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Environmental Report Raises Pressure On Obama To Approve Keystone Pipeline

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the not-so-bad dept.

United States 301

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Reuters reports that pressure on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline increased on Friday after a State Department report played down the impact it would have on climate change, irking environmentalists and delighting proponents of the project. The long-awaited environmental impact statement concludes that the Keystone XL pipeline would not substantially worsen carbon pollution, leaving an opening for Obama to approve the politically divisive project as it appears to indicate that the project could pass the criteria Obama set forth in a speech last summer when he said he would approve the 1,700-mile pipeline if it would not 'significantly exacerbate' the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. The oil industry applauded the review. 'After five years and five environmental reviews, time and time again the Department of State analysis has shown that the pipeline is safe for the environment,' says Cindy Schild, the senior manager of refining and oil sands programs at the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for the oil industry. Environmentalists say they are dismayed at some of the report's conclusions and disputed its objectivity, and add that the report also offers Obama reasons to reject the pipeline. The report concludes that the process used for producing the oil — by extracting what are called tar sands or oil sands from the Alberta forest — creates about 17 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than traditional oil (PDF). But the report concludes that this heavily polluting oil will still be brought to market. Energy companies are already moving the oil out of Canada by rail. 'At the end of the day, there's a consensus among most energy experts that the oil will get shipped to market no matter what,' says Robert McNally. 'It's less important than I think it was perceived to be a year ago, both politically and on oil markets.'"

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oil pressure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135013)

Relieve the pressure by blowing his thick black load, and soon!

Re:oil pressure (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135547)

In case you didn't know (I only found out last night!), black sperm looks and tastes the same as white sperm. There's just a lot more of it!

OIL !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135019)

Texas tea !!

Re:OIL !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135057)

Drink it.

Well, Heck... No Wonder! (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135059)

"The long-awaited environmental impact statement concludes that the Keystone XL pipeline would not substantially worsen carbon pollution..."

Pretty hard to "worsen" something that doesn't exist... Carbon is NOT a pollutant.

Funny, you don't hear anybody talking about "Oxygen Pollution", even though oxygen makes up more of CO2 than carbon does, and in fact in high concentrations oxygen is poisonous, but carbon is not.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135063)

Carbon monoxide.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 9 months ago | (#46135077)

Carbon monoxide.

Seeing as how every organic compound that exists, which includes nutrients and poisons, is based on carbon, just naming things that have carbon in them is pointless.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135091)

Rather predictably, someone has already modded my post "troll"... although I honestly have no idea who or what I'm supposed to be trolling.

I guess maybe I offended somebody's religious beliefs.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135107)

Carbon monoxide acts like poisonous imitation oxygen.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 9 months ago | (#46135157)

Carbon monoxide acts like poisonous imitation oxygen.

So do all of these things. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org] But yet, some of those very things are also food... Hmm... Perhaps because we are life forms based on... Hmmm... I knew what it was... They say it all the time on Star Trek...

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135195)

Ugly giant bags of mostly water?

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (3, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 9 months ago | (#46135081)

Carbon is NOT a pollutant.

Exactly. If carbon is so bad, why are they aways trying to save all those carbon filled trees?

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 9 months ago | (#46135369)

Carbon is NOT a pollutant.

Exactly. If carbon is so bad, why are they always trying to save all those carbon filled trees?

I'm sure if all those trees were floating around in the upper atmosphere, they might feel differently.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135451)

WHOOSH

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 9 months ago | (#46135529)

WHOOSH

Um... Mine was a serious comment *and* joke, so back at you - Double WHOOSH. :-)

Technically "ash" is basically carbon and, if I recall from the last few volcanic eruptions, it's rather polluting, at lease in the short term. [And, yes, I know the discussion is actually about CO2...]

But, seriously, those "sky trees" are dangerous.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (3, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | about 9 months ago | (#46135085)

Anything is a pollutant when large quantities are somewhere they shouldn't be. Having lots of carbon in the atmosphere is bad. You can deny the science until you're blue in the face, but you're no different from the creationists.

Mind you, I don't really care one way or the other about the pipeline.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135139)

"Anything is a pollutant when large quantities are somewhere they shouldn't be."

