Keystone pipeline: Too much risk, not enough reward

Exxon oil spill, Mayflower, Ark., March 2013
This is an EPA photo of Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline spill in Mayflower, Ark., on March 29. Do you still want to see the Keystone XL pipeline run the length of our country, carrying the same diluted bitumen (tar sands) oil — but ten times more? Canadian oil at that. Most of it not bound for the US at all, but for our ports, for export to China and elsewhere. The only jobs it will generate will be temporary, two years of construction work. Period. Decidedly not worth decades of risk to the American heartland. Except, of course, for Canada, the oil companies, and all those overseas markets.

_____________

See all the EPA’s Mayflower oil spill photos here.

About the Pegasus pipeline:

The Pegasus pipeline that ruptured and spilled thousands of gallons of tar sands crude in Mayflower was 65 years old, and was initially built to carry thinner oil at lower pressure in the opposite direction than today.

The 858-mile Pegasus Pipeline operates from Patoka, Ill., to Nederland, Tex.



Categories: Green, Money, Politics

10 replies

  1. There are already so many pipelines to the refineries(not oil companies – many foreign owned) – pipelines which in good repair are much safer than rail or truck. Ocean transport is risky.
    It will be really hazardous to run that pipeline across Canada(through pristine areas) to the west coast and run tanker/ships into pristine water. And that’s what Canada has already said it will do. I guess it’s their country – but that ocean water and animal life – spills would affect that whole coastline
    Complex situation

    • It’s no less hazardous to run that pipeline across our farmlands and our water supplies. It’s destined for ports and tankers either way. It’s just a matter of whose land is put at risk from the pipeline. I say let the Canadians assume the risk for moving Canadian oil.

      • Lots of international politics involved – and like they listen to any of us.
        Think it involves strategic supply abilities. I’d be more concerned about developing working partnerships/ eco development with nearby countries in this hemisphere rather than at a distance. That would ease the immigration motivations and be good for everyone.
        Those forces pushing the development of the trans continental highway ( through Mexico across US and across Canada) want the pipe line stopped so they can get mandate to build that monster (and steal people’s farmlands and ranches). Then the trucks can carry that oil to refineries and fuel both ways. I am opposed to this road for many reason – have researched. It is not in the mid west’s best interest.
        International/multinational countries are making too many decisions with real consequences for the average person.
        (The gulf / gulf ports already has the experience and handles refined products and chemicals – probably the best ones to do it – along with double hulled US monitored tankers)
        Looks like it’s not a win-win for anyone either way

        • Ugh, that transcontinental highway (I assume you refer to the NAFTA Super Highway or Super Corridor, Ports to Plains Corridor, etc.) makes me ill every time I think about it. So much more than oil is going to be crossing or coming into the country that way. Trucks not US regulated for safety and pollution with drivers not licensed in the US. Drugs. Illegal immigrants. Illegal and potentially dangerous plants and animals. We are not the world’s doormat. (Not yet, anyway.) Our land should not be up for grabs by corporations (foreign or domestic) and governments wanting to enrich themselves at our expense. As for the grabbing/stealing/condemning of our farmlands and ranches for the highway, I assume there are similar, ongoing transactions for the Keystone pipeline right-of-way.

  2. …the “NAFTA superhighway” is a bizarre myth / conspiracy story — usually quickly followed by the ‘common currency myth’ / United North American States and others. There are, as part of NAFTA and the “North American Security Perimeter” plan, plans to harmonize security and safety regulations which will eventually result in trucks being secured in one country and driven through to the other ones… what Mexico will be getting out of the arrangement is pretty much the same access to the States that Canada already has.

    It means trucks going into the neighbouring country are monitored and secured.

    As for “Canadian oil”, 60% of the oil & gas consumed by Americans comes from Canadian oil fields. We ship it to you raw — mostly by pipelines, from Alberta — to your refineries turn it into whatever you need. If you really want “Canadians to accept the risk for moving Canadian oil’, you’ll probably need to find a way to replace that 60%…

    Keystone actually (almost entirely) follows the path of already existing pipelines. And, yes, if the US decides against Keystone, your government will have to find alternative sources of oil… and Canada will expand its pipelines east, to New Brunswick, and west to British Columbia, and then on to supply Japan, China and Europe with cheap and stable oil.

    Considering the stakes in this — less American involvement / funding / investment in South America and the Middle East, literally billions in lost revenues to country’s barely holding back their anti-American sentiments — I find it odd that people your country would assume conflicted interests couldn’t be funding the anti-Keystone rallies.

