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Show ALL Forums  > Off Topic  > Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Delayed      Home login  
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 Double Cabin
Joined: 11/29/2004
Msg: 1
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Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline DelayedPage 1 of 21    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21)
I hope we can keep discussion on this civil enough to avoid deletion.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/11/us/politics/administration-to-delay-pipeline-decision-past-12-election.html?_r=2&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

President Obama is between a rock and a hard place trying to keep his base together, and any decision on this would have upset either his environmental or labor union constituents. What the Administration did with this is hardly unprecedented so it would be nice to see a little less Obama bashing on this one as I feel there are far more dire implications. But if we need to staomache some more unsubstantiated, vitriolic hatred of the President so be it.

I know my country needs jobs, but IMO the possible danger to the Ogalalla aquifer demands a reroute at a minimum.

As for our Canadian Friends IMO your colossal share of the earth's fresh water IMO will in time prove far more valuable than the tar sands ever could be. Some of my government's departments dispute the State Department's assertion of Greenhouse gases created from the project to be quite low.

I really think we need to truly puruse multiple components to an energy solution that moves beyond an over reliance on fossil fuels sooner than later, and doing something like this dangerously delays the inevitable.

Does anyone else either side of our normally friendly border have serious reservations about this proposed project?
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 2
Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Delayed
Posted: 11/12/2011 1:15:12 PM
I've noticed that the oil company behind it has been running a lot of ads on CNN. The weirdest thing about them is that they were explicitly talking about the Alberta oil sands as a domestic resource - ie "energy self sufficiency" and whatnot. Obviously they were spending money to get public opinion on their side, but Canada is a different country from the US.

It's oil. Everything you can produce now will sell, so this really isn't a big deal at least in Canada. A lot of construction jobs are down the toilet, but Alberta is booming already, so it's not like the jobs are desperately needed.
 IgorFrankensteen
Joined: 6/29/2009
Msg: 3
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Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Delayed
Posted: 11/12/2011 3:07:14 PM
I don't know. While the thought of a huge pipe running from Alberta to Oklahoma sounds ugly and unappealing, I can't say as I would have any reason other than aesthetics to oppose it.

Yes, there are dangers, but we have experience with them. It COULD contribute to better oil prices, though I doubt that, since NOTHING that has been allowed in the past has ever resulted in better Oil prices.

How greenhouse gasses could be affected by building a pipeline escapes me.

So, from a purely American point of view, it's an opportunity to have some temp jobs open up to build the pipeline. That sounds okay. How Albertans feel about being the source, is up to them.

And no, it's not domestic, it would be better to refer to it as oil from known (relatively) friendly local sources.
 Hawaiianluau
Joined: 11/13/2008
Msg: 4
Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Delayed
Posted: 11/12/2011 3:23:36 PM
Why not just build a refinery in Montana?
 Padawan61
Joined: 3/1/2008
Msg: 5
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Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Delayed
Posted: 11/12/2011 3:28:06 PM
I really think we need to truly puruse multiple components to an energy solution that moves beyond an over reliance on fossil fuels sooner than later, and doing something like this dangerously delays the inevitable

Environmentalists are renown for protesting big oil. However, how many of them will hop back into their gas-guzzling SUVs after the fact ... especially those damn celebrities?? I'm willing to bet these same protesters shall be the ones most vocal when the local gas station runs out of fuel for their status symbol toys.

One would think that instead of all the high profiled (and constant) protesting against big oil ... they would use such protesting muscle to lobby the government to fund research (and provide other tax incentives) into alternative energy ... such as solar panels, fusion reaction and undersea turbines. But hey ... I suppose demonstrating against big oil is more news worthy.

So, from a purely American point of view, it's an opportunity to have some temp jobs open up to build the pipeline. That sounds okay. How Albertans feel about being the source, is up to them

Guess who'll be the first to whine and complain when there's no jobs for the American people. Probably the same clueless protesters of Keystone.

