Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Environment, Progressivism | Tags: Envirnomental Activist Pressure, Relations With Canada, The Keystone XL Pipeline
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has approved the new route for the Keystone XL pipeline from the Canadian oil fields. The State Department approved it previously, when the projected route ran through Nebraska’s Sand Hills, but now they will have to approve it again. The pipeline was halted when President Obama denied the northern sector because of environmentalist pressure. We’ll see what happens this time.
Looking through my own archives, I see that I’ve written 8 posts just about the Keystone battles, including one about Democrats’ consistent attempt to redefine problems away, prompted by the hapless Jay Carney’s attempt to claim that the history is quite clear, it was the Republicans who cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline. (The GOP played Politics?)
The Keystone XL project promised 20,000 high paying jobs, which the economy badly needs, and an estimated 250,000 spinoff jobs along the pipeline route as it moved down from Canada to the refineries in Texas and Oklahoma. Environmentalists used the Sand Hills as an excuse, but their real reason is that they don’t want the pipeline — period. The denial was a major foreign-policy gaffe, and caused some real hard feelings with our northern neighbor. Canadians have their problems with activist greens as well.
Since Hillary Clinton is departing, and the new nominee is John Kerry, subject to Senate approval, it may be stopped in its tracks at the State Department, getting Obama off the hook. The Kerrys are movers and shakers in the environmental movement. It will be put off until after the new Secretary of State is in office. I’m not hopeful.
Apparently good paying jobs and economic growth are no longer a particular concern. Unemployment went unmentioned in the Inaugural speech, and the economy was dismissed with the simple comment that it is recovering, though there is little evidence that it is. There are fewer Americans working now than there were when Obama was inaugurated in 2009. The national debt has increased dramatically. Although jobs are being created slowly, there are not enough to keep pace with the numbers of new people entering the work force. Since June 2009, the economy has grown at a rate of 0.4% a year. That’s beyond slow.
The speech was filled with promises to conquer global warming — unnecessary, since there has been no warming at all in the 21st century, and may be cooling for something like 30-35 years. Climate change does not cause “the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.” Drought and storms are weather, not climate — and raging fires are caused by an Interior Department unwilling to thin forests and insistent on promoting roadless areas, so it’s hard to reach fires to control them.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Energy, Environment, Freedom, Progressivism, The United States | Tags: The Keystone XL Pipeline, Twenty Thousand Jobs, Will Obama Deny It Again?
Opponents of the Keystone XL Pipeline last year protested vigorously about the route the pipeline would take, with claims that the planned route would cross ecologically sensitive areas of Nebraska’s Sand Hills, although the State Department had already approved it. That was supposedly what led to the U.S. government’s denial of permits last year, although I suspect the government would have grabbed at any excuse. The environmental lobby was opposed to the pipeline. They only like the kinds of energy that don’t work.
The new route which goes from Alberta down to Nebraska will cost a projected $5.3 billion, and is backed by TransCanada Corp. The pipeline will connect Canada’s booming oil sands industry with the important refineries and ports along the Texas Gulf Coast, and provide millions of new jobs.
The State Department’s environmental report will be released soon, and could decide the fate of the pipeline. Nebraska’s governor, Dave Heineman, now has 30 days to decide whether to go forward with this project change or not.
Obama denied permission to the pipeline last year, catering to his environmental supporters demands, and rousing the ire of most Americans and the Canadian government. The original application was made in 2008.
The pipeline promised 20,000 jobs constructing the pipeline, and estimated 250,000 spinoff jobs. The hapless Jay Carney last year redefined the whole process to make the denial the Republican’s fault. It had to be somebody’s fault, the decision wasn’t popular, and nothing is ever Obama’s fault. The American people were well aware that we needed the jobs.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid loftily proclaimed that:
The proponents of the pipeline would be wiser to invest in job-creating clean energy projects, like renewable power, energy efficiency, or advanced vehicles that could employ thousands of people in the United States, rather than increasing our dependency on unsustainable supplies of dirty and polluting oil that could easily be exported. The fastest and best way to break our addiction to oil and free our country and our economy from the dangerous grip of OPED is to develop and deploy new technologies and clean affordable alternatives that destroy demand for oil, not exacerbate it.
