Tom Steyer group’s latest Keystone XL attack: The pipeline would be too vulnerable to terrorist attacks, or something

posted at 3:31 pm on June 10, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

Hedge fund billionaire and rapturous eco-crusader Tom Steyer has fronted a lot of ridiculous attempts to not only thwart the construction of the already-existing Keystone pipeline’s northern extension, which would merely give Canada’s oil sands an efficient connection to our refineries in the Gulf, but to smear everything about the fossil fuel industry, the technology it employs, and the global free market in which it operates. The absurdly worded poll that his NextGen Climate Action group commissioned earlier this year, claiming that the “majority of U.S. voters want to know where the crude oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline will end up” — as if that’s somehow an indictment of the Keystone XL pipeline, and as if the U.S. doesn’t sell and ship its own petroleum products to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East (which, by the way, it does) — springs immediately to mind. This, howeverthis, I did not see this coming.

Hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, a climate change activist and staunch opponent of the prospective 1,179-mile pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to Cushing, Okla., has hired retired Navy SEAL chief David “Dave” Cooper to assess how vulnerable the Keystone XL might be to deliberate sabotage. In a 14-page report made public today (but redacted to keep it from being a playbook for aspiring terrorists), Cooper concludes that a small group of evildoers could easily cause a catastrophic spill of millions of gallons of diluted bitumen, or tar sands crude, from the Keystone XL. They could do it with as little as four pounds of commercial-grade, improvised explosives. Cooper even did a dry run, using the completed Keystone I pipeline as a proxy; he hung out at a critical valve station long enough to content himself that he could have planted some explosives and left without a hitch.

In what Cooper deems “the most likely scenario,” a single attack could result in 1.2 million gallons of Alberta crude tarring Nebraska farms and waterways. He calculated this using published emergency shutdown response times and pipeline flow forecasts from the government and TransCanada (TRP:CN), the company that wants to build and operate the line. A coordinated attack at multiple locations, Cooper suggests, could trigger a 7.24 million gallon flood.

Oookay. It is certainly true that pipeline vandalism has plenty of precedent; as Businessweek points out, it’s been a problem in places like Nigeria, Mexico, and particularly Iraq, with militants trying to sabotage all-important energy grids, and I have zero doubts that a former Navy SEAL chief has had ample experience with those types of situations. My question, however, is why the Keystone XL pipeline is ostensibly different/more dangerous than the literally millions of miles of oil-and-gas pipeline already crisscrossing the country in a vast and interconnected network?

The risk to our energy infrastructure as well as our environment via pipeline blowout has always been there, but every option has its tradeoffs, and we have clearly determined that this particular risk is well worth the reward. As the State Department just aptly pointed out once again in their recent adjustment to their Keystone XL report from last January, terrestrial pipelines are in practice the safest and most ecologically friendly way to transport the oil that Canada is most definitely going to be drilling for anyway. Evidently, Tom Steyer really is willing to use his fossil-fuel-obtained billions to peddle whatever deliberately misleading information he feels he needs to in order to stymie what the eco-radical lobby has branded as one of the greatest environmental threat Of Our Time — and only they know why.


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Just make it extra mega strong. Problem solved.

Akzed on June 10, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Next argument: “it’s an eyesore!”

Chuck Schick on June 10, 2014 at 3:34 PM

The pipeline would be too vulnerable to terrorist attacks, or something

Why of course, and railroad tank cars are completely safe from potential acts of terrorism.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2014 at 3:35 PM

The pipeline would be too vulnerable to terrorist attacks

Maybe we should keep them locked up in Gitmo then?

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 3:40 PM

The terrorists who would most likely attack the pipeline are domestic terrorists known as eco-liberals. So basically the Left is threatening to do the job themselves.

HotAirian on June 10, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Not to sound like a truther or anything, but I’m beginning to believe that the left actually wants terrorist attacks to happen on out soil, just to make political points.

UltimateBob on June 10, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, a climate change activist and staunch opponent of the prospective 1,179-mile pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to Cushing, Okla.,

He also stands to keep making millions each year the pipeline is not approved.

Johnnyreb on June 10, 2014 at 3:41 PM

I guess wind farms are out of the question.

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 3:41 PM

“majority of U.S. voters want to know where the crude oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline will end up”

Here’s a map. Next question.

RadClown on June 10, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Vulnerable to the ones we just let go?

tte415f on June 10, 2014 at 3:42 PM

The terrorists who would most likely attack the pipeline are domestic terrorists known as eco-liberals. So basically the Left is threatening to do the job themselves.

HotAirian on June 10, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Sad to say, no threat. Fact.

If you build it they will come.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2014 at 3:42 PM

This and all the other soft targets that are out there.

tkc882 on June 10, 2014 at 3:43 PM

The only people that would attack the pipeline are leftists and Islamists … take out Allah and they’re the same.

darwin on June 10, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Maybe we should keep them locked up in Gitmo then?

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 3:40 PM

I have a better idea and it has something to do with gun control.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2014 at 3:44 PM

My question, however, is why the Keystone XL pipeline is ostensibly different/more dangerous than the literally millions of miles of oil-and-gas pipeline already crisscrossing the country in a vast and interconnected network?

