A Pipeline Too Far


Well. our old friend Keystone Pipeline XL is back in the news lately because both Republicans and Democrats need a legislative low hurdle to make it look like they know what they’re doing.  Both parties seem to have agreed in a back room, somewhere, that Keystone XL might fill that bill nicely and they are now fighting over bragging rights for its long-awaited passage.

As usual, Republicans are touting the pipeline as the ‘key to America’s energy independence’ and monster job creator; Democrats are hoping to use it to help Sen Mary Landrieu limp across the finish line in Louisiana.  Sen Landrieu (D-LA) is heading toward a runoff election, next month, against Rep Bill Cassidy (R-LA). 

Both have sponsored separate bills to pass the Keystone Pipeline. Landrieu announced today that she’ll be seeking congressional approval for her bill in the near future.  Shortly after her announcement House Republican leaders scheduled a vote on Cassidy’s bill for tomorrow. 

And Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sweetened the pot for Cassidy by adding that:

I’m excited to announce that when elected, Dr. Cassidy will be a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  I’m confident Cassidy will use this position to succeed where Sen. Landrieu failed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Obama administration signaled a willingness to suck all of the drama out of this particular piece of political theater by vetoing any bill to approve the pipeline. 

Whitehouse Press Secretary, Josh Earnest said:

. . .  as it relates to the Keystone pipeline, as you know, this is a project that is continuing to be subjected to a review that’s conducted by the State Department. That’s consistent with past practice on projects like this.

The President, as you’ll recall in a speech that he delivered last summer, indicated that one of the factors in that review should be the degree to which a project like this would substantially contribute to the causes of climate change. So this is a project that is still under review by the State Department to determine whether or not it’s in the national interest.


But there have been previous proposals that I expect would be consistent with proposals that have been discussed overnight. And in evaluating those earlier proposals, we have indicated that the President’s senior advisors at the White House would recommend that he veto legislation like that. But we’ll — and that does continue to be our position.

That’s a few “harumphs” short of a formal veto threat but not by much.

There’s also a very real chance that none of the political posturing will matter, anyway.  As Tim Mullaney of CNBC put it a few hours ago:  “What if they voted for a pipeline but nobody came?”

Since June, crude oil prices have dropped 28%.  The “heavy” oil pumped out of Canada’s oil sands fields is one of the most expensive types of oil to process and, depending on the type of drilling used, can cost between $85 - $110 per barrel to produce.  American crude oil, today, is trading at $77 a barrel.

I don’t know what TransCanada‘s business plan looks like but I’d guess that if the situation stays the same, it could be a showstopper for Keystone XL. 

Moody’s Analytics energy economist, Chris Lafakis, said:

I would think that in order for new drilling projects to be capitalized and economical, the price of oil would need to be around $85 to $90.

As Mullaney reports, Lafakis likened the situation to another doomed pipeline:

The situation is broadly similar to that faced by an earlier proposal to build a natural-gas pipeline from Alaska to the Midwest, Lafakis said. After being approved by then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in 2007, the pipeline was never built, because newly discovered supplies of gas in the Lower 48 states pushed gas prices down by about two-thirds.

None of that, however, is likely to stop congressional actors from using Keystone XL as a political football, now that they’ve locked on a plan.  Indeed, Fox News is already cavalierly embarrassing itself anew by trotting out its tired old, oft debunked line of hogwash about the tens of thousands of American jobs that the pipeline would create, not to mention the fact that Keystone XL is surely the linchpin to American energy independence.

The notion that Keystone XL has anything to do with American energy independence is pure foolishness designed to dupe gullible, low-info Americans.  The only reason that TransCanada wants to build this pipeline is to save some money on getting their oil to China.  The United States simply happens to own the right-of-way that lies under their shortest “as the crow flies” route.

The pipeline is and always has been meant to funnel Canadian oil to the Gulf of Mexico via Louisiana gulf-ports from whence it will be shipped and sold on the global market at the going rate.  Americans are not likely to buy it, use it or even see it, unless, of course, the damn pipeline springs a leak.

