American Elephants


Obama Versus The Pipeline: An Ideological Battle! by The Elephant's Child

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President Obama  in an interview with WDAY of Fargo ND, Feb. 26, 2015 — tried to explain his veto of a bill that would have leapfrogged the approval process for the Keystone XL pipeline:

“I’ve already said I’m happy to look at how we can increase pipeline production for U.S. oil, but Keystone is for Canadian oil to send that down to the Gulf. It bypasses the United States and is estimated to create a little over 250, maybe 300 permanent jobs. We should be focusing more broadly on American infrastructure for American jobs and American producers, and that’s something that we very much support.”

Obama has come to believe that he can say whatever he wants and the people will believe it, and it’s getting to be embarrassing.

Infrastructure is just equipment and structures like, well, pipelines. Building infrastructure is a construction job. Construction jobs only last until the structure is complete, and then construction workers move on to the next project. There are around 20,000 high-paying construction jobs in the pipeline and in materials, and the State Department estimates 42,000 spin-off jobs and the addition of $3.5 billion to the economy. Beats losers like Solyndra and the enormous Ivanpah Project.

The crude oil would indeed travel to the Gulf Coast. and be refined there. Most of the refined product is likely to be consumed in the United States. For Gulf refineries heavy bitumen from the oil sands is an attractive substitute for declining offshore heavy crude supply from Latin America. A report from IHS Energy concluded that 70 percent of the refined product would be consumed in the United States. Canadian crude is eligible for crude export licenses. The likelihood that WCSB crudes would be exported in volume is considered low.

TransCanada has signed contracts to move 65,000 barrels a day from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana, and about 12 percent of the pipeline’s capacity has been set aside for the Bakken region. U.S companies control about 30 percent of the production in Canada’s oil sands region, so production is not strictly Canadian, But the last time I looked, Canada was our friendly neighbor to the North, and our most important trading partner.

Obama got  Four Pinocchios for that speech from the Washington Post Fact Checker.



Will The Keystone Pipeline Get Built? Probably Not. by The Elephant's Child

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It has been more than six years since TransCanada filed with the State Department for a cross-border permit for their plans to build the Keystone XL Pipeline to carry crude oil from Alberta tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries. The permit was approved — twice.

President Obama has used one excuse after another to avoid approving it. Nebraska has approved it, approved it again after the route was shifted to meet objections, and now the Nebraska Supreme Court has said that Governor Heineman has the authority to review and approve major pipeline projects. The ruling ended litigation brought by  three Nebraska landowners who claimed the governor’s 2013  approval was unconstitutional. This was the latest of Obama’s excuses.

He has said firmly that he will veto any bill that approves the pipeline, and offered some really silly excuses for opposing it. It would only favor Canada, and why should we do a pipeline to help them make money, the jobs were only temporary jobs (all construction or infrastructure jobs are temporary).

The House has passed a bill 266 to 153 with 28 Democrat votes, and the Senate will deal with it next week. Mr. Obama has subjected the project to two separate State Department reviews, both of which received positive findings. Will there be enough Democrat votes to override a presidential veto? Don’t know, but 60 percent of the American people want it built.

It means at least 20,000 high paying jobs in pipeline construction and materials construction, according to TransCanada. The State Department projects 42.000 jobs and the addition of $3.5 billion to the economy.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that 9 agencies need to review the project to “see if it is in the interest of the American people” and the State Department cannot approve it until all the agency reports are in. I think you can conclude that the State Department has been told to find it not in their interest. Kerry’s a big environmental backer.

This will be show-and-tell for the Democrats. Are they the party of jobs and work, or of rich green donors? A correspondent for Barron’ said that Obama was a true believer in global warming and  passionate about saving the environment. The Wall Street Journal says” the real reason is that his environmental supporters oppose the pipeline as a matter of climate-change religious faith.” Take your pick. I’d say follow the money.