This Albertan could care less either way. There's been talks of an alternate plan to process that oil right here in Alberta. That'll provide local jobs for Alberta residents that the Americans don't want.
 wvwaterfall
Joined: 1/17/2007
Msg: 6
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Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Delayed
Posted: 11/12/2011 3:30:06 PM

How greenhouse gasses could be affected by building a pipeline escapes me


Although any industrial activity is likely to produce greenhouse gasses, in this case it's not so much the pipeline itself as what it will be carrying. Converting bitumen, or "tar sands" to something resembling conventional crude oil is far more carbon intensive than normal oil production.


Making liquid fuels from oil sands requires energy for steam injection and refining. This process generates two to four times the amount of greenhouse gases per barrel of final product as the "production" of conventional oil.[3] If combustion of the final products is included, the so-called "Well to Wheels" approach, oil sands extraction, upgrade and use emits 10 to 45% more greenhouse gases than conventional crude


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_sands

This plus aquifer concerns combine to form the "nay" side of this debate.

And no, don't expect a drop in fuel prices as a result. Bitumen is only commercially competitive so long as fuel prices stay high or go higher.
 OMG!WTF!
Joined: 12/3/2007
Msg: 7
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Posted: 11/12/2011 9:57:36 PM

There's been talks of an alternate plan to process that oil right here in Alberta. That'll provide local jobs for Alberta residents that the Americans don't want


There's a huge push to build a pipeline to BC now so we can sell to Asian markets. Way easier and we're much more likely to get paid too. Upgraders are pricey and you still have to ship it...likely by pipeline if common sense were ever to prevail.

You poor Americans. Every four year term includes three years of total and complete dithering for votes. Major decisions have nothing to do with technology, science or reality. Just politics. Fantastic.
 Hawaiianluau
Joined: 11/13/2008
Msg: 8
Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Delayed
Posted: 11/12/2011 10:36:13 PM
"I'm sure that at some point in the last 20 years someone has considered building a new refinery," says James Halloran, an energy analyst with National City Corp. "But they quickly came to their senses," he adds.

http://www.gasandoil.com/news/n_america/dc6ec5aa6f7a9b91b732d6447d4c0265
US appears to have built its last refinery
Jun 12, 2001 02:00 AM


No new refineries have been built in the US in the past 25 years. And petroleum industry experts say anyone would have to be crazy to launch such an effort -- even though present refineries are running at nearly 100 % of capacity and local gasoline shortages are beginning to crop up.

Why does the industry appear to have built its last refinery?
Three reasons: Refineries are not particularly profitable, environmentalists fight planning and construction every step of the way and government red-tape makes the task all but impossible. The last refinery built in the US was in Garyville, Louisiana, and it started up in 1976.
Energy proposed building a refinery near Portsmouth, Virginia, in the late 1970s, environmental groups and local residents fought the plan -- and it took almost nine years of battles in court and before federal and state regulators before the company cancelled the project in 1984.

Industry officials estimate the cost of building a new refinery at between $ 2 bn and $ 4 bn -- at a time the industry must devote close to $ 20 bn over the next decade to reducing the sulphur content in gasoline and other fuels -- and approval could mean having to collect up to 800 different permits. As if those hurdles weren't enough, the industry's long-term rate of return on capital is just 5 % -- less than could be realized by simply buying US Treasury bonds.

Source: Investor's Business Daily
__________________________________

atz why.
 Forereels
Joined: 5/22/2011
Msg: 9
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Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Delayed
Posted: 11/12/2011 10:39:47 PM

So, from a purely American point of view, it's an opportunity to have some temp jobs open up to build the pipeline. That sounds okay. How Albertans feel about being the source, is up to them.


I would rather sell our oil to the USA instead of having it go overseas. No pipeline, no problem. We can use trucks and trains to haul it.
 OMG!WTF!
Joined: 12/3/2007
Msg: 10
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Posted: 11/13/2011 6:20:00 AM

Converting bitumen, or "tar sands" to something resembling conventional crude oil is far more carbon intensive than normal oil production.


Depending on who you ask of course this is likely not true.