But none of those facts should get in the way of Keystone XL’s pretend political capital and, as long as politicians find it useful, the media will dive right in with them.  For example, it’s only been a day that this is in play, nevertheless, unhampered by facts, Anna Kooiman, a recent add to Fox’s stable of journalistic eye candy, recently said on Fox and Friends:

And if you would just approve the Keystone XL pipeline, there would be tens of thousands of jobs created.

But, sadly no, Anna.

As Allen Clifton reported today:

At best this project will create a few thousand temporary jobs spread out over two years. And that doesn’t mean temporary jobs that last two years. It means a few jobs that might last 6 weeks, while some others might last six months.

Not to mention when this “tens of thousands” number is used Republicans fail to mention that many of those “jobs” are speculative based on indirect job creation such as hotels or restaurants. But, again, those are temporary jobs – any boost to local economies via the construction of this pipeline would be very short and end after two years.

The actual estimated number of permanent jobs created in the US to support Keystone XL? 35 . . . with no zeroes after it.

But then, this is the same “journalist” who lambasted Bruce Springsteen for singing “Fortunate Son” on Veteran’s Day thus:

Yeah, you’re doing this for an audience of veterans, and it’s almost a slap in the face,” co-host Anna Kooiman agreed. “These producers should have known their audience, and known what they were getting with people like Bruce Springsteen.”

I’m sure that producers everywhere sat up and heard that wake-up call from a 30 year-old ingenue who’s been serving in the trenches at Fox for three years learning the womanly art of on-set leg-crossing and pithy but ladylike ripostes.

Oh and there’s also this ruminative gem that Kooiman burped up over Keith Ablow’s recent American Jihad embarrassment:

During a Wednesday appearance on Fox & Friends, host Anna Kooiman worried that Muslims might confuse the “God-given right” that Ablow had claimed with their god.

During the FOX News segment discussing Ablow’s article, journalist Anna Kooiman said, “The folks that are saying Allahu Akbar are worshipping a far-different God than the God that I worship.”

Likewise, last year, our intrepid news analyst was pwned by a NationalReport.net story that really got her dander up so she couldn’t wait to get On Air to unload on the President who, she said “has offered to pay for the Museum of Muslim Culture out of his own pocket” while the WWII monument was closed amidst the government shutdown.  Ah! the humanity.

The source, of course, was a political satire piece.  There is no Museum of Muslim Culture. So, where does a rookie journo responsibly recant? why, Twitter of course:


Erm, “after receiving flawed research?”  Yes, dear, I’m sure you have a staff of [flawed] investigators at your beck and call . . .

You get the picture.  Kooiman might not be the brightest light on the set, but she sure is a perfect fit for Fox News and its cult of reality averse followers.

But a piece of advice from an oldster, Ms Kooiman—in case your wingnut welfare job ever gets phased out, you might just want to keep up your mad Turbo Kick skills as a back-up. Just saying . . .

Posted by Bette Noir on 11/14/14 at 12:44 PM • Permalink

Categories: Politics

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Bill Cassidy is a goat-fucking child molester, or at least he smiles like one, which is good enough for that fat sack of shit Erick Erickson. He’s smeared Supreme Court justices over less.

Currently Canada sells oil to the US at cheaper than the world rate, because we’re the only customers they can get it to.  People paying attention, including Canadians, have noted that China has bought 3 Canadian oil companies recently, all with the obvious though unstated plan to (1) get Keystone built, and (2) run that crap through the US, to US refineries, and then directly to China.  It isn’t going to stay in the US and keep us in cheap oil forever; if anything, the price of what we were buying from Canada as it’s only customer will go up.  Keystone will result in the price of oil going up for the US, not down.

Now, I love my Canadian friends and I vacation in Canada fairly often, but realpolitik is realpolitik and countries have interests, not friends, so why run a dangerous, bound to leak like all pipelines eventually do pipeline over our largest and most important ground water supply in order to get oil to China and with an obvious detriment to what US customers are paying?  Because the Koch brothers stand to get even richer from it, that’s why.

Ah yes, a bridge to a late 19th Century energy future. 

We’re not going to destroy the planet, we’re going to destroy our planet- a subtle, but crucial distinction.  Pity is, we’re going to take a lot of really charming species down with us.

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