Sunday, November 10, 2013

About that Keystone pipeline: Who needs it?

Posted By on Sun, Nov 10, 2013 at 8:15 AM

click to enlarge KEYSTONE CHAMPIONS: Reps. Tim Griffin and Tom Cotton.
  • KEYSTONE CHAMPIONS: Reps. Tim Griffin and Tom Cotton.
Here's some more serious reading for Sunday, by Elizabeth Douglass of Inside Climate News, who's joined us in our special coverage of the Mayflower oil spill.

She's reporting now on developments related to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and the Obama administration's pending decision on clearing the way for moving Canadian tar sands across the Midwest to refineries in Texas.

The project has been touted as essential to U.S. energy independence and Arkansas jobs in the pipe industry. The photo above is from the photo op staged last year by Republican Reps. Tom Cotton, Tim Griffin and Rick Crawford. The pipeline was at the heart of Griffin's 2012 re-election campaign.

With that background, this from Inside Climate News:

The ongoing U.S. oil boom has flooded the Gulf Coast with domestic crude to levels not seen in decades, creating a homegrown oil glut in the nation's refining center just as the Obama Administration prepares to rule on a pipeline that would add a torrent of heavy Canadian crude to the same region.

It's just the latest in a string of developments that have surprised and roiled oil markets since 2009, when the combination of falling fuel demand and an unexpected surge in U.S. oil and natural gas production began destroying widely held assumptions about the nation’s need for imports.

There's a particularly delicious part of this development thanks to the nativism that has supported so much of the Griffin/Cotton campaign for Keystone. You know, we're held hostage by foreign oil producers.

Conditions have changed so radically that U.S. refiners are now exporting record amounts of fuel to overseas customers, and there’s a parade of tankers delivering Texas oil to refineries on the east coast of Canada. As these and other surprising trends unfold, it's becoming increasingly clear that the controversial Canadian oil import pipeline, the Keystone XL, is not an urgently needed link.

Many benefits being touted by Keystone XL supporters—American jobs, lower oil costs, greater energy independence through lower imports—are already being delivered by the domestic oil rush. The Canadian oil pipeline might expand some of those benefits, but its significance has been eclipsed by surging production in North Dakota and Texas.

Imperil watersheds with a toxic blend of chemicals and heavy crude so that refineries can have Canadian resources to make into products to ship to China, even as Texas oil is being shipped to Canadian refineries? Sound good to you?

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