The truth about “the truth about Keystone,” parts 2 and 3

posted at 3:21 pm on September 26, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The biggest factor holding President Obama back from approving the Keystone XL pipeline after a full five years of dithering and delay is the simple reality that well-monied and radical green lobbies as well as a bunch of Democratically-donating celebrities and rich people are so dead set against it. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, one such billionaire named Tom Steyer started up a four-part TV ad campaign to try and turn Americans against the Keystone pipeline, and I’m just going to dive right in to the task of debunking parts two and three in the series — they are only about 90 seconds each, but it really is an impressive amount of distortion, misinformation, and omission to fit into such a short amount of time.

The second ad: “Risk.”

“One thing we know for sure about pipelines: They corrode, they leak, they burst — 300 times a year on average, from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Mayflower, Arkansas.” Yes, thank you, Captain Obvious. Here are a few other things we know for sure about pipelines you forgot to mention: There are already hundreds of thousands of miles of terrestrial pipeline crisscrossing the United States and transporting oil, natural gas, and petroleum every day; pipelines have been used safely and successfully in the U.S. for over a century; and that pipelines are a hugely integral part of our domestic energy infrastructure. With all of that daily volume, they are bound to leak sometimes, but Steyer is trying to imply that the 300 such spills a year are all of the mega-disaster spills ilk he goes on to describe. Hint: They aren’t.

“Each week, we’re visiting places that know what it would mean if TransCanada is allowed to build the Keystone pipeline through America’s heartland.” …Actually the Keystone pipeline is already built through America’s heartland, and largely operational. The pipeline is complete or almost complete throughout most of its southern portions; it is just the construction of the northern XL extension connecting the network to Canada on which TransCanada has been hoping/waiting for approval.

Yes, the Pegasus pipeline rupture in Arkansas last spring was really bad — but such an awful spill is exceedingly rare (and technology is improving all the time) and helps to demonstrate precisely why we need updates and additions to our existing pipeline infrastructure. Moreover, faced with a lack of pipeline, energy companies are increasingly turning to the less efficient, less cost effective, less environmentally friendly, and less safe methods of transport to bring their wares to market.

“So how safe is Keystone? A former TransCanada inspector says, ‘Keystone XL will likely leak.’” Talk about ‘out of context’! Obviously, due to its hugeness and likely longevity, Keystone will likely leak somewhere, at some point; but again, the chances of it being a major catastrophe like that in Mayflower, Arkansas are very slim to none.

“We can’t afford to let foreign oil companies risk our health.” First of all, at least 25 percent of the pipeline’s capacity is going to be reserved for domestically produced oil from North Dakota and etcetera; secondly, Canadian oil has been making its way through the U.S. for years already via existing pipelines and railway; and thirdly, he makes “foreign oil companies” sound like mean, dirty, evil entities — instead of the reality in which we all contribute to a global free market, wherein plenty of supply means lower prices for everybody and free trade is not a zero-sum game.

Phew. Now, for this week’s treat from Steyer: “Priorities.”

“It’s a fact: Clean energy is creating good jobs all across our country.” Yes, please, do let’s just blithely overlook for a moment the many forms of relentless taxpayer subsidization that wind and solar receive and that their actual contributions to our domestic energy scheme are aggressively overestimated. No big.

“Today, America’s energy sector is growing stronger as we diversify, creating hundreds of thousands of clean-energy jobs here at home, while reducing our dependence on foreign oil from abroad.” The tricky little implication here is that our (heavily subsidized) clean-energy growth is somehow responsible for our decreasing dependence on oil from abroad. Wrong. The single biggest factor behind our lately reduced oil imports is simply that we are now producing so much oil and gas ourselves — which also happens to be the saving grace behind President Obama’s otherwise pathetic excuse for an economy. And, I’m sorry — which industry is it creating hundreds and thousands of private-sector jobs annually?

