Keystone XL

Count me in the group NO.

The effect on jobs appears to be small and temporary (most jobs lasting 4 or 8 months):

  • From the Keystone XL website:
    Keystone XL is the definition of shovel-ready infrastructure project. Almost overnight, Keystone XL could put 9,000 hard-working American men and women directly to work. The U.S. State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (PDF, 4 MB) found that the project would support more than 42,000 direct and indirect jobs nationwide. – See more at:
  • Or looking at it another way, from the same report:

    Over at CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said it “would create several thousand temporary construction jobs and only 35 permanent jobs.”


The effect on the carbon emissions appears to be harder to determine, but certainly TransCanada is lowballing it.  Which makes me think it might be important, and bad:

  • Again, from the Keystone XL website, “the estimated incremental greenhouse gas emissions associated with the products carried by Keystone XL are expected to be substantially less than 18.7 million tonnes per year.”
  • From Carbon Tracker:

    The pipeline would be responsible for generating a whole lot more emissions than the State Department accounted for, the group argues, because it would be facilitating more rapid development of the tar sands, which would create its own emissions in turn. The report finds that, through 2050, “KXL-enabled production” of tar sands oil would produce as much as 5.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent. Carbon Tracker’s projection is within the range of the State Department’s estimate of annual emissions — a maximum of 168 million metric tons — but it totals them over 35 years to demonstrate the pipeline’s cumulative and longterm impact. It would be the equivalent of building an additional 46 coal-fired power plants, or roughly the average amount of CO2 that the United States emits overall each year.

The effect on freedom is definitely bad.  The use of eminent domain to benefit a private company is outrageous.  And a foreign private company at that!  From Forbes:

In an email after the publication of this article, TransCanada said it has reached voluntary agreements to secure 100% of the private easements required for the pipeline in Montana and South Dakota. It has 76% of the easements required for the route in Nebraska, it said. In general, the company said it has had to use eminent domain with only 2% of landowners.

The Native American nations are also being railroaded.  It’s shameful.  16 tribes in 3 states object to the pipeline going through or near their lands.

And the effect on gas prices in the midwest (from CBS news):

“Midwest drivers would be hardest hit because the region currently imports more than half of its oil for refining from Canada,” according to Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit public interest group. “Increases at the pump could range from 25 cents to 40 cents a gallon, depending on how regional refineries respond to paying $20 to $30 more per 42-gallon barrel for Canadian crude oil.”

A 2011 report by Cornell University’s Global Labor Institute projected that the Keystone’s rerouting of oil from the Midwest would end up costing the region up to $4 billion in higher gas prices…

But the real reason I am opposed to KXL is the spills.  From ThinkProgress, reported 1/19/2015:

On Saturday morning, a pipeline in Montana spilled up to 50,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River, the pipeline’s operator confirmed Sunday night.

Here’s a photo from the Billings Gazzette.  Those dark spots are the oil under the ice:


This also happened back in 2011, on July 1.  I was there in late September that year, and boats were still not permitted anywhere near the spill site.  That was 63,000 gallons.  KXL capacity starts at 700,000 barrels per day, increasing to 1.5 million.  63,000 gallons is 3 minutes of the starting rate.

Pipelines are mechanical.  They will malfunction and leak.  It’s just a matter of when, and where, and how much.




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