Every word is false, including ‘the’ and ‘and.’ The linked article provides corrections. Has the climate changed now that Obama doesn’t have to run for re-election and big contributions are not so necessary? Will the crony-capitalism practiced by the administration fade out? Don’t bet on it.
But we really do need those new jobs. The employment picture in not improving, but continuing to decline. The job-numbers portray the number of jobs created in an ever smaller group of working Americans; which creates a false impression. We had 155,000 new jobs created last month, 40% of them subsidized by the government. It takes a minimum of 200,000 jobs just to keep pace with new people entering the job market. And pipeline jobs are good high-paying jobs.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Election 2012, Energy, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Progressivism | Tags: Ogallala Aquifer, Real Energy Inventory, The Keystone XL Pipeline
Gas prices here in the Seattle area are over $4.00 a gallon, but we have high taxes as well — 55¢ a gallon. Taxes are even higher in New York and Connecticut. Remember back in 2008 when Obama was on the campaign trail. “If everybody in America inflated their tires to the proper level,” he said, “we would actually save more oil than we’d get from drilling.” uh huh.
— Only 3 percent of federal lands are currently leased for oil production.
— In North America alone there is enough oil to fuel every passenger car in the United States for 430 years.
— The Obama administration’s permitorium in the Gulf has resulted in 57 percent fewer deepwater permits, a 68 percent reduction in shallow-water permits, and a 50 percent reduction in plans that gain approval in the year-to-date.
— The U.S. is the third largest oil-producing nation in the world, behind only Saudi Arabia and Russia. Our total recoverable resources are more than six times the proved reserves of Saudi Arabia.
— In fiscal year 2011, oil production on federal lands decreased by 11 percent, while oil production on private and state lands increased by 14 percent.
Obama keeps repeating the canard that while we use over 20 percent of the world’s oil resources, we only produce 2 percent of the world’s oil. And though he showed up in Cushing, Oklahoma to have his picture taken with some oil pipes, he did not “approve” the lower part of the Keystone XL pipeline. His approval was neither needed or wanted.
Obama says that it was essential to refuse to approve the Keystone XL from Canada, because the Republicans wouldn’t give him enough time to make sure that it was safe for the American people, and to protect the great Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska. The Keystone XL had been approved by every applicable governmental agency. There are all sorts of pipelines running through the aquifer already, quite safely. Trans Canada was quite willing to move the pipeline route.
He’s on the campaign trail again. If he wanted the Keystone XL pipeline and the jobs that it promises, he would move heaven and earth to make it happen. Note all the silly solar energy arrays that he flies all over the country to promote. Ignore what he says. Watch what he does.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Election 2012, Energy, Politics | Tags: Obama Rejects 20000 Jobs, The Keystone XL Pipeline, The Unemployed Not a Concern
President Obama today rejected the Keystone XL pipeline. I guess Valerie Jarrett didn’t approve. The president said he was not acting on the merits of TransCanada Corp.’s proposal, but instead was forced to make the decision based on the “arbitrary” deadline mandated by GOP provisions in December’s payroll tax cut extension deal. Snort!
The “arbitrary” deadline was February 21. I guess he thinks that this will stop the discussion of the huge numbers of jobs promised by TransCanada’s proposal (the environmentalists have already cost lost jobs as manufacturers of pipeline materials have laid off workers).
“As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama said in a prepared statement.
“As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree,” Obama added.
So you see, the decision isn’t really Obama’s fault — blame Hillary. “Health and safety of the American people” indeed. Codswallop. The XL pipeline had already been vetted by every applicable federal agency, and the State Department was all set to sign off on it, until Obama was, I assume, threatened by Big Green. The environmental organizations play hardball. The president of the Energy Policy Research Foundation wrote in December:
For Canadians, it was unthinkable that a U.S. president would pull the plug after extensive reviews and 57 project-specific requirements exceeding all U.S. pipeline safety standards, including satellite-linked, computerized leak-detection systems and puncture-resistant steel pipe. Even one of TransCanada’s competitors, Enbridge, which ships Canadian crude through existing cross-border pipelines, supported the Keystone permit: Any interruption in the historic bilateral energy trade relationship was a more serious threat to its business than crude shipments by competitors.
