Keystone pipeline: Mr President, we have an energy gap!

So the energy industry, with their collective oily hands deep up the asses of the nation’s political apparatus, are whining about delaying the Keystone pipeline. If you haven’t been keeping up, this is an oil pipe stretching from the Canada tar sand production region to the booming petroleum port of Louisiana. The whiners think we’re so stupid that we’re all supposed to believe creating a river of oil flowing through the lower 48 for rapid shipment offshore to Europe, Latin America, and Asia is all about serving US energy needs. Wednesday alone I witnessed a parade of mostly conservative politicians claiming oil mined in Canada sent to nations’ halfway around the world somehow counts as domestic energy production used by US consumers. In related news, I decree honey produced by Mexico for export offsets US honey-bee decline if it passes within ten miles of our coast or border on the way to Manilla …

Right now we ship a good chunk of our oil from Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar reservoir, we ship it all the way around the curve of the earth in artificial, self-propelled islands of pitch to refine, distribute, and burn in SUVs and homes. I fully realize ethnocentric Americans are not considered terrific at geography, but perhaps this is one case where even we can visualize the moving parts: If the idea is to get oil from a different foreign country to US gas stations and ease that Saudi dependency, it’s hard to think of a better place for the producing nation to be than sharing the longest border of any other country on earth with us, which also happens to completely peaceful and includes half the Great Lakes shoreline, just a hop and skip away from the multimedia transportation nexus used since cattle days to ship fresh meat by road, rail, river, and canal to population centers from sea to shining sea. “But the largest refineries are in east Texas and Louisiana!” True, but there are refineries near Chicago, and if those aren’t big enough, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that the pipeline is expensive enough to cover a new refinery or two in the Detroit region, or anywhere else, where a once skilled and now highly unemployed blue-collar labor force sits waiting with their thumbs up their asses for a decent, permanent job. They already make the domestic cars, might as well produce the gas that runs them. Why should the gulf get all those fume$?

It’s all such a load of baloney it’s hard to imagine anyone buys that US domestic energy gap crap, unless they’re being paid to pretend otherwise. This pipe is a delivery device for overseas oil transport to the highest international bidder. And add to that, the same people selling the energy gap baloney stick their fingers in their ears and sing away the climate change blues. Namely, that converting gigatons of carbon which took zillions of years to sequester out of the atmosphere one chloroplast at time, back into greenhouse gas form in a decade or two will have no effect when direct, recent measurements and proven models plainly demonstrate it is a near metaphysical certainty.

I really don’t get why energy companies don’t just tell the godamn truth. Because the truth is a pretty godamn persuasive argument: we have very few options. Our civilization runs on energy. No energy, no medicine, no food, hell no Winter strawberries. No sugar, no chocolate, no light; we would be hard pressed to grow enough food to keep half the population alive if we all go full Amish. Try going one week without hot water alone and let me know how that goes.

We are stuck with fossil fuels for a generation at least, even if we begin transitioning right now. That’s an honest argument, because it’s true, and we’re all involved.


  1. marcus says

    Can you say “fungible” boys and girls? Yes, I thought you could. The same thing goes for ANWR. People don’t realize (and for some reason no one tells them) that any oil produced there would likely go to China. At any rate, as you pointed out, it would go to the highest bidder on the world market. Oh, and we get to endanger one of the most magnificent natural ecologies left on Earth. Bonus!

  2. says

    I saw an interesting bill proposal a couple of years ago by a DK diarist where any oil produced or refined in the US would be exclusively for US consumption. Something like that could really wedge the GOP.

  3. rork says

    “with their thumbs up their asses”
    Blaming displaced workers. How sweet.

    More seriously, we might be a little shy of more pipelines going through Michigan or more oil being transported over our big lakes. Maybe it can be done safely, but we’ve had a bad experience or two lately. A comparatively small pipeline spill messed up the Kalamazoo river for example. Our economy is more dependent on our environmental quality than some other places, and costs of damage might be greater (our lake water cycles very slowly).

  4. Trebuchet says

    Perhaps we ought to limit petroleum exports to refined products only. At least that would generate some jobs. Or is that what they’re planning to do with the pipeline, refine it in LA and ship to China? Good thing Wikipedia’s back, I’ll have to look it up!

  5. says

    As a Canadian, it m akes even less sense. Why wouldn we put the refineries on the West Coast and sell the oil directly to China. That way we eliminate the middleman (US) and keep more of the profits here.

    I say this knowing full well that the oil companies are all multinationals and realy dont care about borders. However, increasing the number of workers is good for the country.

  6. marcus says

    @5 Trebuchet We tried to do that with lumber products in the northwest,(stopping whole log exports) the idea being we could save milling jobs and forests, great idea but they preferred to blame environmentalists trying to save the forest rather than the greedheads selling the forests at a discount.

Leave a Reply