That doesn't justify the recent "fad" of "carbon pollution".

I mean, your point is correct of course but scarcely relevant to this situation. The carbon in CO2 is no more a demon than the oxygen in CO2. And even if ALL the carbon in CO2 were free carbon particles in the air, it still wouldn't be very poisonous. (You might get black lung eventually, but that doesn't make it a "poison" in the conventional sense.)

But again: even in the case of CO2 (which is what people are really referring to -- so far -- when they say "carbon pollution"), carbon is truly no more of a "culprit" than oxygen is.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (4, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | about 9 months ago | (#46135225)

You understand that when people talk about "carbon pollution", they mean carbon dioxide, right? You clearly do, since you say as much at the end of your post. So why are you talking as if anyone is concerned about free carbon particles floating around? We all know we're talking about CO2.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135325)

"You understand that when people talk about "carbon pollution", they mean carbon dioxide, right? You clearly do, since you say as much at the end of your post. So why are you talking as if anyone is concerned about free carbon particles floating around? We all know we're talking about CO2."

Sure. For now. But will it stay that way? Probably not.

Understand something: regardless of whether climate scientists are correct about CO2-based warming, it isn't just about the science. It's also about control. The phrase "carbon pollution" is no accidental turn of phrase, and Al Gore doesn't "accidentally" own shares in companies that profit from "warming" scares.

Strictly regulating CO2 would give the government unprecedented control over the air. Control of "carbon", if the idea could be promoted enough, would give government control of virtually everything except maybe minerals and refined chemicals.

In the same way that saying "piracy" when you really mean "downloading", saying "carbon pollution" instead of CO2 does the control freaks' work for them.

These things don't happen by accident. That's not "conspiracy theory", it's just a fact. What something is called has a very strong effect on public perception.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135429)

"You understand that when people talk about "carbon pollution", they mean carbon dioxide, right?"

I would also like to point out that the New York Times article linked to by OP very definitely DOES imply, in at least several different places, that carbon per se is a pollutant we need to worry about today. Which is both stupid and wrong.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135273)

But again: even in the case of CO2 (which is what people are really referring to -- so far -- when they say "carbon pollution"), carbon is truly no more of a "culprit" than oxygen is.

Your "argument" is idiotic pointless pedantry.

Shut the fuck up, you stupid cunt.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0, Offtopic)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135347)

Your "argument" is idiotic pointless pedantry.

Shut the fuck up, you stupid cunt.

Hahaha. And THIS is supposed to be an example of adult, enlightened discussion?

Hahahahaha. That was great. I needed a good laugh today.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (-1, Troll)

syockit (1480393) | about 9 months ago | (#46135475)

I wonder why you think your trolling post warrants an "adult, enlightened" response?

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135309)

Difference being that lots of oxygen in the atmosphere is typically okay, while lots of carbon isn't. You were just explained this in the post you're replying to, and you wonder why you get modded troll? Protip: you're a troll.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135397)

"Difference being that lots of oxygen in the atmosphere is typically okay, while lots of carbon isn't. You were just explained this in the post you're replying to, and you wonder why you get modded troll? Protip: you're a troll."

Do you know the slightest thing about what you are discussing?

"Carbon" is NOT put into the atmosphere in huge quantities, at least by the Western world. Particulates are strictly regulated.

It is CARBON DIOXIDE, not carbon, that is the alleged culprit here. Do you have these WHOOSH moments often?

But despite the FACT that it is CO2, that is accused by some scientists of being a big problem and carbon is not, this article [nytimes.com] referenced by OP still tries to imply that carbon, all by itself, is a major problem. But IT ISN'T. Period.

You are displaying exactly the misconception I was talking about in my first comment. Get it through your head: CARBON is not an atmospheric pollutant we need to worry much about in the Western world. Particulates are already strictly regulated. And in most of the rest of the environment (i.e., other than the air) it is simply not a significant problem at all.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135443)

Do you know the slightest thing about what you are discussing?

A fair sight more than you. In your world, does anyone drown, or do those people asphyxiate? Or, is heart failure the cause of all deaths?

You seem to be a fan of caps and italics, so let's try this:

YOU ARE A PEDANTIC ASSHOLE WITH ABSOLUTELY NO POINT BEYOND PUBLICLY STROKING OFF.

