Over the weekend while over 200 Nebraskans said “I Will” take action on climate, President Obama told the NY Times that the Keystone XL pipeline is not an economic driver, severely undercutting the main argument TransCanada and all their paid foreign oil lobbyists pushed for the past four years.
President Obama is standing up to foreign oil interests and lobbyists and standing with citizens and landowners. Approving the pipeline gives the green light to science deniers like Rep. Terry and the tarsands industry which pollutes land and water every day. Denying the pipeline gives citizens the green light to act on climate change and to act on the fundamental thread that connects us all–protecting our families.
“Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that’s true.”
“They might like to see 2,000 jobs initially. But that is a blip relative to the need.”
“So what we also know is, is that that oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets, so it does not bring down gas prices here in the United States. In fact, it might actually cause some gas prices in the Midwest to go up where currently they can’t ship some of that oil to world markets.”
“Canada has what are called tar sands. It’s an expensive way of extracting oil, but they’re producing a lot of it now. And they want to build a pipeline to pump from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, where they can then export that oil all around the world. It’s not going to make a dent in gas prices here in the United States. Ultimately, the way we free ourselves from this annual spike in gas prices is to diversify our energy to solar, wind and biofuels.”
“Me doubling fuel-efficiency standards on cars ultimately will save the average consumer $8,000 at the pump [over time] when it takes full effect a decade from now, because everybody’s going to be getting 55 mpg on their car. And that savings is equal to what would be pumped through the Keystone pipeline for 45 years.”
“Folks in Nebraska like all across the country aren’t going to say to themselves, ‘We’ll take a few thousand jobs if it means our kids are potentially drinking water that would damage their health. We don’t want, for example, aquifers to be adversely affected. Folks in Nebraska obviously would be directly impacted.”
TransCanada, the Alberta government which relies on tax revenue from the tarsands industry and all the paid foreign oil lobbyists are now in defense mode bringing up the same old and tired talking points, especially the rail vs pipeline argument (see more below for details). There is simply no way TransCanada can ship almost a million barrels of tarsands a day via rail.
Further, TransCanada does not just want this one pipeline, they want to twin (i.e. put another pipeline right next to the one they lay in the ground and water) Keystone XL and Keystone 1 so they can pump almost 4 million barrels a day to the export market.
Since there has never been a State Department or a Nebraska DEQ study on a worst case spill impact to the Aquifer, rivers or families wells, we simply do not know the real health risks and economic impacts of this pipeline. We do have the peer-reviewed spill study by UNL professor Dr. Stansbury, and that study shows us that the effects of a spill could travel up to 250 miles, not the 1,000 feet that the State Department and the DEQ told citizens.
Help us build a clean energy barn inside the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route. Let’s show President Obama we can build our own clean and local energy that lifts up our communities, not threatens our water and livelihoods.
Send a handwritten letter to Pres. Obama letting him know you support a decision denying the Keystone XL pipeline. Take a picture of you and your letter and post on Facebook (tag Bold Nebraska) or on Instagram (tag #nokxl).
Hold a bakesale or lemonade stand to help raise money for the Build Our Energy Barn.
The Facts on Rail vs Pipeline (from NRDC, 350.org and LCV)
Despite evidence to the contrary showing that rail would not be a viable replacement to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, TransCanada and its allies continue to rely on their outdated—and inaccurate—talking point.
Industry experts point out that the State Department’s incorrect analysis is based in part on the mistaken assumption that tar sands oil can be transported in the same manner as light Bakken oil from North Dakota:
1) The Alberta tar sands oil needs to go to refineries that can process it, and the Gulf Coast is the best option. But the Canadian tar sands are roughly 900 miles further away from the Gulf Coast than North Dakota’s Bakken formation, which makes the transport costs significantly higher. Moreover, the “heavier nature” of the Canadian tar sands oil also makes it significantly more expensive to transport than the Bakken oil. As Goldman Sachs recently observed, there are substantial logistical hurdles which increase the cost of moving heavy tar sands crude by rail: “The first hurdle is that bitumen/heavy crude oil rail cars have to be specially made, so that their viscous cargo can be heated by steam in order to flow the crude out of car.
2) Heating a rail car so that the heavy crude oil can be unloaded takes more time than simply tapping a rail car filled with light oil, which means fewer heavy barrels per day can be transported than light.
3) Bitumen and WCS are denser than light crude, and since rail cars have maximum weight restrictions, fewer barrels of heavy crude can be carried in each car compared to light. Therefore, of the 150,000 b/d of crude transported by rail in 2013, we estimate that no more than 40% is likely to be heavy (and this number could prove closer to 20%).”
Industry experts say the additional costs of rail transport make Canadian tar sands oil uncompetitive against the price of heavy crude from traditional sources such as Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Venezuela. As Goldman Sachs concluded in June, “given the long distances and higher costs of rail, we believe pipeline capacity growth is critical in Canada and the key to sustainably removing congestion in the system.”
For information about rail, visit: Reuters investigation deflates State Department’s argument that rail can fuel tar sands growth
State Dept Report Lacks Science
Some industry officials, energy analysts and recent data raise questions about whether the industry is really eager to adopt crude-by-rail should the U.S. government rule against the TransCanada Corp pipeline.
They say train transport is so expensive that Canadian heavy crude, produced by processing bituminous sand, isn’t likely to reach Texas and Louisiana in Keystone-like quantities by rail.
These experts also point to plentiful supplies of lighter crude oil from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota, which is roughly 900 miles closer to the Gulf than the hub of Canadian oil sands production, and plenty of heavy crude from traditional sources such as Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Venezuela, as signs that Gulf Coast refiners can get along without Keystone.
The State Department report cites two industry studies to predict that 200,000 barrels a day or more of Canadian heavy crude oil will reach Gulf Coast refiners by train by the end of this year.
Officials used that figure to bolster their argument that the oil industry has already decided rail is a good option for moving oil sands crude. “Limitations on pipeline transport would force more crude oil to be transported via other modes of transportation, such as rail, which would probably (but not certainly) be more expensive,” the State Department said.
But one of the sources for the 200,000 barrels per day estimate, Calgary investment bank Peters & Co, says its forecast was misunderstood as being for just Gulf Coast-bound oil when it included shipments to Eastern Canada and other refiners.
The latest figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show heavy crude shipments to the Gulf Coast from Canada by rail have a long way to go to meet the 200,000 figure. They have not exceeded 30,000 barrels per day in any of the past 12 months, though they did rise by two thirds to 25,000 barrels per day in January, the last month for which there are figures, from 15,000 in January 2012.
In fact, EIA data shows that little heavy crude from Canada is reaching the Gulf Coast via any route, with about 75 percent of 33 million barrels of heavy Canadian crude being processed in the Midwest in January and only 7 percent of it being processed further south. Other destinations account for the remainder.
“We just are not seeing those kinds of big deliveries to the Gulf Coast,” said Michael Wojciechowski, head of downstream Americas research at Wood Mackenzie, an energy research and consulting firm.