On September 21, 2010, a study by "IHS (Information Handling Services) Cambridge Energy Research Associates (IHS CERA)" found that fuels made from Canadian oil sands "result in significantly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than many commonly cited estimates... Oil sands products imported to the United States result in GHG emissions that are, on average, six percent higher than the average crude consumed in the country. This level places oil sands on par with other sources of U.S. crude imports, including crudes from Nigeria, Venezuela and some domestically produced oil, the report finds."


If you exclude the wheels aspect of the metric, you get a higher number which is likely closer to 15% more ghg per barrel. But that number is improving rapidly and is part of the logic for a pipeline. Also, Canadian tar sands productions falls about in the middle of US oil use in terms of ghg production. There are several sourses of oil in the US that are more intensive than oil sands.

What's really interesting is that oil sands production absolutely pales in comparison to any coal generated power sourse you can think of. Coal is by far more pollution intensive than extracted upgraded bitumen yet here is all the attention.

What most people refuse to see is that improvement is being made all the time...


In-situ production generally has higher life-cycle GHG emissions than mining because of the steam that must be produced for in-situ extraction. However, in-situ operators have been reducing the amount of steam required to produce each barrel of oil sands over time. The average amount of steam used today per unit of output is about 15 percent lower than the original operations which started less than a decade ago. Technology is expected to continue to improve, enabling greater energy efficiency and thus lower GHG emissions


There's lots of information on land reclaimation, tailings ponds, water reduction, air quality assurances etc that most people ignore. I suppose one measure of oil sands progress is that James Cameron came for a visit with the intention of starting a law suit on behalf of a native group in the area and has since "called off his dogs".
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 11
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Posted: 11/13/2011 9:30:18 AM
That CO2 in the atmosphere is great for plants, and for the food we get from them. The theory that someday greenhouse gases will cause the sea level to rise, deserts to expand, etc. is just that--a theory. In the meantime, a lot of people are dying from starvation.

I remember that Mr. Cameron also backed down after he was challenged to defend his overblown claims in a debate. He should stick to making movies.
 whiskeypapa
Joined: 5/19/2008
Msg: 12
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Posted: 11/13/2011 9:53:51 AM
Does it make sense that it takes the energy equivalent of two barrels of oil to produce one barrel of of bunker c, a very thick oil, from the tar sands.And it is "tar sands" not "oil sands".
 OMG!WTF!
Joined: 12/3/2007
Msg: 13
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Posted: 11/13/2011 10:33:35 AM

Does it make sense that it takes the energy equivalent of two barrels of oil to produce one barrel of of bunker c, a very thick oil, from the tar sands.And it is "tar sands" not "oil sands"


Let me get this straight....16 billion dollars has been invested this year in producing something that results in a net loss of 100%? No, actually, that doesn't make any sense because it's not true. It's not true no matter what you call oil/tar sands.

In reality, it takes 1-1.25 gigajoules of energy to produce one barrel of refined, synthetic crude from the oil/tar sands. One barrel of similar oil generates 6.2 gigajoules of energy. So it's roughly a six to one return on energy.

Natural gas is mostly used to power oil sand developments but even if pure bitumen were used exclusively, it would still only take 30% of production to power itself.

Currently there is an application to create a nuclear reactor to power oil sands production which will drastically reduce the energy requirements in production.

But you're right. It's definitely TAR sands.
 wvwaterfall
Joined: 1/17/2007
Msg: 14
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Posted: 11/13/2011 2:20:14 PM

The theory that someday greenhouse gases will cause the sea level to rise, deserts to expand, etc. is just that--a theory. In the meantime, a lot of people are dying from starvation.


And according to any number of projections, a lot MORE people will suffer starvation and other hardships unless we do what we can to minimize the negative impacts of global warming. Calling it "just a theory" shows a lack of understanding of how science works. Kinda like calling the Constitution "just a piece of paper".

I did do some more research, and found that indeed there are competing calculations on how much more carbon intensive bitumen based oil is. And it's good to learn that efficiencies have improved for processing it.

I'd always heard it called "tar sands" as well, but when I started looking deeper found it often referred to as "oil sands" also.

And I certainly agree that the most carbon intensive energy source is coal, especially if used for coal liquifaction, ie making liquid fuel from coal.

