Carrying through on his promise, the President has vetoed the Keystone XL bill. The right wing will now go nuts, as usual.
Our government news of the day is a shocking act of Democratic obstructionism in the Senate, where the bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was narrowly defeated today.
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Tuesday defeated a bill, 59 to 41, that would have approved the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, rebuffing a Democratic colleague, Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, who had hoped to muscle the legislation through in advance of her uphill runoff election fight back home.
Forty Democrats and Angus King, independent of Maine, voted against the bill, with just 14 Democrats joining all 45 Republicans in support of the oil pipeline.
The battle over approving the pipeline, which will carry petroleum from the oil sands of Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas, ultimately became a proxy war for the Louisiana Senate seat, where Ms. Landrieu and Representative Bill Cassidy, a Republican, are locked in fight for votes in their oil-rich state ahead of a Dec. 6 runoff election.
The bill is sure to come up again in the new Senate, but it would still be unlikely to get the 67 votes needed to override a Presidential veto. The real loser in this vote is Mary Landrieu, who fought hard to get Democrats to support it and lost — and now may lose her Senate seat.
Nebraska Judge Stephanie F. Stacy has struck down a law that allowed the state government to approve the route of the Keystone XL pipeline and seize property for it through eminent domain, because it violates the state’s constitution: Nebraska Judge Strikes Down Legislature’s Move Allowing Keystone XL Route.
Stacy concluded that the state legislature could not take the routing power away from its Public Service Commission and allow Heineman to make the decision. More than 200 miles of the proposed pipeline, which would carry as many as 830,000 barrels of heavy crude oil daily from Canada to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, would run through Nebraska.
The judge’s decision to overturn LB 1161, enacted in the final hours of the state’s 2012 session, means “there is no approved route across Nebraska now,” said David A. Domina, the lawyer who represented the three landowners who filed the lawsuit. “This statute is the only statute we have out here that creates a procedure for getting a permit” for a pipeline, said Domina, who is running for U.S. Senate as a Democrat this fall.
Garth Lenz is one of the world’s most famous conservation photographers (with a perfect name for it), and here he is with a TED Talk, using his stunning photography to illustrate exactly what happens to an ecosystem when we mine its tar sands to extract oil. It’s pretty shocking to see the terrible reality behind the Keystone XL debate.
Lenz gets choked up at a couple of points in his presentation, and it isn’t hard to see why.
A beautifully polished example of motion graphics used as a tool to communicate important information, from the Post Carbon Institute.
I seriously designed and animated half of this piece at the seriously fun Monstro for the seriously serious Post Carbon Institute.
Producer: Dalton Crosthwait
Design & Animation: Alexander Perry, Michael Wilson
Sound: Ben Roider
The following is a message from Post Carbon Institute:
In recent months we’ve seen a spate of assertions that peak oil is a worry of the past thanks to so-called “new technologies” that can tap massive amounts of previously inaccessible stores of “unconventional” oil. “Don’t worry, drive on,” we’re told.
We can fall for the oil industry hype and keep ourselves chained to a resource that’s depleting and comes with ever increasing economic and environmental costs, or we can recognize that the days of cheap and abundant oil (not to mention coal and natural gas) are over.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media and politicians on both sides of the aisle are parroting the hype, claiming — in Obama’s case — that unconventional oil can play a key role in an “all of the above” energy strategy and — in Romney’s — that increased production of tight oil and tar sands can make North America energy independent by the end of his second term.
WE NEED YOUR HELP.
Please share this video and help bring a dose of reality to the energy conversation:
* Email the video to everyone you think needs to watch it
* Share it through your social networks
* Send it to your elected officials
The video script can be found here: postcarbon.org
SO MUCH MORE at postcarbon.org
The Washington Post is reporting that the Obama administration will reject a Canadian company’s application to build a gigantic oil pipeline crossing the US-Canadian border: Obama administration to reject Keystone pipeline.
Forecast: frothing outrage across the entire right wing blogosphere. In other words, the usual.
The administration will allow TransCanada to reapply after it develops an alternate route through the sensitive habitat of Nebraska’s Sandhills. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns will make the announcement, which comes in response to a congressionally-mandated deadline of Feb. 21 for action on the proposed Keystone pipeline.
Engineer/blogger Robert Rapier writes about the fantasy that many prominent Republican leaders promote, and which much of the GOP base accepts blindly, with respect to petroleum production and the US:
On the Republican side, the common view is that we are awash in oil and gas, if only the environmentalists would clear out and let the oil companies drill. This view was recently articulated by current Republican flavor-of-the-month Newt Gingrich during the CNN Republican Presidential Debate […]
That’s a fairly good summation of a common Republican position: The reason we aren’t energy independent is that we simply aren’t serious enough about it. We can have all the oil we want — live, drive, prosper — if we just get serious. […]
It wasn’t just at the CNN debate, and it is not just Gingrich. Even in the final Iowa debate Gingrich was at it again. And besides Gingrich, Bachmann has been an ardent voice for the fantasy that America has all the oil it could ever use, and other Republican candidates jump on this bandwagon from time to time too.
