Obama Decides On Keystone XL

Obama announced at 11:00 Nov 6 in 2015 that the contentious Keystone XL program has been rejected.

This is written minutes after President Obama publicly announced his administration’s rejection of the Keystone upgrade project. LastTechAge has been following this since the original Keystone pipeline was approved, built and immediately called obsolete.

The President gave 3 justifications for his rejection of the project

  • Obama rejected the hype from both the far right, far left and shadings in between.

He rejected Right-wing claim that KXL would generate huge job opportunities for the foreseeable future. He is right.  There would be construction jobs, but no long range possibilities of new jobs. The 2010 Keystone line generated few long term jobs, the KXL would probably have generated fewer yet. Obama has already have achieved 5% unemployment in the face of congressional opposition and Congress appears unwilling to pass his legislation to generate job increases as much as 30 times higher than KXL would have.
No worry about true job loss.

He rejected the Left-wing claim that KXL would by itself cause devastating climate catastrophe by encouraging more raping of the Alberta wildlife.  He is right.  The U.S. does not have the power over the Canadian Athabasca fields. We would not even influence the Canadian population, always suspicious of U.S. motives.  Canadians must take care of the Alberta ecological disaster, themselves.  It will be really interesting to watch Trudeau with his new policies.
There will be no test of the climate disaster hypothesis – thank goodness.

He did not address the ground water issue.  We, at LastTechAge, listed this as the top issue for opposition.  KXL had significantly (A) larger pipe line diameters than those used in the current Keystone systems (for more volume flow), (B) thinner pipe walls than the standard used in Keystone (for lower expenses), and (C) oil pressure to push through more fluid than used in the leaky Keystone system. (A) (B) and (C) for the recipe for a disaster. Keystone records show that the intended inspection processes is terribly inadequate, to be polite, for assured aquifer protection KXL was a pending disaster for our Midwest population, but a really nice home-run for the deeply involved Koch brothers, with headquarters in Cushing Oklahoma.
Disaster averted.

  • Obama rejected the argument that KXL was super important to reduce oil prices.

He is right.  His point: oil prices are dropping anyway and he is working hard to get Congress to accept legislation to reduce our total usage, which will reduce prices further. He did not mention, however, the role Saudi Arabia has played by increasing its drain on the nearly exhausted Saudi oil pools. 
Prices will change as they will, independent of KXL reality.

  • Obama rejected the argument that the transport of “dirty crude”  (his phrase) is essential to maintain our energy independence and security.

He is right.  His point was that the goal for reduced oil imports that his administration set for 202o were met in 2015  –  his current policies are working!   He did not mention that the “crude” being shipped is the really dirty DILBIT, the abrasive result from the shale oil fields that is mixed with aggressive solvents to flow more smoothly along pipes but also attacks the walls.
He point out that his administration’s goal is for the U.S. to reduce reliance on oil and gasoline. Keep the oil reserves “in the ground” as he said.  He has legislation into Congress to increase “renewable” energy use, if only the congressmen (and women) will pass it.

An adjunct point is that the KXL oil was destined for the Gulf coast near major shipping ports.  It was never meant for U.S. consumption. If it were, there would have been major upgrades to the refineries in Illinois (where Keystone oil currently goes) and possible new refineries at Cushing, Oklahoma, where Texas oil and Keystone oil both reach. Better oil processing capabilities in the Midwest would mean new oil for our security.
TransCanada will now have to deal with Pacific Canadian ports or the Canadian East Coast ports.  Will Canadians allow it?

President Obama restated his ambition to maintain American world leadership for climate change abatement.  I do not have figures at-hand concerning the relative standing of our regulations vs other countries. But we have actively resisted regulating the various avenues of pollution and are not at the top.  Well, actually it has been our anti-governance Congress that has resisted making changes to secure a clean future for our children – I think Obama deserves a pass on this position.

This announcement was wonderful news and I felt a strengthening of our future directions, if only a little.

Charles J. Armentrout, Ann Arbor
2015 Nov 06
Listed under   Natural Resources … a post in the thread > Keystone XL
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About LastTechAge

I am a physicist with years of work in fusion labs, industry labs, and teaching (physics and math). I have watched the tech scene, watched societal trends and am alarmed. My interest is to help us all improve or maintain that which we worked so hard to achieve.
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