Posted by: ericgrimsrud | January 13, 2015

Of course, the President will veto the Keystone XL bill

Powerful political forces now seem to be aligned for passage of the Keystone XL Pipeline. A study by the US State Department inexplicably concluded that the KXL pipeline would not cause additional CO2 to be emitted into the atmosphere. The Supreme Court of Nebraska has decided not to block the pipeline in that state. And most importantly, both houses of congress have now passed resolutions for its construction and have urged President Obama to sign off on it. That bill will be on the President’s desk in a few days.

I am sure that President Obama will not sign it, however, for several very good reasons.

First, unlike so many of our politicians of both parties, President Obama has considerable respect for the field of science and its understanding of the forces of nature. He knows that the level of CO2 in our atmosphere is already much too high and that we already have way too much of the cleaner forms of fossil fuel, that is, gas and oil, waiting to be used. The dirtier forms of fossil fuels simply must be left in the ground. In a previous post on this blog (November 2014), I explained these points in greater detail.

Another reason is that the power of the veto was intentionally put into our governing system for very good reasons and other presidents have used it often- much more than Obama has. This weapon of the Executive Branch is perhaps the major reason why we fuss so much over presidential elections. In the last two presidential elections, Obama received a great deal support from environmentally conscientious citizens and relatively little from the fossil fuel industries. So he is not likely to now go against those who helped put him into his office and, instead, do the bidding of those whose stated number one goal in their “service” to the public was simply to ensure that the man who was fairly elected in the 2008 presidential election would not win another. Because of this near-treasonous behavior of the GOP for the past six years, President Obama owes the present majority of both houses absolutely nothing.

In desperation, the GOP is now trying to label President Obama an “obstructionist”. Considering how the GOP has endeavored to obstruct every move the President has made, their use of this term against Obama is downright laughable and is sure to be dismissed by President Obama. Let’s just recognize the powers granted to our Legislators and the President by our Constitution. The former individuals each have one vote in their respective houses and the latter has the veto power of any legislation that reaches his office. The label “obstructionist” has no meaning in this case. It is the President’s right and obligation to use his vote power as he chooses to.

And then there is that ever-present cry for the “jobs, jobs, jobs” that will supposedly be created by the construction of this pipeline. In fact, the KXL would provide about 4,000 jobs but only for two years and a negligible number thereafter (unless one includes the jobs that will be related to the cleanup of subsequent spills along its 1,200 mile length through the heartland of America). These numbers of jobs pale in significance relative to the approximately 900,000 jobs that were lost in 2011 by the big cuts in federal spending that Republicans extracted by threatening to push America into default. THe number of pipeline jobs are also tiny relative to the number of jobs that would be created if we began to attend to the dire needs of our country’s aging infrastructure. Yet we don’t hear the GOP crying “jobs, jobs, jobs,” when those issues are on the table. No, the Keystone XL Pipeline is not about jobs, it is about paying back the fossil fuel companies for their generous donations to the elections of our exiting set of legislators. About 87% of fossil fuel donations in recent years have gone to the GOP and they are now obliged to return those favors. We are most fortunate, therefore, that our sitting President got to his present position without the help of the fossil fuel corporations and owes them nothing.

And one more thought: the Republicans have been trying to get President Obama to admit that the USA is presently in an all out “war” against “radical Islam”. If that is true, then why would the Republicans also want to provide the terrorists of the world with such an easy, juicy target as the KXL pipeline would be? Just a few Ryder trucks loaded with kerosene-soaked ammonium nitrate fertilizer would plow up any sections of it selected by suicide bombers whenever they wished to do so. What a grand mess that would make! I don’t believe the KXL plan is to encase the pipeline with some sort of magic shield. Therefore, it appears that the US government would have the impossible and exceedingly expensive task of guarding this 1,200 mile long, 3-foot diameter tube containing a highly flammable and toxic liquid, 24/7, every day going forward. All of the terrorists in the world must be rooting for the GOP on this one. So while our President may not be as adept as the GOP at launching meaningless labels at our potential enemies, he is evidently much more aware than the GOP of our future need to minimize the exposure of our infrastructure to potential terrorists.

For all of the above reasons, I am sure that President Obama will do the right thing – that is, veto the Keystone XL pipeline bill that will soon be placed on his desk. In the words on Nancy Reagan, whose husband vetoed about 35 bills during his presidency, it is a very good thing that our President will simply say “no” to this conduit of harmful and addictive substances. You will be able to knock me over with a feather if I am wrong, but I think and, of course, hope it’s a done deal. The next challenge will be to ensure that some lackey of Big Fossil Fuels is not elected President in 2016.