Is that clear enough?

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about 9 months ago | (#46135099)

But carbon is a greenhouse gas, so an increase in CO2 would have a detrimental effect on the environment. Oxygen (the molecule) on the other hand is not a greenhouse gas. When they say "Carbon" they're actually referring to "Carbon Dioxide"

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (2)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#46135127)

When they say "Carbon" they're actually referring to "Carbon Dioxide"

I think that was a big part of the original poster's point. It's real sloppy wording.

so an increase in CO2 would have a detrimental effect on the environment

It'd also have a positive effect on the environment. It all depends on your point of view.

Re: Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135213)

What's sloppy? If you burn carbon based fuels for energy then you get CO2. The original poster is diverting attention from the issue, because he is desparately looking for a new argument to justify the continued burning of carbon based fuels -- because that's the cheapest way for him to watch Netflix in the comfort of his warm (poorly insulated) McMansion.

Re: Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

ganjadude (952775) | about 9 months ago | (#46135317)

you plant some trees you also get CO2. I wonder what the CO2 content would be if we didnt destroy a good portion of our CO2 producing trees over the past 200 years

Re: Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 9 months ago | (#46135321)

disregard this post. I had my point backwards clearly. What I meant to write is that how would we be holding up if we didnt destroy all our natural CO2 scrubbing trees

Re: Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 9 months ago | (#46135389)

It seems you need either a little more or way less coffee at this point. Step away from the keyboard and go for a walk.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 9 months ago | (#46135151)

CO2? You mean the plant food?

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0, Offtopic)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 9 months ago | (#46135457)

But carbon is a greenhouse gas

Carbon is NOT a gas. Greenhouse or otherwise.

Carbon dioxide IS a gas.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135499)

Produced by joining a carbon atom to an O2 molecule through combustion. The carbon is entering the atmosphere as CO2, replacing the otherwise friendly oxygen molecule with a carbon dioxide molecule. The introduction of the carbon is the root cause; thus, carbon pollution.

Don't let Jane pull you into its game. It knows very well what it's doing.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135503)

Correction: Elemental carbon is not typically found in gaseous form in the atmosphere, however, CO2 is generally found in gaseous form in the atmosphere. If you're going to argue something you need to be more precise. There are many carbon compounds that act as greenhouse gases, many of which produce a greater greenhouse effect per concentration than CO2. /pedant

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135631)

"Elemental carbon is not typically found in gaseous form in the atmosphere, however, CO2 is generally found in gaseous form in the atmosphere."

You missed the entire point.

If carbon and oxygen are joining to form CO2 (the actual pollutant we should be worried about, if those scientists are correct, which I question), THEN it is the CO2 that we should be concerned about. Why "carbon pollution" but not "oxygen pollution"? After all... oxygen is poisonous. Carbon is pretty benign. But in reality, neither one is the alleged "actual substance of concern" here.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about 9 months ago | (#46135513)

My post was only three sentences long - you couldn't have at least read to the end of it?

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 9 months ago | (#46135609)

Read the whole thing. Still boggled by the idea that carbon is a greenhouse gas.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#46135103)

in fact in high concentrations oxygen is poisonous, but carbon is not.

Yea, you'd choke to death long before you'd die of carbon poisoning. And pollution is context based. If it's causing a measurable externality from the quantity of the compound in the environment, then it is a pollutant.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135149)

You might suffocate from too much carbon dioxide, but carbon monoxide will fucking poison you.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135215)

"Yea, you'd choke to death long before you'd die of carbon poisoning."

It probably isn't enough to choke on but you'd likely develop lung disease before long.

"And pollution is context based. If it's causing a measurable externality from the quantity of the compound in the environment, then it is a pollutant."

Sure. But by that definition, water is a very major pollutant, too. We should probably be very concerned about its presence.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135345)

Sure. But by that definition, water is a very major pollutant, too. We should probably be very concerned about its presence.

