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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Obama Cautiously Wades Into Pipeline Politics

The debate over the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project intensified this weekend, as thousands of people demonstrated outside the White House on Sunday to urge President Obama to halt the planned construction.

The protesters’ message was clear: Many of them had voted for Obama in 2008, but their support for his re-election campaign would hinge on the Keystone XL decision. Meanwhile, other interests are more quietly trying to convince the president to approve the pipeline. The debate has put Obama in a tough bind, with significant political risks involved whichever way he goes — a fact that might cause the president to delay taking a stand for as long as possible.

  • rustacus21

    Looking down the road, we can say w/certainty that the world we leave for our ancestors will be nothing short of a trash-heap, with cesspools for lakes, rivers and oceans. Looking behind us, we can curse the collective voter indecision/inaction made, in ignore President Carter’s insistence we immediately start down the path to rejection and discontinuance of carbon fuels, replaced through strategic initiatives in the creation of renewable energy sources. Rather than simply being a debate about energy, it has become disfigured into a name-calling match, involving money (in a recessionary age), jobs (in an age of the highest unemployment since the last Republican Great Depression), legislative autonomy in considering the above, in the the context of the environment and the business community’s responsibility in being an honest broker for once. The Pipeline issue is cut & dry: the risk of accidents is greatly multiplied, endangering a greater range of natural systems, such as the spills in Michigan and Montana over the last year. The proposed pipeline would cross 1700 miles of U.S. territory, but already, ruptures seem endemic, as the pipes themselves are unable to handle the heavier, thicker tar sands petroleum, which must be chemically treated, in order to flow thru the pipeline w/greater ease. This is, however, the problem. The chemical additives make a spill three times as deadly to both human and animal life, as well as having a higher cleanup costs. Costs, we should remember, that will be borne by the American tax payer. Costs which also are unnecessary, if that same multiples of billions of dollars is directed toward renewable energies R&D, along with upgrading technology efficiency measures, which reduce fossil fuel usage. If the issue is reduced to jobs, this is a no-brainer… Mr. President… Mr/Ms. Legislators… Mr. & Ms. American voter… But decide we must, on the only path we have left…

  • Wib

    Those of us living near the Gulf well understand the danger of accidents that could poison an aquifer or stream. This project is not needed. We need to concentrate more on environmentally friendly sources of energy. Nothing is worth the danger this pipeline would hold for water resources.

  • issyjet

    I suggest that where they are Pumping and Fracking the sluge for refining!
    They are set up to ship it by rail as this is being read. But a pipe line once built will leak. Yellow Stone River summer of 2011.
    Oh ya so will a train wreck of 100 or so of tankers cars might too!
    Eastern Montana and Western Noth Dakota locals are suffering the brunt of the boom!

    I just spent the summer in the oil patch central (Williston ND) and thought with the wells going in……… make the mineral right owner build a couple of wind mills on the sureface rights they have and put that energy on the grid!
    OH YA the wind does blow on the Prarie!
    That would not make CENTS????

  • AnnaSolomon

    Why just not build a refinery in Alberta? Yeah maybe the JOBS would go to Canadians and not Americans but it would keep the probability of spills and leaks down to a minimum. Again we are looking at the uber rich oil barrons in Texas looking at how much richer they are going to get.

  • Ted Winchel

    Ever since the Neanderthals, the Homo erectus and eventually us Homo sapiens began to spread world wide we have eaten and destroyed every environment we have inhabited, with very few exceptions. Since by and large we don’t get it, this unfortunate trend seems not to change. Since we are the only earth creatures with out predators our numbers continue to out populate that which can support us which will possible be our undoing. It is no surprise then that there are those who are still willing to put at risk the life sustaining environment for such questionable short term gains. Every thing about the tar sands endeavor as presently practiced is a very bad idea. It seems like we are rushing head long into one disaster after another.

    Ted Winchel, Bend, Oregon

  • InterLyF

    Our centuries of human experience should have by now taught this unique intelligent species that we claim to be, that wherever a failure mechanism exists, that failure will certainly occur. Where the consequences of failure are as devastating as the particular pipeline system being considered for tar-sand gunk transfer, how could any intelligent cadre propose such an enterprise? How can any intelligent community allow it to go forward?

  • imquiltercb

    Below is a copy of the letter sent to Senator Toomey on CCR’s (coal dust protection). I think most of it applies to the pipeline as well.

    While I understand your position, I think that NOW is the time to start regulating the coal, oil and gas industries to prevent pollution. I firmly believe, with President Obama, that we need now to move aggressively on pollution issues and alternate energy sources. This action will, ultimately save lives, help the planet, and provide the jobs we need for the future. I think we are currently trying too hard to prop up traditional energy sources. Coal, gas and oil production are limited, ultimately, and many of the attempts to continue our efforts to prop up production result in threats to air and water quality as well as health. At this point, we are better off protecting the environment and throwing our resources behind new energy sources. This not only includes solar and wind sources, but the development of batteries that can use chemical means to produce energy. Only by a concerted effort can we develop the alternative resources we will need in the future in time to avoid potential shortages and their consequences. The ultimate combined effect of prompt action in this area will result in a net improvement to our economy and our future as a country.

    We have been successful before as a country in meeting many technical challenges, and we can do it again if we can develop the political will to make the change. Leadership from Congress will help the American people see the importance of making the move towards protecting the future by aggressively pursuing alternative energy.