Responses

  1. How can the federal government block the building of a pipeline that is privately funded and approved by all the states involved?

    Here is the tenth amendment to our constitution:
    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

    [REsponse from EPG: This pipeline would come from another country, pass our border with that country and then pass across out country. That is why is issue should not simple be left to the states involved. So we leave the monitoring of international flights over the USA to the States? ]

  2. Another brainstorm that Eric is kind enough to share with us: “And one more thought: the Republicans have been trying to get President Obama to admit that the USA is presently in an all out “war” against “radical Islam”. If that is true, then why would the Republicans also want to provide the terrorists of the world with such an easy, juicy target as the KXL pipeline would be? Just a few Ryder trucks loaded with kerosene-soaked ammonium nitrate fertilizer would plow up any sections of it selected by suicide bombers whenever they wished to do so.”
    https://ericgrimsrud.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/of-course-the-president-will-veto-the-keystone-xl-bill/

    I have compiled a few bits of information to show just what a deep thinking person Eric is and so full of facts that it is unbelievable, about like his stance on agw in that respect.

    Table 1-10: U.S. Oil and Gas Pipeline Mileage
    http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_10.html

    In 2012, according to this site above, there are 151,912 miles of oil pipe line in the U.S. & 1,566,495 miles of gas lines in service in the U.S. Eric should realize that the majority of this Keystone Pipe line will be buried and therefore very hard to sabotage but that must have slipped under his radar.

    This site has a map of pipelines in the U.S. for the terrorist to attack if that is what Eric would like them to do.
    “Oil Pipelines Criss-Cross the United States: Why the Fuss Over Keystone XL?”
    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Oil-Pipelines-Criss-Cross-the-United-States-Why-the-Fuss-Over-Keystone-XL.html

    Lets take a look at a pipe line that I’m sure that Eric is against as well all those of his ilk.
    Pipeline Facts Trans-Alaska Pipeline Fact
     Length: 800.302 miles[1]
     ·     Diameter: 48”[2]
     ·     Thickness, wall:  .462 inches (466 miles) & .562 inches (334 miles)[3]
     ·     Year Completed: 1977[4]
     ·     Construction Time: 3 years, 2 months[5]
     ·     Age in 2011: 34 years[6]
     ·     Original intended useful life: 30 years[7]
    ·      Cost to build: $8 billion[8]
    ·      Peak oil throughput: 744,107,885 barrels/year (reached in 1988)[9]
    ·      Oil throughput in 2010: 226,174,050 barrels/year[10]
    ·      Crude oil travel time from Pump Station 1 to Valdez Terminal in 2008: 12.9 days [11]
    ·      Number of rivers & streams crossed: 34 major, 800 others[12]
    ·      Number of major earthquake faults crossed: 3[13]
    ·      Mountain ranges crossed: 3 (Brooks, Chugach, Alaska)[14]
    ·      Miles of buried pipeline: 380[15]
    ·      Miles of pipeline potentially affected by melting permafrost: approximately 400[16]
    ·      Time required for oil entering the Tazlina River to enter the Copper River (using August flow rates): Less than 6 hours [17]
    ·      Time required to stop leak from 2001 bullet hole in pipe at Livengood: nearly 36 hours[18]
    ·      Percentage of US oil production provided by TAPS: 10%[19]
    ·      TAPS Owner Companies and Percentages of Pipeline Ownership: BP Pipelines (Alaska) Inc. (46.93%), ConocoPhillips Transportation Alaska, Inc. (28.29%), ExxonMobil   Pipeline Company (20.34%), Koch Alaska Pipeline Company, L.L.C. (3.08%), Unocal Pipeline Company (1.36%).[20]   
     http://akpipelinesafety.org/pipeline-facts

    I recall some years ago an idiot did shoot into the above ground portion of the pipe line and cause some spillage but he was not an Islamic terrorist as far as I know.

    [Response from EPG: John, Thanks for the deep thoughts concerning pipeline safety. Good to know, for example, that the guy who shot a hole in an existing pipeline was not a terrorist – very comforting!.
    Also, is the point that much of it would be buried very comforting? Did you see what that fertilizer-loaded Ryder truck did to that government building in Oklahoma city?
    And since you love quotations – did you every hear the one: “a stitch in time saves nine? – alledgedly said by Ben F.}

    • Eric; My what a well thought out response to my comment and it was the only one out of the 3 that I submitted to you on “Your fair and balanced blog”

      You offer up the quote “a stitch in time saves nine”. In 2012 there are 151,912 miles of oil pipe line in the U.S. & 1,566,495 miles of gas lines in service in the U.S.; so, the question for you in light of this evidence, what is your suggestion about protecting these lines?


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