I'm a firm believer that we need to be accelerating our inevitable transition to a fully renewable energy portfolio. But I also recognize that it will be decades before we can accomplish that, and we're going to have to make some difficult choices in the interim. The best strategy seems to be to do our utmost to minimize the negative impacts of fossil fuels while devoting significant resources to achieving a fully sustainable energy future.

I do consider myself an environmentalist, but that doesn't mean I'm in lockstep with all environmental advocates. I feel like I need to know more before taking a firm stand on this pipeline, which happens to coincide with President Obama's position. This is one of those difficult choices I mentioned.
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 15
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Posted: 11/13/2011 2:42:46 PM
Back when it started back in the 70's, it was known as the Tar Sands. Some PR guys decided that wasn't a good image, so they made a concerted effort to change the name it was known as - hence "Oil Sands."

But it's my understanding that the decision wasn't made because of the carbon footprint of the extraction. After all, this oil will be extracted and sold regardless of whether there's a pipeline or not. The decision was revisited because of the route of the pipeline - specifically through the American portion.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 16
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Posted: 11/13/2011 6:25:50 PM

Calling it "just a theory" shows a lack of understanding of how science works.


Well, maybe--but I can explain. They assigned us Thomas Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." But after skimming one of the assigned chapters, I got bored and returned the dumb thing to the bookstore. Trying to understand all those confusing facts just gave me a headache. Just like the Constitution does.

If I hadn't goofed off, and did *not* lack an understanding of how science works, just how would I have known that what I said was false? By deriding my "just a theory" comment, you seem to be claiming that it's a fact man-made greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane will someday seriously harm the earth--and people with it. Why is that a fact, rather than just a theory--and a theory for which there's nothing like a consensus about the evidence? Sounds less like science than *prescience.*

If this pipeline makes economic sense, let them build it. God knows we could use the jobs. And let's build enough fission reactors to satisfy several times as much of the country's energy demand as the current 6% of so.
 Welsh474
Joined: 9/13/2010
Msg: 17
Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Delayed
Posted: 11/14/2011 5:27:54 PM
Well, looks like the Canadian government is looking for friendlier markets for our black gold - China. A pipeline to the west coast would mean good jobs for Canadians and a good market for our product.

Too bad, I'd liked to have seen our neighbours to the south have it.
 meoMy1
Joined: 1/12/2009
Msg: 18
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Posted: 11/14/2011 7:00:54 PM
I am surprise the Canadians POFers are not expressing greater concerns and anger about the environmental impact of oil sand extraction and processing in Canada. Yes, the environmental impact of an pipeline rupture would be devastating but the current environmental degradation to the land and water in Canada is appallingly devastating. I'm not only talking about CO2 emission but also land degradation from the mining of the oil sand and the hazardous waste water produced from the refinery process of oil sand. I have no doubt Obama/the State Dept is delaying the project for political motives but eventually will give the green light because honestly cheap oil and national security trump the tree huggers' protests anyday.
 Welsh474
Joined: 9/13/2010
Msg: 19
Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Delayed
Posted: 11/14/2011 7:49:31 PM
^^^Did you feel the same anger or dismay when the drillrig was pumping oil into the Gulf of Mexico? Oil tankers spill, crash and leak. A pipeline would at least give oil to the U.S. that would be coming from a friendly source. Our two countrys are joined at the hip, brothers of sorts. I'd rather we sell our oil to the U.S. than any other country. But markets are markets.

Regarding the oilsands, well, they are doing better than they used to and they could do better still. It's an ongoing process of land reclaimation and just working cleaner in general. Oil is messy. The oilsands gives food and a roof over many peoples heads, work is work. Tree huggers, well, we need them too but we also seem to need the wood to build houses and buildings.

As for showing greater concern - there are enviromentalists, there are folks that don't care, there are more folks that care and then there are the idiot radicals. We care.
 wvwaterfall
Joined: 1/17/2007
Msg: 20
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Posted: 11/14/2011 8:35:40 PM

By deriding my "just a theory" comment, you seem to be claiming that it's a fact man-made greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane will someday seriously harm the earth--and people with it. Why is that a fact, rather than just a theory--and a theory for which there's nothing like a consensus about the evidence? Sounds less like science than *prescience.*


I've been following the climate change issue since long before Al Gore thought about making a movie. Ive been involved in a wide range of discussions and debates on the topic both online and in person, at gatherings of fossil fuel executives, government policy makers, and the general public.