    Regardless… if it doesn’t go ahead it will really have very little effect on Canada / Canadians. Our banks are solvent, our housing market is doing just fine, our currency is strong. The oil will sell somewhere. Besides, it’s mostly American companies which have invested in the “oil sands”. I believe the number I read most recently was roughly $200 billion over the past ten years, with another $250 billion over the next few years. So (ironically), if there’s no Keystone, American companies will have to build the trans-Canada pipelines to return their investment. China, Europe are in there as well. We’re an open market, this is most definitely not a “Canadian project”, it’s a world project.

    • I appreciate getting a Canadian point of view on this. Understand I have nothing against Canada or Canadians, and I don’t really care who is building the pipeline. I just don’t want our land (or yours either) spoiled for the proliferation of dirty fossil fuels. We should be spending our money developing clean, renewable fuels.

      As for the NAFTA Superhighway being a myth, I hope you’re correct. But it makes too much sense (and cents) not to be real, at least in some minds. Facilitating globalization, international trade and commerce, etc. I may not be able to escape increasing globalization, but I don’t have to like it. I’m old-fashioned that way.

      • Actually, I checked, and that whole “trucks moving between countries” thing is dead. It was called the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, and was meant to fix some parts of NAFTA:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_and_Prosperity_Partnership_of_North_America

        Here’s the thing… what’s happening in Arkansas is a tragedy. But it’s an *American* pipeline, built by *Americans* to the standards of *American* federal and state governments. If the standards aren’t strong enough, if there’s not enough environmental protection or regulations, demand more. But the oil is going to run no matter what. If Keystone is killed, other pipelines will either be built or existing pipelines will be expanded. It will happen.

        Yes, more money needs to be spent developing technologies such as wind and solar. But there are no magical anti-oil energy programs, anywhere, that can reproduce the energy or products produced by oil. It’ll be great when there is, but until then this is a basic fact: the United States needs oil, and Canada has as much as Saudi Arabia.

        Believe it or not the people who produce oil in ‘other countries’ don’t like the idea of Americans getting more oil from Canada. We’re not a part of OPEC, we don’t set oil prices based on how many Bugatti’s our King’s sons want, we also don’t use the profits to fund terrorist groups. Those countries have hired lobbyists who are working American politicians as hard as any NRA lobbyist.

        • But Keystone oil isn’t destined for America. It’s destined for overseas. If all that oil was for the US, maybe it would be worth sacrificing and endangering so much of our land. But it’s not. It’s destined for our Gulf Coast refineries and then to foreign countries.

          • Again, Canada does not have anything to do with where the oil goes, who buys the end product, or what products it ends up in… that’s entirely up to the company’s which own the oil. The oil is taken out of the ground by companies based in Canada, Europe, America and China, it then goes to mostly American refineries, and then is sold to whomever wants it by whichever company paid to have it refined.

            …if a Chinese-based company pays to extract 600,000 barrels of Alberta oil, it then pays to ship it over the pipeline to a refinery — usually an American-based one and, after it has been refined, the company then pays to have its refined product shipped to wherever it wants — because the product belongs to them, they paid for it. They rented space in the pipeline, they paid for the refinery’s time, it’s their oil.

            But that 600k of oil is mixed in with the 600k from an American company, which may sell their product overseas, and the 600k extracted by a European company which may sell their oil exclusively to American markets — but, really, a little bit will go There, a little bit will go Here and a little bit will end up Somewhere Else.

            So, yes, some of the oil travelling on the pipeline is definitely meant for “other” markets, but I don’t see how that’s a change from how the system has worked for the past 100 years.

            …maybe it would be worth sacrificing and endangering so much of our land.

            …if the regulations regarding pipelines are not strong enough to protect the environment these pipelines go through, get better ones. That’s an American issue. But the whole thing about “Canadian oil” being at fault, or that “Alberta tar sands” oil is somehow more dangerous to humanity than other oil, that’s public relations speak for other issues — like climate change, and the loss of revenue and market share that will occur with more oil from Canada entering the OPEC-dominated marketplace.

            • I understand. But regardless of who owns the oil, it’s coming out of the ground in Canada and it’s destined for refineries and ports clear down on our Gulf Coast. That’s a long distance, some 2,000 miles, a lot of unnecessary exposure for our farms, ranches, and water supplies. I have no confidence whatsoever in the oil companies to properly maintain that pipeline and prevent the sorts of environmental disasters we’ve seen over the years. We saw how inept BP was with their Gulf spill. And in Arkansas, Exxon is resorting to paper towels to clean up their mess.

"There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees." ~ Michel de Montaigne

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