Obama Vetoes Keystone Bill

February 24, 2015

25 Responses to “Obama Vetoes Keystone Bill”

  1. MorinMoss Says:

    Should have gone for the “pocket” veto.
    But it was so precious to hear a rightwing lickspittle accuse Obama of “choosing Washington lobbyists & special interests over the American people”.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    A good job by Symons of the EDF, but he should have called bullshit on the lying POS shill for the fossil fuel interests a number of times. These people are allowed to spout their crazy BS and everyone is simply too nice to them.

    Bryce began with the “symbolism” BS and that KXL really wasn’t important, then moved to us “dumping on our ally Canada” if we didn’t take their “oil”, then switched to the “national interest” BS by lying and saying 70% of the tar sands oil would be used in the U.S., then talked about how it would be good if oil prices dropped even lower, and finished up quoting some half-assed study that claims burning every last drop of Canadian oil wouldn’t affect the climate “measurably”. Wandered all over the “logic lot”, if you ask me.

    I’m sure I could find more insane and contradictory BS in Bryce’s remarks, but my head is already spinning from listening to him, and I don’t want to fall off my chair.. Whatever they’re paying him, it’s too much.

  3. andrewfez Says:

    The US uses 18.89M barrels/day and KXL would throw another 0.5M into the mix. Even if all of that went to the US, that’s only a 2.6% increase. We could do that with efficiency. So for the light duty sector of cars that gets 23.6 miles/gallon, all we would have to do is push efficiency to 24.2miles/gallon to get the same result of the KXL, in terms of consumption. So energy security is only 0.6 miles/gallon away, according to Republicans? What was the agreed upon fleet efficiency by 2025? Something like 40 miles/gallon?

  4. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    This tweet sums it up rather nicely…

  5. pbjamm Says:

    I am torn on the whole KXL subject. It is simple for the Republican because a) AGW is a hoax so does not need to be considered and b) drill baby drill!
    To me it is not that simple, and apparently not to the POTUS either as the review has been going on for 6 years.

    The new section of pipeline will lower the transport cost of all that oil speeding up extraction. A bad thing if you are worried about climate change, but it is already being extracted and transported via pipeline, rail and truck. The last two are pollution intensive (all that diesel fuel) and accident prone, more so than a pipeline anyhow. That fact favors the KXL. Building the KXL though crosses some important watersheds and will apparently require land seizure under Eminent Domain, something which everyone should find troubling (especially conservatives). It may even be the most troubling part of the plan, to me anyhow.
    I guess for me what does stopping the pipeline really accomplish? The oil will still flow. What would building it accomplish other than lowering production costs for TransCanada? As I said at the outset I am conflicted.


    • dumboldguy Says:

      “What would building it accomplish other than lowering production costs for TransCanada?” you ask?

      Keeping TransCanada’s production and transportation costs high is the whole point. Without KXL, Alberta tar sands “oil” will have to get to the gulf coast of the U.S. via prohibitively more expensive and difficult means, and that makes continued exploitation of the tar sands less viable.

      Let the Canadians ship it to their own east and west coasts for processing and export and keep it out of the U.S. We have already got the camel’s nose under the tent with existing pipelines and railroads and don’t need to let any more of it in.

      And as far as “The last two (rail and truck) are pollution intensive (all that diesel fuel) and accident prone, more so than a pipeline anyhow”, don’t forget that pipeline accidents are way bigger and harder to clean up than rail or truck accidents, and that the pipeline spills of tar sands “oil” have been huge disasters.

      • pbjamm Says:

        I may have phrased that incorrectly. It does lower the cost for TransCanada but what does it do for the US? What do we get out of the deal? As far as I can tell not much benefit but increased risk of environmental damage. Is that risk greater than the already in progress rail/truck transport? I do not know. If it lowers the risk that is good, but the increased CO2 emissions from increased production are not. Some small percent of that would be offset by all the trucks and trains that are no longer running to transport it, unless they decide it is cost effective to use both. I guess it all depends upon those safety numbers.
        There would be a small number of jobs created constructing the pipeline and at the refineries along the gulf but how would those balance against the jobs lost in trucking and related businesses? It is not simple even if you do discount AGW and environmental dangers as the majority of Republicans seem to be doing. On the whole I oppose the KXL on the grounds that it does not seem to really benefit the US in any measurable way.

    • jimbills Says:

      At its root, the Keystone is a subsidy for the tar sands producers in Canada and oil refiners in the U.S. It lowers transport costs for them, increasing their profits. That’s it, bottom line. Everything else – the handful of jobs that would be created, the risk of spillage, etc. – is a side issue.

      Yes, the oil will still flow regardless of the pipeline. The basic question one has to ask oneself is whether or not we should support that effort, because approving the pipeline IS supporting that effort, both in symbolic and tangible (land seizures) ways.

      Lowering costs on the creation and refining of this product ensures its continued development. Increased profits aid expansion of the industry, it provides a buffer from too low oil prices, and it reduces both the economic need and competitiveness of competing sources of energy.