That doesn't make me a climate expert. I'm NOT a scientist, much less a climate scientist, but I do understand how science is done, and when I hear "just a theory" I know that before we can argue the merits of climate science we first have to go over the basic fundamentals of the scientific method and science terminology.

I won't go on at length about all that here. A quick google search will provide a plethora of basic information. But do know that what laymen might refer to as a theory scientists call a hypothesis, which can only be elevated to theory status after repeated experiments and observation, extensive peer review, AND general acceptance by the rest of the science community in that area of specialization.

Another common misconception is that ANYTHING can be 'proven' by science. Science does not prove hypotheses. It may disprove them, but nothing is ever 'proven'. What science does is observe phenomena and seek to understand them through repeated experiments and more and more detailed observation. Over time, through rigorous application of the scientific method, theories and laws are developed.

That process has led climate scientists from all over the world to reach general agreement that human activity is a significant factor in an observably warming planet. The media and the Republican party would have you think otherwise, the first because they love to milk a perceived controversy, and the latter because...well, I don't know why, but for whatever reason rejecting science has become a plank of the Republican platform.

Scientists are not infallible, and there is still plenty to be learned about the global climate. But every national science organization with any connection to the climate has issued a statement supporting the human role in a warming planet, and I choose to heed those scientists over the protests of those who think they know climate science better than climate scientists do.

Oh, and it's NOT a 'fact' that anthropogenic CO2, methane, and other greenhouse gasses as well as land use practices will in the future sufficiently impact the global climate to make human lives here a lot less comfortable than they are today. Nothing in the future is a 'fact'. Facts are things we can observe that have already happened or are still happening. The future, just like science, simply offers varying degrees of confidence.

I'm simply confident the climate scientists are justified in THEIR confidence.

In a perfect world any further development of fossil fuel resources would be rejected in favor of renewable options. But those options are not yet ready for prime time, at least not ready enough to provide all our energy needs, so compromises must be made. Whether this is one of those necessary compromises I'm not yet sure.
 OMG!WTF!
Joined: 12/3/2007
Msg: 21
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Posted: 11/14/2011 9:03:14 PM

Yes, the environmental impact of an pipeline rupture would be devastating


In reality, it wouldn't at all be devastating. It is the most technologically advanced pipeline ever designed. Spills can be detected within minutes and contained within the pipeline instantly. There are 200k miles of similar graded pipelines in the US right now without any of the 50 plus newly patented safety measures that this one has. 200k miles. Chances are very good you drove over one today. Another consideration is how else will your domestic oil products be distributed? Tanker? Truck? Train? All of which produce emmissions and all of which are potentially much much more devasting in an accidental spill. Tankers rarely spill, but they always burn fuels and emmit the by products into the ocean.


the current environmental degradation to the land and water in Canada is appallingly devastating. I'm not only talking about CO2 emission but also land degradation


In reality, it's not even close to "appallingly devastating". As a comparison, coal fired electrical plants in the US are 40 times more emmissions intensive than the oil sands. Nearly all of the oil extracted in California and a portion of all US oil production is more emmission intensive than Canadian oil sands. Land reclaimation takes time but is completely under way and mandated by regulations and Syncrude has completely reclaimed their first tailings pond with newly patented technology. There are many other measuring sticks, .1% of boreal forest is effected, an immeasurably small amount of our over all forest, water usage has shrunk to less than 10% of what is was ten years ago. However, what you should be asking yourself is, what are the alternatives? Ethical oil is something to consider very seriously if you're a fan of women's rights and human rights in general. If your answer is alternative fuels, then get to inventing or at the very least investing. Al Gore is accepting donations.
 meoMy1
Joined: 1/12/2009
Msg: 22
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Posted: 11/14/2011 10:30:33 PM

In reality, it's not even close to "appallingly devastating". As a comparison, coal fired electrical plants in the US are 40 times more emmissions intensive than the oil sands. Nearly all of the oil extracted in California and a portion of all US oil production is more emmission intensive than Canadian oil sands. Land reclaimation takes time but is completely under way and mandated by regulations and Syncrude has completely reclaimed their first tailings pond with newly patented technology.