“But here’s what they don’t say: A State Department analysis found that Keystone will create just 35 permanent jobs once the pipeline is built. As a businessman, I don’t devalue any job, but 35 jobs maintaining a foreign-oil pipeline…? That’s not going to grow our economy, and it would undercut the kinds of clean-energy jobs that are re-powering America.” Yes, and here’s what Tom Steyer doesn’t say, just before repeating the mischaracterization of Keystone as a “foreign-oil pipeline” and doubling down on the myth that clean-energy jobs have had anything to do with the self-multiplying strength of the American energy sector: That the State Department report also found that the pipeline would generate 42,100 direct and indirect jobs during a two-year construction phase. What’s more, if America wants to keep up with the growth of its oil and gas sector, it’s going to need a lot more pipeline construction over the coming years to keep it going — and that does grow the economy, whatever Tom Steyer might say.


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Just tell these idiots that the oil is going to be used to make birth control pill dispensers and pharmaceuticals.

meci on September 26, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Lying liars lie.

Akzed on September 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Will Rogers is credited with the following

“There are:
Lies
Damned Lies and
Statisitics”

I would like to update this bad to worst
There are
Lies,
Damned Lies,
Statistics,
Politicians and
Environmentalists.

chemman on September 26, 2013 at 3:34 PM

…and the noise of those whirring blades as they chop endangered birds to bits is… oh, wait… was this about oil? My bad…

Turtle317 on September 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM

“They don’t want the pipeline in box…
They don’t want the pipeline with a fox…

They don’t want the pipeline here or there…
They don’t want the pipeline anywhere”

MichaelGabriel on September 26, 2013 at 3:44 PM

It will help poor people move up the economic ladder by lowering energy costs and letting them spend more money on others things, and we simply can’t have that now can we?

Johnnyreb on September 26, 2013 at 3:46 PM

“But here’s what they don’t say: A State Department analysis found that Keystone will create just 35 permanent jobs once the pipeline is built.

I suspect this may actually be true, and it’s very clever of the proggies. They have chosen to count only the actual warm bodies that will maintain the pipeline’s physical integrity.

What they choose to NOT count is the number of jobs that the OIL flowing through the pipeline will create.

They may also be looking at the estimated oil reserves and how long that will last at current pumping rates. If that works out to 30 years, well, -thirty years is not permanent, right?

slickwillie2001 on September 26, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Just tell these idiots that the oil is going to be used to make birth control pill dispensers and pharmaceuticals.

meci on September 26, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Actually oil is used in pharma, as well as just about everything else. Though, I don’t know if it is directly used with the BC pill, but probably in the plastic case.

matthew26 on September 26, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Apologies for going O/T, but is anyone else having conflicts with HotAir and Firefox? Same issue on 3 different computers, keeps locking up…

redshirt on September 26, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Any the idea that green energy is going to benefit the economy in any way is fully belied by the experience in Europe where they’ve gone truly overboard with it, costing them billions and sending the price of energy through the roof, where, for example, in Germany they are paying on average 34 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity, versus 12 cents in the US. And also, especially in the UK, scores of people have been killed by the brutally cold winters as they suffered from energy poverty caused by green energy. No, green energy kills, both jobs and people… and birds by the millions. Stop the insanity!

anotherJoe on September 26, 2013 at 3:54 PM

But Koch brothers.

HumpBot Salvation on September 26, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Apologies for going O/T, but is anyone else having conflicts with HotAir and Firefox? Same issue on 3 different computers, keeps locking up…

redshirt on September 26, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Actually, YES.. I’m running firefox, but I thought it was just a resource hungry hotair that has been slowing and crashing my system. I don’t know if running Chrome or whatever could solve it, but hotair is tying my system up, until I ultimately have to reboot.

anotherJoe on September 26, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Actually, YES.. I’m running firefox, but I thought it was just a resource hungry hotair that has been slowing and crashing my system. I don’t know if running Chrome or whatever could solve it, but hotair is tying my system up, until I ultimately have to reboot.

anotherJoe on September 26, 2013 at 3:58 PM

I’m having no issues with IE… Except for just not wanting to use IE…

redshirt on September 26, 2013 at 3:59 PM

used to have many script errors with IE, especially with any ABC video link but its been fine for several weeks

DanMan on September 26, 2013 at 4:07 PM

…and the noise of those whirring blades as they chop endangered birds to bits is… oh, wait… was this about oil? My bad…

Turtle317 on September 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Yeah, nice the wind farms have been given an exemption in regards to birds. They can grind up as many as they want all in the name of environmentalism.

chewmeister on September 26, 2013 at 4:07 PM

“Heyyyy, I like the pipeline here or there….
There are pipelines Everywhere.”

