First the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) was not authorized by President Obama because he and the Governor of Nebraska were worried about pipeline failure. I wonder if they considered how many pipelines are in operation today and how few problems they have caused. Over 2.4 millions of miles of underground pipelines in the U.S. carry natural gas and liquid petroleum. The majority of those miles are carrying natural gas; however, over 180,000 miles of pipeline move liquid petroleum. Below are two maps showing the major routes of these pipelines:
The “big Inch” and the ”little big inch” were put in during WWII—constructed in1942 and1943—when US oil tankers were being sunk on the trip from the Gulf Coast to the North East. The “big inch”, mostly a 24-inch diameter pipe carrying petroleum, traverses through Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The distance is 1340 miles and there are another 222 miles of secondary pipeline branching off of it. The little big inch is 1475 miles in length with 239 miles of secondary piping. And both pipelines are still in use.
The KXL’s proposed route in Nebraska was altered in a way that satisfied the Governor and he no longer opposes the pipeline.
President Obama admitted last fall that permitting the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) was political, not scientific. Obama was persuaded by Billionaires like Tom Steyer who according to the Washington Post: “Steyer has vowed to spend up to $100 million in 2014 to help elect Democrats who are committed to fighting global warming. And with an eye on playing a similar role in the 2016 presidential race, he has positioned himself as a potent new force in the growing world of big-money donors.” The Post added, “McKibben said he was impressed by Steyer’s views on opposing the Keystone pipeline, which was emerging as a difficult decision for the Obama administration“.
The Pipeline has been studied by the Feds for almost 6 years now. The State Department was asked to provide a report to the President regarding the advisability of approving the KXL They say it is not going to add any additional “pollution” (as CO2 is incorrectly called).
But the President is still looking for reasons to oppose the pipeline, as he does not want to alienate his environmental contributors. So now the EPA has jumped in saying that if the gasoline demand goes up because of lower cost crude oil, more of the KXL crude will be used to satisfy that demand. This is bogus on several levels. First, the incremental amount will not be significant in the overall world picture. And as you already know, saving the Americans money resulting from lower cost gasoline is not high on the President’s priority list. Secondly, Canada is going to move this crude. It makes sense to have it come to the US for many reasons. However if our government makes it clear we are not going to take this oil, the Canadians will pipe it to their West Coast and sell it to the Chinese who want to buy it. The CO2 is not a big issue to me, as I do not think man made global warming is a major threat, but to the committed warmer I say, the Chinese will use it if we don’t. So the net change in emitted CO2 is zero.
What’s going to happen to the US Congress’ bill to build the pipeline? The President will not want to loose the environmentalist’s money. For that reason he will forego the estimated 75,000 jobs (some for construction and some permanent) and the lower priced gasoline. He will veto the bill. At least that is my guess. It is not out of the realm of possibility that enough Democrats will be persuaded to override his veto. But I am not to optimistic about that happening.