Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Somewhat Counterintuitive

You would think that, given the disaster in The Gulf, it would be clear sailing for the Keystone XL pipeline, that would import up to 900,000 barrels per day of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. You would, however, be wrong, as this letter from 50 congressional representatives makes clear:

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in asking Secretary Clinton to consider the climate change impacts when determining whether it is in our national interest to increase the amount of tar sands oil imported into the United States.

All but two signatories (Price and Moran) are Democrats, for what that's worth.

And an interesting justification:

As members of Congress, we are bound to protect the national interest of this country and its citizens. Building this pipeline has the potential to undermine America’s clean energy future and international leadership on climate change; we ask that the Department of State exercise due diligence in its permitting process for Keystone XL, carefully weighing all impacts of the project.

As I've argued before, if Canada cannot force an oil sands clean-up, then let the yanks do it for us, even if their environmental concern is a mere guise for protectionism. After all, the Americans are immune to Western rumblings about building fire-walls and separating.


Paul S said...

The Dems and lefties are hostile to all oil whatever the source so their continued animosity to tar sands oil is not surprising.

But, it is a bark without a bite. Dems use as much oil as cons (if not more) and the tar sands are a safe, secure source.

Lenny said...

That the tar sands are the most carbon intense oil available means it certainly isn't a safe source. It will also become very expensive when emitters are no longer able to pass on their emission costs to everyone else.
Ultimately Albertans will be the only ones buying it, and if Alberta has separated from Canada by that point, Alberta will become Mongolia - with cheap gas.

Paul S said...

"Safe" also means security of supply, which will always be a critical issue for a country like the US. Tar sands oil is safe, Saudi oil isn't.

"Safe" also applies to the environment. Using tar sands oil protects coastlines from catastrophic spills from offshore oil.

The above factors heavily favor tar sands oil in spite of the small increase in carbon emissions from producing tar sands oil.

I wouldn't be worried about the future of the tar sands anytime soon Lenny.

lma1 said...

'Oil extraction from tar sands is polluting, destructive, expensive, and energy-intensive. These things are facts. I think suggesting this process can come close to approximating being "greened" is misleading, or far too optimistic, or perhaps both. It stands along side clean coal and error free deepwater drilling as more PR than reality.'

These are the words of John Podesta in a keynote speech today at a Canada 2020 forum on "Greening the Oil Sands". The rest of the speech entitled "The Dirty Truth About Tar Sands" can be read at

The terrible environmental and economic costs of the Deepwater Horizon disaster will hopefully hasten the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. The Americans are beginning to see the light, Canadians I fear, not.

Jim said...

The naive is thick in here.

Companies that exploit the tar sands are required to restore harvested areas to pristine or better when they are done.

Funny you didn't read that or see pictures of post use areas in the National Geographic. Bias much?

Look into it.

Sure it is energy intensive turning sticky dirt into pure hydrocarbons.

Fortunately we are not bobbing a mile from the sea floor and drilling thousands of feet beyond the sea floor.

Yes the tar sands are safe and stable as well as production being easy to gage. Our friends to the south would probably annex us over them if the need was great enough...scary stuff. Do any of you understand how much is there and how important it is to Canada?

Wish away about an oil free world, but we could easily be 100 years away from that.

Maybe you dedicated Libs that want to make a difference should focus on coal plants...they suck!

Atomic power for cities, hydrogen, electric and biodiesel from algae for motive transport...sad I won't live to see it.

lma1 said...

Jim, you're the one who is naive if you think that planting some grass and saplings restores boreal forest habitat thousands of years old, or that pipelines carrying tar sands oil won't leak, or that tankers carrying tar sands oil won't run aground, or that leaking tailings ponds won't contaminate ground water.

Again from Mr. Podesta's speech:

"The Keystone XL Pipeline would pass over the deep end of the largest underground aquifer in the United States, which supplies water to 2 million people and is critical to the region's agricultural economy. Even a small spill in this part of the country could have disastrous consequences on the economy, the environment, and public health."

Why don't you look into it?