Water is a pollutant in certain cases. It would pollute the atmosphere in high concentrations, at which point we should be concerned about its concentration; not its mere presence. The same goes for CO2, which, of course, you already know, as it has been explained to you over and over. Again: stop being a pedantic ass.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135483)

"Water is a pollutant in certain cases. It would pollute the atmosphere in high concentrations, at which point we should be concerned about its concentration; not its mere presence. The same goes for CO2, which, of course, you already know, as it has been explained to you over and over. Again: stop being a pedantic ass."

You again, eh?

Why do you so consistently move the goalposts, rather than debating the actual point I made in my original post?

Answer: (A) because it was correct, and (B) since it was correct, you had to find something else to argue about.

I answered GP in the context of his own post. I wasn't being "pedantic", I was making an observation about his own assertion. For which I have no reason to apologize, least of all to you.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135589)

Classic projection. And why make an anonymous coward the target of your vitriol? Tell me about your mother...

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | about 9 months ago | (#46135115)

Carbon is NOT a pollutant

Congratulations, you are technically correct, the best kind of correct.

Now, see how far it gets you when millions of people fleeing the coastlines drive your property prices down.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135181)

"Now, see how far it gets you when millions of people fleeing the coastlines drive your property prices down."

In order for that to happen, the seal level would have to rise significantly, and at a far higher rate than it actually has been rising over the last century.

Even if IPCC's worst-case projections were correct, you have about a century before it would be a meter above where it is now. Better start fleeing.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135391)

Ahh... that explains a lot. The worst kind of asshole: Republican asshole. You got yours, so fuck everyone else, right? If your bleating for the coal/oil industry didn't give your agenda away, this surely did. I hope you drown in a puddle of aids.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 9 months ago | (#46135423)

"Now, see how far it gets you when millions of people fleeing the coastlines drive your property prices down."

In order for that to happen, the seal level would have to rise significantly, and at a far higher rate than it actually has been rising over the last century. Even if IPCC's worst-case projections were correct, you have about a century before it would be a meter above where it is now. Better start fleeing.

Obviously, that depends entirely on where you live (like New Orleans) - even if you actually meant "seal level" - which actually sounds way scarier (and noisier) than rising sea level. [Bark, bark, bark...]

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 9 months ago | (#46135143)

Nitrogen is major constituent of the atmosphere. Now go sit for an hour in a room that is pure nitrogen and let me know how it turns out.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135147)

Funny you should mention oxygen pollution. Ozone [wikipedia.org] , for instance, plays a vital role in blocking UV radiation from reaching the surface. However it is only useful when it is way up in the stratosphere. Down here on the ground, tropospheric ozone [wikipedia.org] is a pollutant, and a major component of smog.

Just because something is "natural" does not mean it is not a pollutant.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135293)

Stick your pedantry up your ass, Jane. Everyone knows what it means. Are you this fucking serious about the goose/geese:moose/meese problem that we have in this country? Seriously, get on that, or shut the hell up.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135351)

As you point out if there was enough oxygen then we would talk of oxygen pollution...

Since the PPM of CO2 has been rising steadily and causing "undesired effects" it is fair to call it a pollutant. Something doesn't have to be specifically poisonous for it to be a pollutant.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollutant

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (2)

ultranova (717540) | about 9 months ago | (#46135425)

Funny, you don't hear anybody talking about "Oxygen Pollution", even though oxygen makes up more of CO2 than carbon does, and in fact in high concentrations oxygen is poisonous, but carbon is not.

What "carbon pollution" refers to is obviously carbon dioxide, which is both poisonous (by your own criteria) and a pollutant.

Playing dumb should never be an acceptable tactic in any discussion.

Re:Well, Heck... No Wonder! (1, Offtopic)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135603)

Typical Slashdot. An accurate and technically correct comment about sloppy reporting gets modded "troll".

Looks like I offended somebody's religion again.

Horse... barndoor... (5, Insightful)

Omega Hacker (6676) | about 9 months ago | (#46135067)

While I generaly loathe our excessive use of fossil fuels, this is a case where the "market" is well in the lead of regulators. Those oils sands are already being dug up and processed, and the market is not going to let anything get in the way of that. This pipeline simply reduces the overall environmental impact and increases the safety (Casselton, North Dakota anyone?) of moving what is already being produced.

