Of course: Keystone XL opponents now turning to blocking rail transport in earnest

I must say, I almost have to give them credit for finally, practically coming to grips with the fact that Canada’s energy companies have the will, and ergo, will find a way to develop, transport, and sell the products from their oil sands, with our without the still-pending northern extension of the already-completed Keystone pipeline — a market reality they have stubbornly neglected in many of their campaigns, op-eds, studies, and protests touting the prevention of Keystone XL as a means to thwart said oil-sands development. Case in point, via the NYT:


Suncor Energy, Canada’s top petroleum producer, announced on Thursday that it would expand its oil production in 2014 by 10 percent in another sign that the Obama administration’s delay in approving the Keystone XL pipeline extension is not holding back growth in the western Canadian oil sands fields. …

Suncor, which is based in Calgary, produces oil and gas around Canada, and has operations in North Africa and the North Sea. But its oil sands operations are the main driver for the company. In the most recent quarter, its oil sands output rose 16 percent from the year before for a record of 396,000 barrels a day, nearly 20 percent of the country’s total oil sands production. …

But over the last several months, oil companies have sought to go around the dispute by announcing plans for three large rail loading terminals with the combined capacity of transporting 350,000 barrels a day.

In acknowledgement of the above, perhaps, these self-titled environmentalist groups are now turning to blocking the means of rail transport, too, via Bloomberg:

Environmentalists opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline are expanding their fight against imports of Canadian heavy crude oil by trying to block rail projects that offer another way for it to enter the U.S. …

Environmental groups including 350.org oppose Keystone because they say it would promote development of oil sands, a type of crude that releases more greenhouse gases in its production and refining than other forms of oil. …

Opponents of oil sands are targeting rail terminal projects in California, Washington state and elsewhere and pushing federal regulators to mandate expensive retrofits to tanker cars that could impede efforts by producers to expand their fleets. The campaign represents a threat to Canadian oil, which together with natural gas is Canada’s largest export to the U.S. …

Kristen Boyles, a spokeswoman for Earthjustice, said one concern voiced by critics was that the terminals would receive oil sands products, which can be harder to clean up in a spill than conventional crude.


Yes, which is probably why you should stop blocking the pipeline, i.e. the safer terrestrial transport method through which the United States can receive oil from its biggest foreign supplier. What these groups plan to do when they also come to realize that, hey, fine — Canada will instead ship the oil to their coast and transport it by sea to China — I have no idea.

Again, it would be a lot easier to take these guys seriously if they weren’t vehemently insisting upon only the most unworkable of energy solutions at every turn. Environmentalists don’t seem to much care for natural gas, and especially not for the hydraulic fracturing process that helps to produce it; nor do they care for nuclear energy (speaking of which, even the editors of the New York Times just had an apparent epiphany that front). The only solutions that will do, apparently, are wind and solar — even though Europe, and specifically countries like Germany that put a lot of skin in the wind-and-solar game, are now furiously backing away from said sources and even ramping up coal production instead, that most hatefully dreaded of dirty energy forms, quelle horreur. Talk about counter-productivity.

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Jazz Shaw 3:00 PM | June 13, 2024