The ridiculous part of it is that the oil will go to market. It is going now. Some over other expanded pipelines, some by rail. Rail is subject to derailments and serious spills. There have been several with many people killed.

Canada has approved projects for pipelines to the Atlantic and to the Pacific. The current importance of the Keystone is much diminished. It means a lot to the Canadian economy. The President has seriously damaged our relations with our neighbor to the North, our closest ally and biggest trading partner — for no reason at all, unless he can come up with better excuses than he has so far. I have seen no evidence that President Obama is actually interested in job creation. He likes to take credit for the jobs created by others.



Tom Steyer Blew $74 Million On Fighting A Pipeline. by The Elephant's Child

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Tom Steyer became a billionaire by investing in fossil fuels. Now he is betting against them, and blew at least $74 million trying to persuade the voters to oppose Republicans who disagree with him about the Keystone XL pipeline. He opposes the pipeline, he opposes oil sands from Alberta, and apparently would prefer to see Alberta’s oil sent to market by rail. Rail, of course, is far more dangerous and subject to oil spills than a pipeline — pipelines have an excellent safety record.

Well, proof, once again, that money doesn’t buy elections. Mr. Steyer and the teacher’s unions wasted far more money than most. Mr. Steyer gave most of his money to his NextGen Climate Action Super PAC. Environmental groups including NextGen spent $85 million to support President Obama’s agenda, especially the regulations for “bankrupting coal.” They are not taking the defeat well. Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune  whined:

Despite the climate movement’s significant investments and an unprecedented get out the vote program, strong voices for climate action were defeated and candidates paid for by corporate interests and bolstered by sinister voter suppression tactics won the day.

Mitch McConnell made opposition to “the war on coal” the centerpiece of his campaign, and won what was supposed to be a close election by 15 points. Shelley Moore Capito’s support for coal made her the first female GOP Senator in 55 years from West Virginia.

Mr. Steyer and the greens made opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline a litmus test of their support for Democrats, and Mr. Obama dutifully delayed approving the pipeline, despite multiple government reports showing no effect on the climate whatsoever from the pipeline.

In his statement to reporters following the election, Mr. Obama once again went off on “infrastructure and roads and bridges” suggesting that nasty Republicans wouldn’t support those opportunities for creating good jobs for unemployed Americans struggling to join the middle class. That has been Obama’s constant refrain repeated endlessly since 2009. Hello? An oil pipeline guaranteeing  something like 20,000 jobs IS infrastructure.

Republicans are promising to push pro-fossil-fuel  energy policy in Congress, including support for the Keystone XL,  fast-track approval for liquid natural-gas-export terminals, and reining in anti-coal regulations. Democrats might want to help create jobs, and perhaps save their own. Principle works better than falling all over yourself when a billionaire promises money.

If these environmental zealots would spend as much time studying up on the science of energy as they do on trying to buy politicians, they would save a fair amount of cash.



Another Stunning Example of Political Opportunism. by The Elephant's Child

 

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The U.S. State Department has cleared the Keystone XL Pipeline twice, so far, but now they are going to have to pass it again, after an extension of the public comment period which will, coincidentally, last until after the election. Part of the pipeline’s planned path has been changed to suit protesters. It is not a coincidence that the news of the ‘decision’ was released on the convergence of Good Friday and Passover. News that they’d rather cover up is always released late on a Friday. The cover story is that a further delay in the five-year saga of the Keystone couldn’t be avoided because of ‘unresolved legal issues’ over land seizures in Nebraska. Of course.

Let’s see what is involved:

TransCanada has provided a detailed job breakdown for the pipeline. They say it will create 13,000 union construction jobs, 7,000 jobs for Americans in manufacturing. It is estimated that there are up to 250,000 jobs over the life of the pipeline. That boom in employment would have spin-off jobs in the local economies that support each segment of the pipeline.

The Canadians are mightily annoyed. The United States imports eight to nine million barrels of oil every day. A stable, secure supply of oil from Canada makes better sense. Obama has orated about “our dependence on”foreign oil” often enough when it suits what he wants his audience to think.

Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America said “Once again, the administration is making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country. It’s clear the administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”

Pushing the Keystone XL through would send an important message to Vladimir Putin that America is willing to develop our energy. And allowing the export of liquified natural gas would put a thorn in the side of Putin’s ability to blackmail Europe because of their need for natural gas. But we don’t actually want to annoy Mr. Putin, do we?

On the other side you have:

Leftist billionaire Tom Steyer has promised to spend $50 million of his own money and raise another $50 million for the Democrats in this election if they support the cause of global warming. He really “hates” the Keystone XL pipeline. Steyer has made much of his money at Farallon Capital by investing in fossil fuel producers.

Steyer now claims that stopping Keystone will somehow prevent Canada’s oil sands from being developed. That’s hogwash. The oil is now being carried by rail. In 2008, there were less than 10,000 carloads of crude oil moved by rail. Last year it was more than 400,000 carloads. Rail transportation is far less safe than a pipeline, and the network of pipelines across the country is already extensive, and safe.

Steyer will profit from any delay of the Keystone because he is, or was until recently, a major investor in Kinder Morgan which is building a competitor to the Keystone pipeline. He is, today, a bitter opponent of fossil fuels, especially coal. Banning coal-fired power plants will boost the value of his solar projects. He owes his fortune in large part to the fact that he has been one of the world’s largest financiers of coal projects in Australia and Asia.  He has led recent campaigns with climate nut Bill McKibben to encourage university endowments to divest coal equities. John Hinderaker at Powerline has assembled a remarkable list of Steyer interests. The Hypocrisy is breathtaking.

The most notable takeaway is that, for Barack Obama political money for the upcoming election trumps jobs for unemployed American construction workers, unemployed American manufacturing workers, and for the taxpayer money going to import all that “foreign oil. Everything, for Barack Obama, is about politics. All that talk about jobs, jobs, jobs is just talk.



Obama’s Delay of the Keystone XL Pipeline is All About Politics. by The Elephant's Child

Last month at a press conference after meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Obama was asked about his delay in approving the Keystone XL pipeline.

Harper has been urging Obama to do the right thing and approve the pipeline that would pump oil from Alberta, Canada to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast.

The president is caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. He has claimed that all the jobs are just “temporary.” The State Department has approved the pipeline twice, both Hillary and Kerry. It will not increase greenhouse gases. Hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer has promised $100 million to the Democrats if they just keep opposing global warming. Green activists are continually demonstrating against the Keystone, for unknown greenie reasons. Unions badly want the jobs involved. The oil is being moved by rail at present, which is more dangerous.

By delaying a decision, Obama is hoping to get past the 2014 election without hurting the re-election chances of several Senate Democrats running in red or purple states that strongly support the Keystone XL and the energy industry.

Those candidates include Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Udall of Colorado, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, plus two open seats in Montana and West Virginia held by two retiring Democrats.

Think about the political problems facing these Democrats.

Montana, where Democratic Sen. Max Baucus just retired, will be able to ship 100,000 barrels a day of oil from the Bakken shale formation. If Obama kills the Keystone XL, he kills Montana jobs and may hurt the chances of a Democrat holding that Senate seat.

TransCanada has released a detailed job breakdown in response to critics who argue that the company’s job creation estimates for the project are too high and will lead only to ‘a few hundred’ temporary jobs. They presented a detailed account of employment potential in the U.S. right down to the number of oilers, labourers and welders needed for the  U.S. $7 billion project.

Their claim (January 2012)breaks the project into 17 pipeline segments with 500 workers per segment —8,500 jobs. Thirty pump stations, each station requires 100 workers—3,000 jobs. Six hundred jobs for the six construction camps at Cushing, Oklahoma.Construction, management and inspection oversight — 1,000. That’s 13,000 construction employment opportunities and 7,000 in manufacturing. The spin-off jobs for materials, steel pipes, related services would generate all sorts of indirect jobs and revenue for suppliers.