So while Democrats may undervalue our need for domestic oil, Republicans can be wildly delusional about the prospects for domestic oil production to supply our needs. In each case, there are elements of truth. No doubt we can produce more oil, and without a doubt there remains oil to be discovered. As I have pointed out before, both oil and natural gas production have been on the rise for the past couple of years. In fact, natural gas has set production records. So if prices are high enough, there are marginal sources that will contribute more to U.S. energy supplies. But replacing the 8 million barrels per day that we currently import is wildly unrealistic, and would require the U.S. to greatly exceed the 1970 oil production peak of nearly 10 million barrels of oil per day.[…]
Mr. Rapier then goes on to give an example of this fantasy (of vast oil deposits in the US that could be developed if only the government/environmentalists would get out of the way) by linking to a publication in one of numerous online news sites, and points out that the article depends upon a report produced by the “Institute for Energy Research.”
Now, exactly who are the Institute for Energy Research ? From the wikipedia entry:
[…] IER is a tax-exempt public foundation and is funded entirely by tax deductible contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. No financial support is sought for or accepted from the government. According to the liberal watchdog group, Media Matters, since 1996, $110,000 of IER’s funding has come from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, a trust set up by private energy company Koch Industries. IER also received over $300,000 in funding from ExxonMobil, , but has not given to IER since 2007.
The Institute’s CEO, Robert L. Bradley, Jr., was formerly a director of policy analysis at Enron, where he wrote speeches for Kenneth Lay. […]
Yup, same old crowd - Kochs, Enron gang, etc.
I’m being repetitious here, but just to drive the point home: when Gingrich and other prominent Republicans proclaim that the US could free itself of oil imports if we only drilled more here they are being front-men for vested interests in the oil business, who feel free to mislead the American public on the realities of oil and petroleum extraction.
Mr. Rapier went on to track down some of the specifics of the misuse of data by the IER:
In fact, I tracked down the report referenced above from the Institute for Energy Research: North American Energy Inventory. Then I tracked one of the references they used to come up with their estimate of more than a trillion barrels of ‘technically recoverable’ oil in the United States. The source is a U.S. Department of Energy report: ‘Undeveloped Domestic Oil Resources.’ What that report says is quite different than the implications that are being drawn. [He inserts an important DoE chart at this point, recommend viewing it at his article.]
So of the 1.3 trillion barrels of oil from this DOE report, most is not technically recoverable, and the only category that is known to be presently economically recoverable is that tiny sliver of 22 billion barrels that says ‘Proved Reserves.’ This accounts for less than 2% of the 1.1 trillion barrels categorized as ‘Undeveloped Oil In-Place.’
A common problem here is the confusion between resources and reserves. […]
All of that requires more thought than many in those crowds at the GOP “debates” are willing to give - to really understand what is available/affordable versus what may geologically remain from hundreds of millions of years of organic deposits.
Modern American society, physically, was built upon oil. The US is where the first petroleum well was drilled, and for a century the US was the leading producer of oil and we used that wealth to build an energy intensive, highly mobile society. We don’t want to give that up, and so too many of us are unwilling to accept that we have to give it up, or at least modify our way of life in some fundamental ways.
Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal calls for lower oil prices.
(CNN) — Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal said Sunday that he wants oil prices to drop so that the United States and Europe don’t accelerate efforts to wean themselves off his country’s supply.
In an interview broadcast Sunday on “CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS,” the grandson of the founding king of modern Saudi Arabia said the oil price should be somewhere between $70 and $80 a barrel, rather than the current level of over $100 a barrel.
“We don’t want the West to go and find alternatives, because, clearly, the higher the price of oil goes, the more they have incentives to go and find alternatives,” said Talal, who is listed by Forbes as the 26th richest man in the world.
Doesn’t that make you want to buy an electric car?
Right wingers feel it’s their God-given right to waste as much energy as they possibly can, just for the sheer hell of it. But if the price goes up as the supply goes down, or if uncertainty about supply drives prices up, they scream bloody murder and blame it on President Obama. (To be precise, they blame everything bad that happens in the entire universe on Obama.)
If Obama says he can’t do anything in the short run to lower prices, they scream, “He says we just have to get used to it!”
Well, Obama never said those words, of course; he said today, “There’s no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away.” (Here’s how it works: one wingnut misrepresents what Obama says, then all of them parrot the misrepresentation, then it becomes an impervious article of right wing faith.)
The President didn’t say it, for political reasons, but I will. Yes, you’re going to have to get used to paying more for gas. America has enjoyed an artificially low price on gasoline for many years, while the rest of the world paid for it. Those days are coming to an end, and the only way forward is to break our dependence on fossil fuels.
John Bolton (another possible GOP presidential candidate) says he knows how to handle Muammar Gaddafi, unlike President Obama who’s leading the US into a “quagmire.” (Look out! The Q word!)
Ironsides Bolton would have gone in with boots on the ground and guns a-blazing the second day of the conflict.