…you racist train conductor!

KOOLAID2 on June 10, 2014 at 3:44 PM

That all sounds bad…until you consider the alternatives. Assuming Canada *will* produce that oil, the alternatives are:
1) pipeline to Canada’s coast, then on to an oil tanker.
2) by rail through the US

In the first case, there’s a lot of open water between us and Europe and/or Asia, and a lot more potential for terrorist attack on the way, or at the shoreline. In the second case, trains are going to be a whole lot more vulnerable than pipelines. Pipelines are generally buried for a vast majority of their length, which reduces their vulnerability to some extent.

Mohonri on June 10, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Hedge fund billionaire and rapturous eco-crusader Tom Steyer…

That should read, “Coal-billionaire Tom Steyer…”

slickwillie2001 on June 10, 2014 at 3:48 PM

This isn’t Nigeria. Yet. The pipeline is no more vulnerable than any other pipeline in the US.

One stupid excuse after another with these jokers.

Kuffar on June 10, 2014 at 3:50 PM

He has a good point, look how many times the Alaska pipeline has been hit by terrorists.

Sven on June 10, 2014 at 3:50 PM

I could take out an entire solar farm by throwing common rocks.

“Ban rocks!” – leftie

Bishop on June 10, 2014 at 3:51 PM

What is Tom Steyer doing to protect the 2 million miles of pipeline already extent in this country?

M240H on June 10, 2014 at 3:51 PM

So the government should shut down a pipeline so that the terrorists don’t shut down a pipeline. Alrighty then.

Ronnie on June 10, 2014 at 3:52 PM

As if it would be jest a easy to sabotage the rail cars it is being transported on now.

agmartin on June 10, 2014 at 3:52 PM

Did Steyer as the Navy Chief how easy it would be to blow up a couple of Warren Buffett’s oil-carrying trains?

Or is Warren paying off terrorists to leave his trains alone?

And don’t the American people have a right to know where all of Steyer’s money comes from?

GarandFan on June 10, 2014 at 3:52 PM

Ask Tom how much explosives are needed to destroy an electrical transformer as has been done recently. “None” would be the proper answer, Tommy Boy, better get about banning electricity.

Bishop on June 10, 2014 at 3:52 PM

America depends on a network of more than 185,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines, nearly 320,000 miles of gas transmission pipelines, and more than 2 million miles of gas distribution pipelines to safely and efficiently move energy and raw materials to fuel our nation’s economic engine.

pipeline101.com

M240H on June 10, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Maybe we should keep them locked up in Gitmo then?

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 3:40 PM

IMPROPER THINKING!

Tard on June 10, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Of course, Ogabe bundler Warren Boofay’s trains are glued to the tracks…

viking01 on June 10, 2014 at 3:54 PM

There are many soft targets with a much higher potential for causing chaos and casualties. For example, releasing a toxic chemical from a tank car or tanker trailer in an urban area.

novaculus on June 10, 2014 at 3:58 PM

Our local energy company is busy laying down a huge number of electrical towers along I94 heading west, no idea where they are headed eventually but there are hundreds being erected. Every last one of the steel towers sits on a concrete pad and is connected to said pad with a number of large bolts, unscrew the nuts from those bolts and tower go boom.

Bishop on June 10, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Erika, I hope you’ll still have time to post here occasionally.

I’ve always found your posts on energy policy quite informative and your posts on China very amusing.

DarkCurrent on June 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM

All those ecoterrorists are Demorats.

Obama has to save us from his voters.

How ironic.

txdoc on June 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Shut down the airports.

Ronnie on June 10, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Maybe we should keep them locked up in Gitmo then?

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 3:40 PM

IMPROPER THINKING!

Tard on June 10, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Shoot them. Bury them wrapped in pig skin.

Proper thinking.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2014 at 4:03 PM

They are not going to approve this pipeline, no better example of the complete politics of this president. Anybody think he can fix the VA. Negative Ghostrider.

tte415f on June 10, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Why of course, and railroad tank cars are completely safe from potential acts of terrorism.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Tom Steyer should ask simple cook Casey Ryback how safe trains are from terrorists acts…

nextgen_repub on June 10, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Argument null.

They rebuilt the Trade Center in NYC.

Wander on June 10, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Hedge fund billionaire and rapturous eco-crusader Tom Steyer

Ah, Erika. I’m going to miss your subtle snark.

butch on June 10, 2014 at 4:10 PM

small charge on raillroad switch set off after 4 cars or so easier to do.

dmacleo on June 10, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Ask yourself: if the Keystone pipeline were built and attacked by terrorists to much harmful effect, what do you think the chances are that the terrorists would be Muslims? Very high I bet. As the Muslim population increases that probability clearly gets higher. Muslim immigration is very much not in our interests. Even if most Muslims are just fine don’t we still need to find a way to stop it?

