, through South Dakota and Nebraska and into Steele City.
Why opposition to the project is bullshit:
Most of the work is already done. What’s left is getting the raw product to the refineries in Texas. This stuff must go to a refinery somewhere before it is any bit useful. The path of least resistance is an almost completely straight pipeline to Texas.
More importantly, it’s relatively safe. We transport all kinds of awful and hazardous fucking things all over the world all the time (oil, petro-chemicals, Justin Bieber albums, etc.). We transport by rail, by road and by boat – 24/7/365. We never hear about it because there is virtually never a spill. When the opposition to these projects gets all up in arms, they cite examples of the few times these kinds of transports go wrong.
What will Canada do?
- If the US keeps throwing up roadblocks, we will simply negotiate a deal with China and sell our oil there. This seems like a waste of the infrastructure that’s already in place. The American-hubris is strong. We don’t need you, but you do need vast amounts of oil.
- In my opinion; crossing the ocean with oil in a ship is far riskier, environmentally speaking, than a pipeline to Texas. As I stated earlier, the environmentalists are just too stoned to make the connection.
What effect will selling oil to China instead of the US have on trade relations between us?
- The average person can’t fathom the dollar figures that the oil industry deals with daily. It’s an understatement to say that oil trade is huge money. It’s so huge that we don’t have a word to describe how huge it is or how much money we’re talking about.
- Considering that we have some of the largest oil reserves in the world (3rd largest in the world), the US has the opportunity to buy from a country that they get along with, that is close by, and that shares a common British/European ancestry. The logistical processes are already in place (most of the pipeline is already built). The environmental impact is lessened because the oil isn’t being shipped by boat, rail, or truck (a pipeline can’t sink, de-rail, or crash).
Or you know… we could follow the example set by the European Union (most specifically Germany) and spend some of that unfathomable amount of dirty oil money on solar energy infrastructure.
The amount of money spent on wars and on advertising silly products in the past decade could have solved world hunger and at least provided every North American with free renewable energy.
For this to work it would need to be mandated by government – which would require the following:
- a population that desires it
- elected officials that actually listen to their constituents
- proper and fair allocation of resources (natural, capital, land and manpower) to benefit us all
It’s a shame that 78% of Americans polled desire an increased focus on solar energy (http://www.gallup.com/poll/161519/americans-emphasis-solar-wind-natural-gas.aspx) yet our two countries (Canada and the US) have been trying to get this Keystone shit to work since 2005. What is the opportunity cost of the time spent lobbying, the travel expenses, meetings, summits and other lip-service related activities to make/stop this project.
The technology exists to make our inhabiting of this planet sustainable; yet we spent eight years trying to negotiate and plan a project that doesn’t help us get to where we need to be as a species in 2050, 2100 or 2500. In my humble opinion, the problem resides in a few key factors detailed below. Some of these factors contribute to more than one global flub:
- Undervaluing education (and not investing heavily in it)
- Allowing individual states to determine their own curriculum (under-educated parents voting on what “facts” their children should be taught doesn’t work – get over it Kentucky)
- Development of national standards of education with an emphasis on verbal communication/English, Math, Biology/Life-Science, the Economy, Managing Personal Finances, Ethics, Chemistry and the Cosmos
- Lack of scientists, professors, researchers and other academics holding elected office at all levels of government
- Abundance of empty suits in Washington that pay lip service to their constituents while simultaneously getting a gentle hand-jibber from any of a large number of corporate interests that lobby Washington
Education is key to the door handle, but you also need to release the dead-bolt. The dead-bolt for the Gen-Y and Millenials is motivation.
If the under-educated parents in small town Kentucky force the local schools to teach that evolution is wrong – the student’s entire understanding of life science and how the world works completely falls apart. Do we really want a generation of these young crusaders for Christ to get into office and control the decisions that affect us all?
As a society in the early years of the 21st century – we have choices to make and actions to take.
What alternative choices could Western society have made between 1900 and 1914 that would have made life better/easier/healthier/more efficient/more peaceful or generally more positive today?
We need to think about our impact on future generations.
Will the children of 2500 view us as incredible innovators or incredible imbeciles?
Keystone XL is already there. The car is already built. It just needs the doors screwed on.
Bite the bullet on this project, let it happen. There’s no way it can be as awful as the pollution in the Pacific from Fukushima or the oil in the Gulf of Mexico from the BP spill.
Viva la revolution.