The decision to delay the project is such a shift in expectations on the future of U.S.-Canadian energy trade that perhaps the only surprising outcome is that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not recalled his ambassador. He did announce that shipping the crude to Asia will now receive the highest priority.
Obama used to be very enthusiastic about “shovel-ready” jobs, until he found they weren’t shovel-ready, long after he’d distributed the funding. Keystone XL is shovel-ready. The picture above is of the Keystone pipeline which is currently flowing along happily through the United States. The XL is simply an extension. Again, from The Wall Street Journal:
In April 2010 and again this August, State produced multivolume environmental impact statements that concluded the pipeline would have “no significant impacts” on the environment. That should have ended the matter.
But the President’s environmentalist friends have decided to make Keystone a test of his green virtue. “We’ll see if [Mr. Obama] is an oil guy or a people guy,” eco-agitator Bill McKibben recently warned at an Occupy Wall Street event, and the Sierra Club has threatened that it won’t “mobilize the environmental base” in 2012 if he approves the project. Various Hollywood worthies have marched in front of the White House in protest.
More interesting details: “President Obama’s jobs council called on Tuesday for an “all-in-approach” to energy policy that includes expand oil-and-gas drilling as well as expediting energy projects like pipeline.”
“[W]e should allow more access to oil, natural gas and coal opportunities on federal lands,” states the year-end report released Tuesday by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
The report does not specifically mention the Keystone XL oil pipeline, but it endorses moving forward quickly with projects that “deliver electricity and fuel,” including pipelines.
“The Council recognizes the important safety and environmental concerns surrounding these types of projects, but now more than ever, the jobs and economic and energy security benefits of these energy projects require us to tackle the issues head-on and to expeditiously, though cautiously, move forward on projects that can support hundreds of thousands of jobs,” the report says.
President Obama has an odd mindset, which is echoed by Democrats like Nancy Pelosi. He was absolutely set on the payroll tax cut, which would put about $1000 a year into working people’s pay, by diverting that amount from their contributions to Social Security, putting the fund deeper in the hole.
The president believes that the payroll tax cut “will spur spending. It will spur hiring.” This is derived from Keynesian economics. Democrats believe that government money inserted into the economy by citizen spending will have a “multiplier effect” that will somehow create jobs. This was what was expected from the stimulus, from the “Cash for Clunkers” and all the other billions of taxpayer money that accomplished nothing. If there is a “multiplier effect,” it isn’t much, and it clearly does not create jobs. But Obama’s ideas are set in concrete.
Environmentalists have tried to pooh-pooh the employment claims by pipeline proponents, but TransCanada spelled out just how many, and exactly what positions would open for each section of the 1,700 mile pipeline. And the pipeline does have a “multiplier effect.” The construction jobs are, by the nature of construction, temporary, but new workers in a region means new business for all local concerns, for truckers bringing materials, for restaurants. Educated guesses put that number at 250,000 jobs.
Obama’s decision is clearly not based on “the health and safety of the American people.” The EPA tries to get away with that one too, and it doesn’t work. The decision is pure politics. Obama is more scared of losing Big Green than he is of losing Big Labor. He thinks his extension of the Payroll tax cut will create enough jobs to get him off the hook with the unemployed, and he needs that Big Green funding because the donations aren’t coming in as well as forecast.
The Keystone XL pipeline requires no new technology or research, no taxpayer funds, while generating new tax revenue, all with virtually no financial or environmental risk. There is nothing new about pipelines. We have over 2.3 million miles of pipelines, including about 55,000 miles of crude oil trunk lines. They are the safest mode of transporting the lifeblood of the nation. Trains can derail, trucks can crash, tankers can rupture, sink, or run aground. The Keystone XL would allow us to reduce oil imports from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait by 25% or more.
Obama once said “This is our moment. This is our time — to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity.. ” Political hooey. Just words, no commitment.
Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Election 2012, Energy, Environment | Tags: Jobs Are Not a Priority, The Keystone XL Pipeline, The Priority is the Campaign
TransCanada has proposed a pipeline, the Keystone XL, which would bring 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the oil sands of Canada’s Alberta Province all the way to Texas and Oklahoma refineries. Application was made in 2008, and as an international project, it was the responsibility of the State Department. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was expected to approve it. She said” there is no reason to believe” that the State Department is “biased in favor of the pipeline,” and ” it is better to get oil from a friendly neighbor like Canada than from the Middle East.” All the regulatory agencies have approved it. So what’s the problem?
Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid has other ideas. He wrote on October 5 that:
The proponents of the pipeline would be wiser to invest instead in job-creating clean energy projects, like renewable power, energy efficiency or advanced vehicles and fuels that could employ thousands of people in the United States rather than increasing our dependency on unsustainable supplies of dirty and polluting oil that could easily be exported…The fastest and best way to break our addiction to oil and free our country and our economy from the dangerous grip of OPEC is to develop and deploy new technologies and clean affordable alternatives that destroy demand for oil not exacerbate it.
To quote an old, but famous line about another subject: Every word of that statement is false including ‘and’ and ‘the.’ This is the kind of misinformation that drives much of the left and makes the ideological divide so nasty. Reid wants, apparently, a world free of fossil fuels, with the heavy hand of government doing a great deal of social engineering. Nancy Pelosi has claimed more than once that natural gas is not a fossil fuel. It’s discouraging to learn that our representatives have not done their homework and don’t know what they are talking about. They are only ordinary people, after all, but I do believe that we should expect them to be better informed than they often are. There must be some reason why they hav all those aides.
Fossil fuels will be the dominant fuels for the rest of the 21st century. There is no alternative. “Renewable power,” which cannot exist without 24/7 backup from fossil fuels, is not an alternative to oil. Oil powers the transportation section. Corn-based ethanol or (non-existent) cellulosic ethanol only exist with large government subsidy, and their impact on food prices is becoming more apparent each day.
Wind and solar, with full-time back-up from fossil fuel electric plants, produce miniscule amounts of electricity at extraordinarily high cost. Britain is backing out because of the cost, and Europe is sure to follow. They keep thinking that improvements in the turbines or the solar panels will solve the problems, but they won’t. The problem is in the intermittent nature of wind and the diffuse nature of solar energy.
There are no net green jobs. Green jobs cause more lost employment in the regular economy than there are new green ones.
“Addiction to Oil” is cheap sloganeering, and completely ignorant. It would be like saying we’re addicted to water because we require so much of it in our daily lives.
The pipeline has been given a clean bill of health from both an environmental and engineering standard. The project has undergone innumerable reviews from regulatory agencies including the EPA and the Department of Transportation. The protests, such as they are, have no real basis, other than green propaganda.
Nevertheless, there was a recent announcement that the decision would be made by President Obama himself. He said he would consider it. He responded to protestors that he had not yet decided. Then the White House announced that he would decide next year — after the election. I think that President Obama would agree firmly with Harry Reid’s statement, but, of course I cannot read Mr. Obama’s mind.
President Obama has a real big problem with this one. The project would involve 13,000 union jobs, constructing the pipeline and another 118,000 spin-off jobs, and around $20 billion in investment. If President Obama is as concerned about jobs as he pretends to be, this should have been approved yesterday. Apparently Valerie Jarrett hasn’t decided yet.
Most of the stimulus funds went to paying back the unions for their support. But when push comes to shove, it would seem that Green trumps Union. It was supposed to be a twofer — the green project to develop alternative energy would produce green jobs for the unions. Didn’t work. Green jobs have proved to be an illusion. Alternative energy is also proving to be an illusion — it doesn’t work, and unless it is heavily subsidized it goes out of business — or goes bankrupt with subsidies as we have seen.
The president’s real interest is not in turning the employment problem around. The Keystone XL pipeline is not the only energy project that would provide thousands of jobs. There are an amazing number of jobs in the energy industry. The Barnett shale gas field in Texas has produced 100,000 jobs since the mid 1990s. The Eagle Ford field is expected to create 68,000 by 2020. More than 600,000 Americans already work in the natural gas field, and another 2.2 million jobs are sustained by the incomes of natural gas workers. Secretary Salazar is continuing to delay and resist allowing the Gulf of Mexico to return to full production.
In every circumstance, the fossil fuel industry is restrained, and over-regulated to attempt to force America into a alternative-energy economy that Americans don’t want and cannot afford.