America is waking up to the fact the Keystone XL pipeline is dead. This poorly conceived idea had a life of its own early on, but once Nebraska correctly diagnosed the problems, the pipeline has been on life support powered only by expensive lobbyists and posturing politicians ever since.
The only place it still shows signs of life is in Washington, where is has been relegated to nothing more than a meaningless poker chip, to be wagered back and forth by both political parties until it finally goes the way of Alaska’s “Bridge to Nowhere.” Congress seems more concerned with making money for China (who has invested over $30 billion into the tarsands) than it does protecting America.
“But, wait.” you say. “Congress passed a bill just last week authorizing the KXL, and the Senate will vote this week.” You are correct. But President Obama will veto the bill anyway, and since approval still depends on a presidential permit, the only thing the House and Senate are doing is what they do best, political posturing while bloviating nothing but ignorance on this issue.
“But wait.” You say. “America needs that oil.” In light of the great expansion of American oil in the past six years, the KXL has become a non-issue. There is actually a glut of oil that is forcing prices so low it is nearing the point where the Canadian tarsands cannot be mined profitably.
Listen folks, there was only one reason the KXL was needed anyway. There was so much oil in the upper Midwest that refineries were discounting the Canadian tar sands because they had too much oil to refine. The only way tarsand oil could be profitable was if they could get it to a port refinery where it could be turned into usable fuel and exported at much higher world prices.
Oh, the KXL might have gone through had TransCanada not been so greedy and had followed their existing Keystone I route. But no, they decided it would be cheaper to build if they drew a straight line between Alberta and Steele City, Nebraska saving $2 billion in capital costs. Heck with the farmers and ranchers who are trying to protect their land and water as TransCanada would take control of their land using eminent domain. And, heck with the Nebraska Sandhills and America’s most valuable natural resource, the Ogallala Aquifer.
TransCanada should have listened to Governor Dave Heineman and Senator Mike Johanns when they said not to run the pipe through the Sandhills and the center of the Ogallala Aquifer. Oh sure, TransCanada moved their route about 20 miles to the east up in the Sandhills, but in doing so the new route actually crossed more miles of the aquifer than before. Nebraskans saw right through this scheme while the politicians took TransCanada’s bait, hook, line and sinker.
So now, America owes a big “THANK YOU!” to Nebraska, who doggedly exposed the truth about this project, the truth this pipeline was never about a pipeline to America, but a pipeline through America.
Nebraskans correctly pointed out that the contents of this pipe is not crude oil in the sense we know it, but a highly toxic concoction of thick gooey tarsands diluted with lighter weight petroleum products like Naphtha, a known carcinogen capable of causing birth defects and reproductive harm.
Nebraskans came together and said there is no way we will allow 33 million gallons (per day) of this poison to travel under extremely high pressure just a half inch (thickness of the pipe) from our soil and water.
Nebraskans correctly pointed out that Congress’ own House Ways and Means Committee didn’t even consider these tarsands to be oil, which gives the owners and or refiners a tax exemption by not requiring them to pay 8 cents per barrel into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund like American oil has to pay, saving hundreds of millions of dollars for owners of the tarsands.
Nebraskans weighed in on the outrageous claims of hundreds of thousands of jobs and said, “Phooey!” Even the study done by Nebraska’s own Department of Environmental Quality stated there would be only 15 permanent jobs created in Nebraska.
So, Nebraska “Pipeline Fighters”, as they have come to be known, thank you! Thank you for stopping this ill-conceived project. Thank you for protecting Nebraska’s land, water and rights. Thank you for standing in adversity while those who chose to listen only to pro-pipe lobbying groups splattered us with misconceptions.
So this KXL thing is over and done with.
Oh, Congress will continue to play with it like a worn out toy for a couple more years, but soon, the people we elected to represent us will become as smart as us! They will see there are no more political points to be made by making over-exaggerated claims about job numbers and by using some term made up solely to promote the KXL, “North American Energy Independence”.
Congress, move on. You have a country called America to run!