Re: Horse... barndoor... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135355)

right, because there's no environmental impact to a giant pipeline leaking into groundwater through several states, right? keep trolling

The impact of trucking/training is worse (2)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | about 9 months ago | (#46135523)

than a pipeline. Not only does it cost more energy to ship oil via trains and trucks, the risk of accident seems much higher per barrel moved.

And right now, it's being trained and trucked around.

--PM

Re: Horse... barndoor... (0, Troll)

Rujiel (1632063) | about 9 months ago | (#46135357)

right, because there's no environmental impact to a giant pipeline leaking into groundwater through several states, right? keep trolling

Why is a pipeline needed? (1)

xeoron (639412) | about 9 months ago | (#46135079)

They claim it is to be able to push it to the refineries, but if that was true, why not build some refineries on or near the USA / Canadian boarder? It would be cheaper, require less resources, and environmentally safer.

Re:Why is a pipeline needed? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 9 months ago | (#46135095)

Maybe it's more efficient to transport one product to refineries all over and let them break it out into all the various end products closer to where they're actually being used?

Re:Why is a pipeline needed? (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 9 months ago | (#46135459)

Maybe it's more efficient to transport one product to refineries all over and let them break it out into all the various end products closer to where they're actually being used?

Oil can be and is refined into many different products, so that might be true if those refineries all over will extract/use everything. Otherwise it might make more sense to ship the crude oil fewer places that can extract everything, then ship only the refined products the remote places want. The crude oil and various refined, extraneous, and by- products can be better monitored, controlled and regulated if consolidated in fewer places.

Re:Why is a pipeline needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135633)

AFAIK from summaries of the situation, the texas refineries need some heavy to replace decreased venezula imports. the products would then get shipped back wherever.

Re:Why is a pipeline needed? (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about 9 months ago | (#46135109)

Then you would have to long-haul the refined products to their markets, increasing the environmental impact (more CO2) and potential danger of an accident during transport (refined products tend to be more volatile than crude oil).

Re:Easy to raise fuel costs and exports (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#46135119)

Funny that the pipleline seems to go to a port. You think the gas companies are going to ship it to Galveston right near the port of houston just to sell the gas back to us for $3.50 a gallon or sell it to China for $9.00 a gallon?

Hmm which decision do you think it will come too.

Expect an end to cheap fuel prices and another recession in the midst with hyperinflation. After all most of us westerns live on the east or west coasts while our food is produced in the center. The cost of getting your starbucks coffee has just doubled.

Re:Why is a pipeline needed? (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 9 months ago | (#46135161)

Do you think that the Obama government is going to grant the permits to allow such refineries to be built?

Re:Why is a pipeline needed? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 9 months ago | (#46135377)

It's largely not up to the Obama administration, but rather the individual states and the state where the proposed pipeline terminates, Texas, already has many very large refineries with a collective capacity of billions of barrels per day of refined products and easy access to rail, road, and ship networks for transporting those finished products to market.

Re:Why is a pipeline needed? (2)

rossdee (243626) | about 9 months ago | (#46135393)

A refinery in Canada is not going to need US approval

Re:Why is a pipeline needed? (3, Informative)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#46135223)

They claim it is to be able to push it to the refineries, but if that was true, why not build some refineries on or near the USA / Canadian boarder?

Because there are huge regulatory obstacles to building refineries. In the US there have only been a small handful of refineries built in the past few decades since the advent of the EPA. According to here [eia.gov] there have been 15 refineries built in the US since the EPA was founded in 1970 and a total of 143 in existence. Two small new refineries in North Dakota are under construction.

Glancing at the Wikipedia page on the Keystone XL Pipeline, it's expected to have a maximum flow of around 600k barrels per day. In comparison, the US consumes somewhat shy [eia.gov] of 40 million barrels of various petroleum products per day.

Even if that oil was refined, the resulting products would still need to be moved to where they'll be consumed.

Re:Why is a pipeline needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135281)

The boarder might complain? Just because he doesn't own the place is no reason to build a refinery on the person.

