There is an existing pipeline from the Canadian oil sands into the United States…lets call it the Keystone L Pipeline for fun. It essentially runs a few hundred miles east from the Athabasca Oil Sands in eastern Alberta Canada before heading south into the United States. The Keystone L Pipeline currently terminates at a refinery in Illinois and another in Oklahoma. The Keystone L Pipeline avoids the environmentally sensitive Sandhills region and Ogallala aquifer in Nebraska that a major concern in the discussion of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The expansion of the Keystone pipeline would take a more direct route from Canada and terminate in Port Arthur Texas.
And of course we all know that President Obama, for reasons environmental, bureaucratic, regulatory and maybe just a wee bit campaign oriented, put the Keystone XL project on hold until 2013.
But now we have a bill before Congress (HR Bill 3408) that is intended to do an end run on the President’s decision…and of course the Republican candidates themselves are trying to make hay out of the stalled pipeline and rising gas prices.
The laments include lost jobs, breaking the reliance on imported oil, lower gas prices, etc…but lets take a peek at these issues and see what is bologna or not.
Lost jobs…certainly the delay or potential cancellation of such a large scale project would cost the United States (and Canada) construction jobs, jobs at the oil sands and new refinery jobs. So this has some real substance.
Lower costs for gasoline…well this is probably low grade ring bologna. Oil is now a world commodity and the commodity markets set the price. It doesn’t matter where the oil comes from initially or how much it costs to extract…it’s gonna sell at the market price. Now certainly this is poorer oil than sweet crude but it’s gonna take more refining and special refining processes to extract fuels…but it ain’t gonna lower the cost of gasoline in the United States.
Lower our reliance on
foreign oil…whoops, a funny thing happened after this was released into the wild (someone forgot that Canada is a foreign country not a colony of the US), so it will reduce our dependence on overseas oil. Well maybe not much either…since the largest export from the United States is currently (since 2010) gasoline and aviation fuel. Go figure huh? The commodity whose price is rising to complaint levels here at home and it’s our biggest export!
And speaking of biggest export, there’s a reason the expanded Keystone XL pipeline needs to go to the refineries in Port Arthur Texas rather than inland refineries in the heartland of the United States…it makes it a whole lot easier to export refined fuels if the refinery is in a major port facility rather than in the rust belt.
Oh, jeez, Ed, that’s ridiculous, we wouldn’t go to all of that trouble, take all that environmental risk, and then send those sorely needed fuels overseas for a couple of extra bucks?
Well, I wish I were wrong. But that’s where our very own Wisconsin Keystone XL Kops come in. Just over a week ago an amendment was offered to the GOP sponsored bill (HR 3408) that would require that all of energy products from the oil shipped through the Keystone XL pipeline be sold in the United States. Fuels that our Republican representatives and Republican presidential candidates say is vital to the future success of the United States. Except for one small issue…along pure party lines, the House Republicans, our Keystone XL Kops, Rep. Duffy, Rep. Petri, Rep. Ribble, Rep. Ryan, and Rep. Sensenbrenner voted AGAINST the amendment. The amendment was defeated.
So the sad fact is…this is simply a play for more dollars in oil company pockets…at the cost of the environment in Canada and the United States and the benefits of the actual products produced could easily be enjoyed overseas…BALONEY!