MichaelGabriel on September 26, 2013 at 4:09 PM

The nation’s more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines safely deliver trillions of cubic feet of natural gas and hundreds of billions of ton/miles of liquid petroleum products each year. They are essential: the volumes of energy products they move are well beyond the capacity of other forms of transportation. It would take a constant line of tanker trucks, about 750 per day, loading up and moving out every two minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to move the volume of even a modest pipeline. The railroad-equivalent of this single pipeline would be a train of 75 2,000-barrel tank rail cars everyday.

This is from the DOT web site.Shove this down his and the Greenies throats like it was Obamacare.

docflash on September 26, 2013 at 4:18 PM

“We can’t afford to let foreign oil companies risk our health.” First of all, at least 25 percent of the pipeline’s capacity is going to be reserved for domestically produced oil from North Dakota and etcetera; secondly, Canadian oil has been making its way through the U.S. for years already via existing pipelines and railway; and thirdly, he makes “foreign oil companies” sound like mean, dirty, evil entities — instead of the reality in which we all contribute to a global free market, wherein plenty of supply means lower prices for everybody and free trade is not a zero-sum game.

Crude oil is very viscous at normal outdoor temperatures, and railcars transporting it need to be kept heated. It takes less energy to insulate a pipeline and pump crude oil through it than to load the same amount of crude into enough railcars and haul them over hundreds of miles. Most of the railway “tank cars” don’t carry crude oil, but refined fuels such as gasoline, diesel fuel, and home heating oil, which are less viscous than crude oil and do not need to be heated during transport.

Although pipelines can leak, so can railcars. Freight trains can derail and spill oil due to track failures, collisions due to railway signaling errors or conductor errors, or obstacles across tracks (including cars or trucks at grade crossings).

Also, whatever crude oil we DON’T import from Canada will have to be imported from somewhere else, usually by floating oil tankers on the high seas. They too can leak–they can founder in storms or run aground. How many Mayflower, Arkansas pipeline leaks would be needed to equal the volume spilled by the Exxon Valdez?

Steve Z on September 26, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Lil’ Tommy forgets to mention all those windmills, major parts of which COME FROM FOREIGN COMPANIES. Oh, and how many HUNDREDS of workers do you see standing around in windmill land?

GarandFan on September 26, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Much as I would love
Cheaper energy supplies…
This is bad for Dems.

Every year that Obama dithers over Keystone XL makes him look more and more ridiculous and out of touch with the mainstream of America. He is beholden to his big money California donors, and will pay the price in the Heartland.

Haiku Guy on September 26, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Interesting read on the first Keystone Pipeline that was already built: First Keystone pipeline’s valuation up to $538.5 million

Essentially the property taxes are a boon for rural school districts for a year, and then state aid formulas catch up and cut funding to local school districts in subsequent years because of the inceased revenue from property taxes due to Keystone.

The end result is lower state spending on local schools due to increased property taxes being paid by TransCanada on the pipeline at the county/local level.

Education spending makes up about 20% of Nebraska’s state budget. If they can transfer some of that spending back to the local districts, it could be a huge boom for Nebraskans. Either take that money and expand other state programs and raise employment, or take a better approach and cut taxes allowing businesses and individuals to expand employment using more of their own money.

No matter what way you look at it, the original Keystone pipeline has been nothing but great for Nebraska. Bring on Keystone XL, which by all accounts will have an even higher property valuation.

weaselyone on September 26, 2013 at 5:36 PM

So Tom Steyer is ok with making millions/billions on investing in Oil, gas, and pipelines but now opposes others doing so?

Can a Billionaire Who Got Rich Investing in Big Oil Fight Big Oil?

Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that while Steyer was senior managing partner at Farallon, the firm owned stock in 10 oil and gas companies for a total value of $440 million, or about 10 percent of Farallon’s publicly disclosed equity portfolio.