Re:Why is a pipeline needed? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 9 months ago | (#46135331)

There is a certain fixed cost in building and maintaining a refinery. Large capital investments in acquisition and maintenance of specialized equipment, storage and related support businesses, including rail and pipeline amongst many others, are all required for practical and effective refinery operations. Consider also that most crude oil deposits occur in remote locations where none of these support requirements are readily available. So what arrangement minimizes overall costs? Building your refinery in a large industrialized port city with easy access to continental rail connections, pipelines and ocean going shipping. There's your answer in a nutshell. Now obviously the real world is complex and many factors, ranging from local demand to regulation and politics, can impact these decisions on the margins but as with many other production decisions in the real economy, things are done the way they're done because it's cheaper than the alternatives and any business that doesn't pay attention to costs tends to go out of business.

Re:Why is a pipeline needed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135367)

Cheaper? Not likely. Refineries are mucho expensive to build.

And if you thought that getting approval for the freaking pipeline was a long, involved process, you should see how much effort is required to get approval to build a refinery. There's a reason that spare US refinery capacity is as low as it is - getting approval to build new refineries is close to impossible.

As for piping the oil to Houston, keep in mind that all oil is not the same. The chemical composition of the oil determines the processes required, and not every refinery can perform every process.

Re:Why is a pipeline needed? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 9 months ago | (#46135387)

Yup, build the refineries in ND where there is plenty of oiil, and power them with natural gas.
Having all our refineries in the gulf, where they will have to shut down every time there is a hurricane (which is happening more frequently with climate change) is stupid.

And also that tar sands oil is not just hydrocarbons, theres other shit in it, remember that pipeline leak in Arkansaw

Oh we can just buy American Sands (1)

Alex Mackinnon (2836613) | about 9 months ago | (#46135105)

We can just buy American oil sands, frack the planet too. The main reason they don't want Canadian oil development is to remove a competitor and keep the price of oil up as American's bomb their under group ruining their drinking water.

what do ordinary citizens think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135123)

stuff that matters still http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=tar+sands+fracking...+citizens

Spills (0)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 9 months ago | (#46135135)

I thought the thing people were worried about was spills. Those pipelines are long and not always well monitored.

From an economic standpoint it's basically a pipe from Canada to China. If you're an Oilman that's great, because you can sell you're oil to a new market for big money. If you're anyone else in America or Canada... not so much, since you've just started competing with the Chinese to buy that oil...

Re:Spills (1, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135257)

From an economic standpoint it's basically a pipe from Canada to China.

Seems like it. And from that perspective, my biggest concern is: who will pay for it?

Is it being built entirely with money from the special interests involved? (Should be yes.)

Will it have minimal environmental impact under normal conditions? (Should be yes.)

Will the owners be responsible if ANYTHING goes wrong? (Should be yes.)

Etc. If any of those answers are "no", then it should not be built. But don't trust Obama to decide bases on those criteria.

I am agaisn't this (2, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#46135163)

Not because of environmental liabilities or because I hate greedy oil companies.

But because it is a ploy to export our oil to where they can get 300% more profits than in the US.

Oddly, this gem of unregulating oil exports is also hotly contested [time.com] political item which is mysteriously being debated at the exact same time as this. Now why is that?

Easy the pipleline is a way to triple our gas prices or at least move them closer to $7.00 a gallon as petro companies can sell it to China for $9.00 a gallon instead of selling it to Canadians and Americans for $3.50 a gallon. Right now we just do not have the capacity to move oil in one big central location to the scale that the oil pipeline does.

With the pipleline and the oil company's lobbyists for unregulated crude exporting we are screwed. Add to that the fact that most westerns live on the east or west coast while our food is produced in the middle in Mexico, USA, and Canada and we now have hyperinflation overnight as the price of milk, eggs, and even your starbucks coffee doubles!

Re:I am agaisn't this (1)

PAKnightPA (955602) | about 9 months ago | (#46135473)

Dude, you realize this is Canadian oil that will flow through the pipeline, not American. It already can be exported... the export ban only governs US produced oil...

And in general, while US produced crude oil can't be exported, US refineries just turn it into gasoline and then export it because that is allowed (the law is strange). So gasoline prices wouldn't go up if the export law is changed, you'd still pay the same at the pump (gas is expensive in Europe for example because of very high taxes on gas). This really only affects US oil producers and refiners.

Anyway, calm down and read up on the oil markets.

Re:I am agaisn't this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135569)

Ok.