If the vulnerable Democrats can waffle on the issue, and Obama continues to deny the project, he gets money from the green activist lobby, and they have a lot to donate.

Democrats biggest claim in an election year is that they care about the little people. They don’t. ObamaCare is a clear example. Once they get  you signed up and dependent on their program, they don’t care what kind of health care you actually receive. Evidence: “If You like your doctor you can keep your doctor,” “Your insurance will cost $2,500 less,” VA insurance. Indian Health Service. Medicaid.

It’s all about politics. Not the “little guy.”



Ooops! An Unfortunate Interview With the New York Times. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama did a rare interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, and there was this interesting exchange:

NYT: The “Keystone XL pipeline — Republicans talk about that as a big job creator. You’ve said that you would approve it only if you could be assured it would not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon in the atmosphere. Is there anything that Canada could do or the oil companies could do to offset that as a way of helping you to reach that decision.”

MR. OBAMA: Well, first of all, Michael, Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that is true. And my hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline — which might take a year or two — and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in a (sic) economy of 150 million people.

NYT: Yet there are a number of unions who want you to approve this.

MR. OBAMA: Well, look, they might like to see 2,000 jobs initially. But that is a blip relative to the need.

So what we also know is, is that that oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets, so it does not bring down gas prices here in the United States. In fact, it might actually cause some gas prices in the Midwest to go up where currently they can’t ship some of that oil to world markets.

Now, having said that, there is a potential benefit for us integrating further with a reliable ally to the north our energy supplies. But I meant what I said; I’m going to evaluate this based on whether or not this is going to significantly contribute to carbon in our atmosphere. And there is no doubt that Canada at the source in those tar sands could potentially be doing more to mitigate carbon release.

          ———————————————

Keystone XL— In December, 2010, TransCanada Corporation released a detailed job breakdown for the Keystone XL pipeline, and said it will create 13,000 construction employment opportunities, and 7,000 manufacturing jobs in America.

In response to critics who argue that the company’s job creation estimates for the project are too high and will lead to ‘a few hundred’ temporary jobs, the company shot back with a detailed account of employment potential in the United States, right down to the number of oilers, labourers and welders needed for the U.S. $7 billion project.

“These are new, real U.S. jobs. Thirteen thousand American would be put to work constructing our Keystone XL project,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer in a statement. “Seven thousand more jobs would be created in the U.S. manufacturing sector, making materials needed to build Keystone XL.”

The project would also need millions of dollars of materials such as steel pipes and related services, which would generate indirect jobs and revenues for American suppliers.

Construction of the 1,600 mile pipeline is broken down into 17 U.S. pipeline spreads or segments, with 500 workers per spread — that’s 8,500 jobs.

Keystone XL also needs 30 pump stations worth tens of millions of dollars. Each station requires 100 workers — that’s 3,000 jobs. Add another 600 jobs that would be needed for the six construction camps and tank construction at Cushing, Oklahoma.

The project would need construction, management and inspection oversight — that would create 1,000 jobs, bring the overall Keystone XL total to 13,000 direct on-site jobs.

If I remember correctly Mr. Obama went to Cushing, Oklahoma for a photo-op in front of piles of gleaming steel pipe. He was going to approve the southern portion of the Keystone that stretched from Cushing to Texas or Louisiana, I forget which.  I never read anything further about that, so perhaps it never was started. The president did get his picture taken though.

So, there is some evidence that there’s a little more than somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs (chuckle) in an economy of 150 million people.  (150 million? )

Granted this was a 2010 estimate, but I feel confident that the President of TransCanada published an accurate summary.

Unfortunately, I cannot trust information from the American administration. All is political, at all times.

And there is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere is a natural fertilizer, Makes plants grow, feeds the hungry people of the world.  If there were no carbon there would be no life. “Carbon pollution” indeed.



Nebraska Gov. Heineman Aproved the New Keystone XL Route: What’s Next? by The Elephant's Child

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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.

 




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