I know coal fired electrical plants are bad for the environment. My argument is not that the US have any cleaner method of energy production but simply oil sands is rather bad for the environment. Do you really believe in the PR that one day your grandchildren will be eating vegetables grown on reclaimed land? My solution is to change our way of living and seriously to change how we consume energy.

Also your faith in technology is typical of an engineer's hubris in the fail-safe of his and her design. I used to be an ardent supporter of nuclear energy but since the Fukushima Daiich incident. I started to remember how bored the engineers are of safety and hazard reviews. Under pressure to complete a project on budget and on a schedule, safety too often takes third pripority.
 DameWrite
Joined: 2/27/2010
Msg: 23
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Posted: 11/14/2011 10:34:07 PM
I have had and still have huge reservations about using Tar sands at all, never mind sending it through the ground to mess up our neighbors as well. Friends who work with this stuff get really messed up. I'm talking serious brain issues, cancers and death. It's toxic and spreading it around is NOT good. It should be left alone. It poisons our waters, now your water will be poisoned. Our air. Our health. Our planet. Leave it alone. There are better ways to get energy... when are we going to learn?
 OMG!WTF!
Joined: 12/3/2007
Msg: 24
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Posted: 11/15/2011 4:15:27 AM

Do you really believe in the PR that one day your grandchildren will be eating vegetables grown on reclaimed land?


300 wood bison have been grazing on reclaimed tailing ponds since 1993. When they begin their mutant uprising we'll all be f'cked. But for now, they're doing okay. Vegetables likely never grew there in the first place because there were so many hydrocarbons in the soil. I'd feel better about planting a garden now than when it was all black goo. Also, 7.5 million seedlings have been planted over 600 sq kms. Stuff grows.


My solution is to change our way of living and seriously to change how we consume energy


Great. When YOU sell YOUR car, I'll be slightly interested in your solution.


Also your faith in technology is typical of an engineer's hubris in the fail-safe of his and her design


The Japanese nearly blew themselves up with nuclear reactors so we shouldn't build a pipeline with fifty newly patented safety mechanisms? Gotcha.


never mind sending it through the ground to mess up our neighbors as well


Once it's extracted it poses no more threat than any of the other 20 million barrels that travel across the US everyday. You do realize oil comes from somewhere and goes somewhere else during the course of its life? It doesn't just appeare at source.


It's toxic and spreading it around is NOT good. It should be left alone


It's still toxic when it's left alone. Poisons naturally occur in the water tables all around northern Alberta. I totally agree that mucking about in it is not good for your health. But people do all kinds of crazy things like mine for asbestos, sulphur, gold, coal. Again, the oil sands producers spend billions on stewardship....way more than our governments combined, on solutions. It's not perfect, but it's night and day better than any other industry.


It poisons our waters, now your water will be poisoned


Huh? That makes no sense. Again, 200k miles of pipeline, 20 million barrels a day. And it's the most technologically advanced pipeline ever proposed that is a problem?


There are better ways to get energy... when are we going to learn?


We're going to learn when someone explains exactly what the better way is. Care to start? I'd suggest a better way right now is to get energy from countries that don't trample human rights on a daily basis, that don't carry on civil wars, that do have controls on the extaction process and that don't exist thousands of miles away causing the need for riskier modes of transportation. But that's just reality talking.
 statemachine500
Joined: 8/25/2011
Msg: 25
Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Delayed
Posted: 11/15/2011 6:19:18 PM
Here in Alberta I believe we need to go nuclear to create the heat to extract the oil.The Chinese copied an old German design called a pebble reactor which can be expanded.The Chinese got one online in record time....not the dozen years and hundreds of millions in cost over runs that is usual.
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