So the Canadians can sell it to americans like they do now for $3.50 a gallon or sell it China instead for $9.00? Hmm which option do you think they will choose?

The reason they sell it to Americans and other Canadians because they have no port where they can do it in massive scale to make it worth the investment. Now they can.

Re:I am agaisn't this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135617)

the Canadian subsidiaries of US and international oil companies that are making that oil in Alberta want to export it internationally because their only market for it now is the central US, and that area has a relative glut of supply. Great for the consumer-level of the game. Crappy for the money side of it. If it was truly just about the US oil markets and "energy self-sufficiency", and perhaps if Keystone XL just went down to say Chicago, and from there into pipelines to the US east and west coast refineries, not export terminals...

So what if it is exported, that's cash for us (2)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | about 9 months ago | (#46135509)

Seems to me that you should sell domestically produced items wherever it makes the most profit, as a general rule. (Yes, there are exceptions.)

Just make sure that it isn't just a few fat cats, but Canada and the US's general populace, who wins out on the higher revenues.

--PM

Re:I am agaisn't this (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 9 months ago | (#46135567)

But because it is a ploy to export our oil to where they can get 300% more profits than in the US.

I take it you're Canadian? Because the oil in question is coming from Canada, not the USA.

Note that if Canada really wanted to export their oil overseas, they would have just built a pipeline to one of the Canadian ports.

False premisis (4, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about 9 months ago | (#46135233)

Many people seem to be under the delusion that if we don't allow the pipeline into the US that the oil wont be extracted. It is Canada's right to extract the oil and sell it to the market - and they will. By removing the pipeline to the US from the table all you are doing is forcing the market to adapt. The market can and will adapt by either using trucks to haul the oil (much higher risk of a spill) or by selling their product elsewhere.

You lose the advantage of having the environmental impact of a single pipeline that is easy to monitor and the safest relative way to transport oil. Your instead replacing it with shipping through another pipeline to a port where it will be placed on ships and sent overseas. The most likely place to ship it to is China and you can rest assured they won't be worrying about environmental impact reports.

Now the same amount of oil is being used and it has a higher impact on the environment during shipment and afterwards. Meanwhile the US will be importing oil from overseas to meet demand, again adding shipping risks and emissions. This is plainly worse for the environment and the net result is pretty much the opposite of people are trying to achieve.

Re:False premisis (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 9 months ago | (#46135267)

I like how you and Billy Gates above came to completely opposite conclusions. Can the two of you fight it out and let us know who won?

One or both of you is obviously hiding something, so out with it.

Re:False premisis (0)

csumpi (2258986) | about 9 months ago | (#46135275)

And many people are under the delusion that they know what they are talking about.

Re:False premisis (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 9 months ago | (#46135477)

You lose the advantage of having the environmental impact of a single pipeline that is easy to monitor and the safest relative way to transport oil. Your instead replacing it with shipping through another pipeline to a port where it will be placed on ships and sent overseas. The most likely place to ship it to is China and you can rest assured they won't be worrying about environmental impact reports.

You fundamentally misunderstand: The refined petroleum products are going to China anyways.
The only question is whether it gets shipped through the USA and put onto boats in the Gulf of Mexico,
or if Canada has to build a pipeline across their own country and ship it from their own coast.

A Senator asked the President of TransCanada (the company in charge of Keystone XL) if he would require his clients to keep all the refined products in the USA and was unequivocally told no.
http://boldnebraska.org/markey-exports [boldnebraska.org]

Previously, then-Representative Markey challenged TransCanada on this question at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on December 2, 2011. There he asked Alexander Pourbaix, TransCanada's President of Energy and Oil Pipelines, whether he would commit to including a requirement in TransCanada's long-term contracts with Gulf Coast refineries, as a condition of shipping, that all refined fuels produced from oil transported through the Keystone XL pipeline be sold in the United States. In response, Mr. Pourbaix stated "no, I can't do that."

Even worse for the USA, Keystone will act like a giant straw to siphon out oil from the mid-west, causing their local prices to rise.
The biggest joke is that Keystone XL creates ~35 full time jobs once it is done [livescience.com]
Keystone XL is not a winner for the United States, unless you own a oil refinery.