      For the issue of climate change, it is sheer madness to support especially the dirtiest forms of carbon emissions. We HAVE to leave that stuff in the ground eventually, and building pipelines works against that.

      That’s a point that isn’t mentioned much note – pipelines (plural) as opposed to one pipeline. The Keystone is just one pipeline, but it’s the first to extend out of the North American landlock (discounting the canal system from the Great Lakes), and the political fight is, yes, largely symbolic. But in a very real way, once the first pipeline is approved, the precedent has been set to approve other pipelines in the future. If it is built, there will be little political power to fight others.

    • andrewfez Says:

      (all that diesel fuel)=

      “Moving freight by rail is 4 times more fuel efficient than moving freight on the highway. Trains can move a ton of freight nearly 450 miles on a single gallon of fuel. Efficient use of fuel means fewer greenhouse gas emissions for our planet.”


      What would building it accomplish other than lowering production costs for TransCanada?

      The lower their costs, the lower the cost that they can sell it at, and this creates downstream demand, and takes our eye off the ball with regard to efficiency implementation. It furthers oil dependency.

      I’ve heard some of that eminent domain claiming is as easy as checking a box on a piece of government paperwork. I’ve never investigated what I’ve heard, and it sounds a bit far fetched, yet still, it’s wrong for a private company to take your land, using the G as a tool to do it.

  6. Beyond the spin, Robert Bryce’s reference to Andrew Weaver’s 2012 study concluding that even if ALL of the oil in the oil sands were burned the impact on climate change would almost be undetectable is “interesting”. Here is a link to a summary of that study.


    It states that burning the *proven reserve* of 170 billion barrels would lead to a warming of 0.03°C (0.02-0.05). It also said that burning the 1.8 trillion barrels of the *oil in place* “would lead to a climate warming of 0.36°C (0.24-0.50°C, 5th-95th percentile)”.

    At capacity Keystone (phase IV) would transport 830,000 barrels per day. Phase I-III deliver 1,290,000 barrels per day. At a 2,120,000 barrel per day rate the proven reserves would be sold in 220 years. It’s not hard to imagine that their plan goes well beyond K-XL.

    1 ton of CO2 is produced by 3.15 barrels of typical crude. Therefore, the tar sands produce 1.17x CO2 per barrel. Each 2.69 barrels of oil extracted/refined from the tar sands produces 1 ton of CO2. Assuming that they distribute at their publicly planned rate through mid-century, they will have shipped about 27 billion barrels. That would generate about 10 billion tons of CO2 which is 2% of what scientists estimate that humans can “safely” pour into the atmosphere in that time-frame, in addition to decimating a boreal forest.

    • jimbills Says:

      One could also say that the one murder they committed was infinitesimal compared to the total number of murders committed that year. All the people committing those murders could think the same thing themselves on an individual basis, too.

      The problem is the cumulative effect of all our decisions, and right now the pendulum is swinging distinctly one way. We need to ask ourselves whether or not we should apply pressure to keep the current direction, or apply pressure in the opposite direction.

      Taken only by itself, the Keystone is a small contributor to climate change. But it carries symbolic weight for the direction our society chooses to pursue. It will affect future decisions, and it will help push the pendulum towards higher emission scenarios than lower.

    • ontspan Says:

      And that seems to me even without the energy (natural gas) that is being put into producing the oil and therefore multiplies the CO2 emissions by some factor, something less then 1 (I hope).

    • My objective was to approximately quantify Bryce’s use of “undetectable”. IMO, 2% of the total “safe” emissions from one source is detectable.

      The business case for destroying a North American virgin forest to expensively boil away the underground bitumen is insanity – unless there’s an expectation that humans will eventually burn all of the planet’s proven reserves, which is another kind of insanity. The amount extracted during the next 35 years is a tiny percentage of the tar sand’s “oil in place”.

      In the calculation, I multiplied the amount of CO2 generated from using tar sands vs. conventional crude by 1.17.

  7. “decimating a boreal forest.” Who knows what that means? I heard the guest from the EDF use that term, and I imagine that most people don’t know what it means, or even care. The idea of cutting down trees isn’t bad – we manage forests all the time for paper, timber, etc, so how is “decimating a boreal forest” worse? What is a boreal forest? Who has time to learn in the midst of a sound-byte world.

    We need a better phrase that expresses the idea in a sound-byte form, mre easily digestible. Something like, “turning a virgin wilderness into a toxic waste pit.” Or, “That’s like a person with lung cancer having the healthy lung removed, and leaving the cancerous lung there!” It doesn’t have to be a perfect analogy, but it has to make an impact. (Like the other guest’s ‘shooting the pizza delivery guy’ quip.)

    We need better climate communicators.

    • jimbills Says:

      Great climate communicators are out there. Few are listening, or care, as you said.


      The problem with sound bites is that people can easily be confused by other, contradictory sound bites – and there will always plenty of those. I agree we live in the sound bite age, but that doesn’t make me optimistic about our future.

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