Defeating Keystone XL Would Be a Victory for Environmentalists, But It Might Mean More Dangerous Tar Sands Oil Moving Through Seattle

Comments

1
Bull

They were going to do this anyway

Just read the annual reports and SEC filings

2
If someone is willing to pay almost any price for something, others will spend almost any amount to supply it to them.

Keystone XL, go or no go is not relevant. The fact is people want cheap energy. Renewables, according to Obama's U.S. Energy Information Administration, are 2 to 5 times more expensive that energy derived from Coal or Oil. They also are not "dispatchable" like a carbon producing energy source. People want more energy, fire up another oil or coal burning generator. You can't make the wind blow, or blow harder, or the sun shine, or shine brighter.

There are already alternate pipelines to Canada's Atlantic Seaboard in the works, as well as pipelines to Kitimat in northern BC and Vancouver, in southern BC. As long as their are buyers, suppliers will get the stuff to market via rail, truck, other pipelines, etc. Of those choices, Keystone is the safest and most environmental way to get oil to market.

So defeating Keystone, will be pyric victor at best, since the same amount of carbons will be burned for energy anyway.

The problem is market demand for cheap, reliable, energy. In other words, you and I, readers.
3
How often do oil spills occyr from train derailments in Seattle, anyways??
Ohhhhh yeah.... That's right... The sky is falling.
4
How often do oil spills occur from train derailments in Seattle, anyways??
Ohhhhh yeah.... That's right... The sky is falling.
5
Only solidifies my belief that Keystone is just not worth the fight. Fossil fuels are one thing but just think of all the political capital that has been burned on this one stupid issue. The pipeline is routed through a bunch of red states full of idiots that support it - so let them build it and assume the risk. (Yes I know we all pay the costs of burning the oil but it will be burned anyway and when there is a spill we will step in as a nation to help clean it up but I'd still rather have the spill there than here.)
6
Fossil fuel tax subsidies == Corruption.

Always

Every time

Everywhere
7
@2 is there any topic you don't not understand? If I wanted fox news talking points I'd watch fox news.
8
This thing will be dead in a few months because of the oil crash. Tar sands require $80 oil to make a profit. We won.
9
@7, I actually don't watch Fox News at all. I enjoy reading many sources on many topics. I rely primarily on NPR, PBS NewsHour, and the like for data. I just think Keystone is sort of beside the point. If consumers insist on energy at current price points, Keystone does not get built, the carbon will be delivered anyway. If we don't want all the negative effects of destroying hydrocarbon molecules for energy, consumers need to change their behavior.

Haiti was under embargo before Aristide fell. All kinds of pipelines, some as small as garden hoses sprung up in the jungles and mountains along the border with the Dominican Republic to move gasoline, kerosene, and diesel to consumers in Haiti (and they are the poorest consumer market in the Western Hemisphere). It was illegal and authorities tried to stop it. But it was whack-a-mole as long as you had willing suppliers and consumers. The Keystone debate is the same phenomena writ large.
10
@9, NPR and PBS are not "reading". Turn off your television.

You do have a point, sort of, though. People want cheap gas. Everybody I know is crowing about how they paid $2.49, $2.09, $1.85, whatever. It has to come from somewhere.

Pipelines are by far the safest, but the most catastrophic when they fail. Oil trains are unpopular too. The only other alternative is trucks on highways, which is by far the least safe way to transport oil. So what to do.

The problem with oil trains is not the legislature; it's the inadequate infrastructure of the state's rail network. The high capacity tunnel, Cascade Tunnel at Stevens Pass, is way oversubscribed -- it runs at higher than 100% capacity, because it's much faster than the alternative, and it avoids Seattle altogether (it hits the mainline to the north, at Everett).

The alternative, the Stampede Tunnel through Stampede Pass, is slower, lower capacity, and comes out at Auburn, meaning the trains have to go through Seattle. You can also go along the Gorge to Vancouver, but that really sucks, and involves even more congestion.

No one, not the oil companies, not the freight companies, not the legislature, not the public, wants to send oil trains through Stampede Pass if they can possibly help it. But they have to, because of congestion, so that you can drive your cars and heat your houses and blow the confetti cannons off at your Seahawks games.

The risk of oil trains is vastly overstated, but if you want to minimize it, the thing to do is, yes, improve the safety standards of the cars, which is already happening, but more importantly by far: BUILD INFRASTRUCTURE.

Sadly, building infrastructure is one thing that everyone, right and left, agrees we will never do. Just as a for instance, if the Viaduct tunnel money had been spent on rail line improvements instead, and maybe even starting to think about a new Cascades rail crossing, everyone would be better off. but that requires forward thinking, which never gets anywhere in this state.
11
@10. Right on!
12
They could take the old Milwaukee Road pass through the Cascades and restore that, but it's been turned to trails, and who wants to destroy a trail? (and besides, that crosses our Cedar River Watershed, and we really don't want hazardous cargo anywhere near that)

But I guess the biggest question is why doesn't TransCanada ship this stuff trans-Canada? Why do we have to be their lackey? There's east-west rail lines in Canada, and they go across even more remote territory than our lines do.
13
re: renewables cost more -

not when you take "externalities" into account

re: the oil will find a way so why bother blocking keystone, wa state oil trains, et al -

if we are serious about pushing for less carbon in our energy consumption footprint we should be fighting on all fronts. and hope for solidarity from like minded interests who will find themselves on other front lines. this argument could have been used to thwart the union movement ("if you strike, someone else will take your job") but they did it and now we have weekends.
14
Um, why is tar sands oil "dangerous?" AKA bitumen, tar sands oil is heavy and stable. There have been "stability" problems with the lighter Bakken oils, but not the tar sands glop.
15
The cheapest, safest way to transport oil is by rail. B.N.S.F. has updated their rail cars to the new double walled specifications for rail cars. If you ever drive down I-5 towards Longview southbound look on the right side and see the older style rail cars, hundreds of them waiting to be recycled. First it was the coal cars going through Seattle spewing coal dust. What a joke that was. There was NO coal dust spewing out of the rail cars that creeped through Seattle headed to Bellingham. The coal is headed to Japan and our ports benefit from the fees to load the tankers with the product. What they do with it is none of our business.