Re:False premisis (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 9 months ago | (#46135583)

Many people seem to be under the delusion that if we don't allow the pipeline into the US that the oil wont be extracted.

Many more people are under the delusion that the pipeline is not already in the USA.

It should be noted that the first two parts of the pipeline are already in place, and already pumping oil. The part that this article is talking about will provide only a better path to move the oil that's already being moved from Canada to the USA.

liberals are making mistake. (0)

WindBourne (631190) | about 9 months ago | (#46135305)

Pipeline could be there best friend. Push o to put a tax of $1-4/bl that flows. Then have that tax applied to new electric and natural gas vehicles. That will enable them to drop demand for oil to energy down the road. That will lower price of oil which will make expensive oil go away, while dropping CO2. Such a lack of strategical thoughts in America.

Re:liberals are making mistake. (0)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 9 months ago | (#46135593)

While you think you are proud to stand up for a company that wants your money from you and your family have you thought about why the debate of exporting oil is up at the exact same time as the pipeline?

Also the pipeline is at a port and not a refinery?! Hmm

Maybe just maybe the point of this is to raise gas prices to $7.00 a gallon as you and your family now have to compete agaisn't Chinese who are willing to pay $9.00 a gallon?

This will be a disaster and do the opposite of lowering prices.

Kind of a stupid argument (0)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 9 months ago | (#46135339)

The argument that he shouldn't consider the carbon impact when authorizing it because someone is going to extract the oil anyway is kind of ridiculous. That's like saying we should buy conflict diamond since they've already been unearthed and brought to market (an argument that I've also heard before).

Well, not exactly that. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 9 months ago | (#46135341)

After five years and five environmental reviews, time and time again the Department of State analysis has shown that the pipeline is safe for the environment.

Actually, this report says providing a pipeline for the oil, so that oil can be processed and used, won't increase CO2 because the oil is going to be utilized anyway, through other means, if not via the pipeline. (Meaning, stopping the pipeline doesn't stop the oil.)

I believe some of what environmentalists are also concerned about is leaks and spills from the pipeline along the way. Though, given the number of incidents using train tank-cars, I can't imagine the pipeline being worst. I imagine, ultimately, it would be better than shipping by train/truck.

Re:Well, not exactly that. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#46135521)

Actually, this report says providing a pipeline for the oil, so that oil can be processed and used, won't increase CO2 because the oil is going to be utilized anyway, through other means, if not via the pipeline. (Meaning, stopping the pipeline doesn't stop the oil.)

Right. That should be what the debate is about, anyway. But OP and the NYT article linked to in OP do imply that it is carbon itself that we should worry about.

I believe some of what environmentalists are also concerned about is leaks and spills from the pipeline along the way. Though, given the number of incidents using train tank-cars, I can't imagine the pipeline being worst. I imagine, ultimately, it would be better than shipping by train/truck.

I agree, and I hope that is so. My main concerns here are: (A) is China going to open-air burn that oil with few environmental controls [which is part of the pollution debate, or should be], and (B) are the owners and operators of the pipeline going to be held responsible for ALL the costs, and ALL the problems, as they should be?

Re:Well, not exactly that. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 9 months ago | (#46135549)

So. Clever and smart - maybe more than I am. Single? :-)

kind of a weird choice of agency (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 9 months ago | (#46135353)

I get that the State Department is involved because the proposed pipeline is transnational, and therefore impacts foreign policy, but does the State Department really have in-house expertise on environmental affairs? Afaik they are mostly diplomats, geopolitics experts, security experts, etc., while the environmental expertise is mostly in the EPA, and a few other departments like Interior.

Re:kind of a weird choice of agency (3, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | about 9 months ago | (#46135479)

Not knowing a single damn thing about what they're doing has never stopped a politician before.

Thanks Obama (0)

d3matt (864260) | about 9 months ago | (#46135575)

N/T

Carbon is Not the Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135625)

It's a massive, inevitable oil spill over the world's last surviving untouched rainforest. That's what everyone is protesting against.

Pipeline won't blow up small Quebec towns (2)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 9 months ago | (#46135627)

I think dealing with a pipeline spill will be far easier than rebuilding small Quebec towns blown up by trainloads of it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

A Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46135629)

For the Corporations by the Corporations

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