See what historically happens as the Muslim population increases:

http://bit.ly/1kVidY8

Chessplayer on June 10, 2014 at 4:14 PM

If only there weren’t 5 more likely terrorist leaders in Qatar right now. I wonder if there was anything – anything at all – that we could have possibly done to prevent that from happening.

Nope. Nothing comes to mind.

Wino on June 10, 2014 at 4:17 PM

See what historically happens as the Muslim population increases:

http://bit.ly/1kVidY8

Chessplayer on June 10, 2014 at 4:14 PM

I don’t have to see the link. I alreeady see news reports of what they insist upon when already in large enough numbers within a community to flex political muscle. Our left leaning courts, government bureaucrats and politicians bend over backwards to be sure the communities conform to muslim standards or at least allow the muslims to practice their standards.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2014 at 4:21 PM

small charge on raillroad switch set off after 4 cars or so easier to do.

dmacleo on June 10, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Along with collateral damage depending on where the charge is set off.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2014 at 4:23 PM

In a 14-page report made public today (but redacted to keep it from being a playbook for aspiring terrorists), Cooper concludes that a small group of evildoers could easily cause a catastrophic spill of millions of gallons of diluted bitumen, or tar sands crude, from the Keystone XL. They could do it with as little as four pounds of commercial-grade, improvised explosives. Cooper even did a dry run, using the completed Keystone I pipeline as a proxy; he hung out at a critical valve station long enough to content himself that he could have planted some explosives and left without a hitch.

So an environmental activist group hires a guy to do a security assessment on the vulnerability of the pipeline and will keep the results to themselves? Does anyone else have alarm bells going off inside their heads?

The aspiring terrorists are the ones who are commissioning the report!

If a Tea Party group did a vulnerability assessment on the EPA headquarters and said they were going to keep the report hidden, they would be summarily picked up and interrogated by the FBI and DHS.

airupthere on June 10, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Maybe we should keep them locked up in Gitmo then?

faraway on June 10, 2014 at 3:40 PM

IMPROPER THINKING!

Tard on June 10, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Shoot them. Bury them wrapped in pig skin.

Proper thinking.

hawkeye54 on June 10, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Oh, you have made me very angry… Very Angry Indeed!!

Tard on June 10, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, a climate change activist and staunch opponent of the prospective 1,179-mile pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to Cushing, Okla., has hired retired Navy SEAL chief David “Dave” Cooper to assess how vulnerable the Keystone XL might be to deliberate sabotage

Coulda been that hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, an economic eco terrorist, hired terror king Osama bin Laden to assess if knocking down the World Trade Center Towers was possible. We could ask Hairy Reed, but I’m sure he would say it was the Koch Bros. And the Won would blame it on Republicans.

NOMOBO on June 10, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Yeah like ELF. Bu Tom Steyer’s group knowing you folks you would turn the ELF operatives onto doing harm, huh.

jake49 on June 10, 2014 at 5:26 PM

We should get the honorable Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) to weigh in and just make future terrorism in the US just like the Taliban in Afghanistan – a “fabric of the country”.

Problem solved, no more terrorists.

Reuben Hick on June 10, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Again proving that liberalism is a mental disorder.

Ta111 on June 10, 2014 at 6:16 PM

In what Cooper deems “the most likely scenario,” a single attack could result in 1.2 million gallons of Alberta crude tarring Nebraska farms and waterways.

Right now that oil that SHOULD be flowing through the pipeline is transported by rail, in tank cars containing about 24,000 gallons each. If somebody plants a bomb to go off along a freight line to cause a derailment of a 50-car oil train, 1.2 million gallons would be spilled.

Exit question: Is it easier to perform security surveillance on a single oil pipeline or on dozens of freight railroad lines?

Steve Z on June 10, 2014 at 6:31 PM

America depends on a network of more than 185,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines, nearly 320,000 miles of gas transmission pipelines, and more than 2 million miles of gas distribution pipelines to safely and efficiently move energy and raw materials to fuel our nation’s economic engine.

pipeline101.com

M240H on June 10, 2014 at 3:53 PM

The Keystone XL pipeline would add about 800 miles, or about 0.4%, to the 185,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines.

Does this win the Laugh-In Whoopie award?

Steve Z on June 10, 2014 at 6:38 PM

I’ll take this one, being a former SEAL.

hired retired Navy SEAL chief David “Dave” Cooper to assess how vulnerable the Keystone XL might be to deliberate sabotage.

Cooper concludes that a small group of evildoers could easily cause a catastrophic spill of millions of gallons of diluted bitumen, or tar sands crude, from the Keystone XL.

Just like the thousands of miles of already laid pipeline in the US, making them already susceptible to attack. Has it happened yet? No. They could also attack several other soft targets with just as big of an outcome.

Since they can’t win the argument, they are resorting to fear.

Patriot Vet on June 10, 2014 at 7:23 PM

Erika’s still here! kewl…

abobo on June 10, 2014 at 9:59 PM

AAAAH!!! IT’LL BE ONE HUGE PIPE BOMB BLOWING THE COUNTRY IN TWO!!!

Marcola on June 11, 2014 at 2:29 PM