Well golly gee whiz. A guy made millions and billions investing in oil and gas, who would have thunk it!?

Among Farallon’s largest fossil-fuel holdings as of last year were a $211 million stake in Nexen Inc. and $117 million in shares of Kinder Morgan, Inc.

Nexen is a Canadian oil and gas company that drills in the North Sea, offshore West Africa, and North America. The Chinese state-owned CNOOC acquired it this year. Kinder Morgan is a oil and gas pipeline operator, and the third largest U.S. energy company by value. Farallon’s other holdings include BP and offshore driller McMoran Exploration.

What was that quote from Mr. Steyer again?

“We can’t afford to let foreign oil companies risk our health.”

Well Mr. Steyer, apparently you can.

Back to you Mr. Steyer:

“But here’s what they don’t say: A State Department analysis found that Keystone will create just 35 permanent jobs once the pipeline is built. As a businessman, I don’t devalue any job, but 35 jobs maintaining a foreign-oil pipeline…? That’s not going to grow our economy, and it would undercut the kinds of clean-energy jobs that are re-powering America.”

But don’t you have financial stakes in both foreign oil companies AND a pipeline company who just happens to be a direct competitor to TransCanada? Certainly your opposition to the pipeline has nothing to do with the interests of Kinder Morgan, right?

Oh wait: Meet the U.S. billionaire who wants to kill the Keystone XL pipeline

Farallon’s holdings, as of its last Securities and Exchange Commission filing, include Kinder Morgan, which is pushing to expand a pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver;

Well double golly gee whiz. What have you to say about that Mr. Steyer?

“I really, honestly, have tried to think about that hard, and square my behaviour to my beliefs. Everybody gets to decide whether I’ve succeeded,”

Try a little harder Mr. Steyer.

I don’t begrudge the guy for making millions/billions. I don’t begrudge the guy for investing in oil and gas. Kudos. My issue is that he is now trying to use his money and influence to prevent others from reaping the same benefits.

weaselyone on September 26, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Keystone is already built and FULLY functioning. It delivers crude oil blend from Canada to a large refinery at Wood River, IL & a terminal at Patokia, IL. It was originally built as a 50/50 joint venture consisting of TransCanada & ConocoPhillips.

http://transcanada.com/100.html

Keystone XL is a separate pipeline PROJECT but technically part of the Keystone system

Kermit on September 27, 2013 at 8:33 AM

weaselyone on September 26, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Kinder Morgan has long had a pipeline from Alberta to the Seattle/Vancouver area for transporting crude oil blends, some of which is loaded aboard ship for SoCal refineries. Most of this crude goes to refineries in the Seattle area to be blended with imported crude. It is also reversing a pipeline to ship natural gas condensate up to Alberta for use as diluent to increase flow of crude oil blend headed out of Alberta. Since produced (pumped out of the ground) crude oil from the “oil sands” area of Alberta is where all the increased production has occurred and will continue to over the next decade, it will need to be thinned to be able to be pumped for long distances. There is not now nor will there be enough syncrude to provide adequate thinning.

McMoRan (named for its 3 original founders thus the caps in the spelling) is part of Freeport McMoRan and has been the exceptional company at drilling for subsalt natural gas. It has made exceptionally large trillion cubic foot natural gas discoveries without any incident where others have had problems drilling offshore Louisiana. With all of the onshore hydraulically fractured tight shale gas fields, its bottom line has been impacted by cheap prices.

Kermit on September 27, 2013 at 8:58 AM

I like the idea of the pipeline, but I live in the middle of Nebraska right on top of the High Plains Aquifer. That aquifer is literally the largest natural source of fresh water we have in America. I agree that the pipeline would help the economy, but I don’t like it going right through my aquifer.

The Bolo on September 27, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Tell the windmill wackos to go away and do their homework...and come back ONLY when they can provide UNSUBSIDIZED, PORTABLE, 24/7 RELIABLE energy at a competitive price (WITHOUT taxing the hell out of oil, gas, and nuclear in a lame attempt to cover up their own outrageous costs)!!!

Until then, they’re just snake oil salesmen with their hands in our pockets.

landlines on September 27, 2013 at 6:58 PM