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October 09, 2011 – Comments (10)

 The State Department assigned an important environmental impact study of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to a company with financial ties to the pipeline operator...

...The department allowed TransCanada, the company seeking permission to build the 1,700-mile pipeline from the oil sands of northern Alberta to the Gulf Coast in Texas, to solicit and screen bids for the environmental study. At TransCanada’s recommendation, the department hired Cardno Entrix, an environmental contractor based in Houston...

... It had previously worked on projects with TransCanada and describes the pipeline company as a “major client” in its marketing materials. - NY Times 

Climate Scientists have protested the pipeline and the commitment to burning tar sands oil because of the CO2 it would dispose of into the atmosphere. They were arrested in an effort to bring attention to their concerns. Other environmentalists joined them adding ther concerns about the history of accidents and spills from pipelines.

Best wishes,


10 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On October 09, 2011 at 12:30 PM, VExplorer (29.05) wrote:

NG is a solution for energy needs in US. Any pipelines, in general, are good as roads, bridges and onother infrastructure. It doesn't mean all these are not have a cost, but alternative is uglier.

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#2) On October 09, 2011 at 1:26 PM, wolfman225 (46.17) wrote:

Would these be the same people who protested the construction of the Alaskan pipeline back in the 70's & '80's, claiming it would devastate the populations of native caribou?  Only to have it turn out that the caribou population increased, a great benefit to the native Americans that depended on them for survival, and that herds of caribou actually congregated along the pipleline to take advantage of it's warmth in the arctic winter conditions?  The same warmth that was responsible in an increase in 1st year survivability of calves?

Just wondering.

I'd be more concerned with the appearance of impropriety in allowing the firm that stands to make millions (if not billions) from the project being allowed to hand pick the company that is going to perform the environmental study that could potentially kill the proposal.  What?  They couldn't find a relatively impartial third party--agreed to by both parties--- that was qualified to do the work?

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#3) On October 09, 2011 at 2:20 PM, BillyTG (29.43) wrote:

yes, obvious conflict of interest, but that's okay because they will act ethically, impartially, and are looking out for our best interests :/

wolfman225, never heard that before. Interesting.

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#4) On October 09, 2011 at 3:21 PM, devoish (78.10) wrote:


Tar sands oil is crude extracted from sand. It is not natural gas.


I am not sure why you are bringing that up.

The Impact on Caribou
One particular concern was to protect Alaskan wildlife. Conservationists had feared the worst for caribou herds. They believed the pipeline would disrupt the animals' migration routes. When the engineers designed the pipe, they added 554 elevated sections (ten feet high) so the animals could cross under. The engineers also buried the pipe in 23 locations so the caribou could cross over it. Again, reports of how the caribou fared are different. Oil industry experts say caribou populations have doubled, while some wildlife biologists say this could be due to long term factors like climate change.

Environmentalists say there is a leak every day from the trans alaska pipeline. The oil industry says it is one of their best. 

The largest single accident of oil from the pipe was the Exxon Valdez. Even if everything goes well with the pipe and there are no accidents, it is intended to dump millions of tons of additional CO2 into an already overheated atmosphere. Even if you believe that the current warming is from causes other than CO2, making warming worse is not making it better.

However the three of us who do not see eye to eye politically all recognise there is a conflict of interest here, similar to the conflict between investment banks and ratings agencys.

Now what?

Best wishes,


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#5) On October 09, 2011 at 5:30 PM, BillyTG (29.43) wrote:

However the three of us who do not see eye to eye politically all recognise there is a conflict of interest here, similar to the conflict between investment banks and ratings agencys.

Now what?

That's the question. What works? We've all heard the rare miracle stories, like Erin Brockovich, but those are so rare that they are worthy of movies because of the gargantuan effort to uncover wrongdoing and, without money, persuade politicians. Electing new leaders doesn't change anything because the election system is broken, to include the actual vote counting being rigged!  Affecting change as an insider is difficult because one cannot be promoted to levels of high power without becoming part of the corruption. Writing to your congressman will get you a nicely worded form letter. I don't know...if there is a particular congressman sympathetic to this issue, we could call him, and that might be the best shot. 

This (guaranteeing objective government contracting) is definitely another item affecting the 99%ers.  This is a problem that benefits an extremely small group of people at the expense of hundreds of millions. It is obviously wrong on its face. I'm pulling for the OWS crowd more every day and I think major civil unrest will be the only way to create change. How else can we expect a corrupted system to change?  Politicians literally fearing for their lives might be the only way to get them to legislate ethically.

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#6) On October 10, 2011 at 12:10 PM, VExplorer (29.05) wrote:


I know what is a tar sand oil and +/-'s of fractioning process. It is not changing my post: NG is a solution for energy needs. Anyoil will too expansive for it. Oil will used as raw for chemical industry (plastic production and so on). Just IMHO

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#7) On October 11, 2011 at 6:06 AM, wolfman225 (46.17) wrote:


I was simply pointing out that just because "Climate Scientists" are protesting something based on claims/predictions of future calamity, we shouldn't immediately annoint their viewpoint as infallible.  Also, I fail to see what their protest had to do with the basic theme of your post, which was the conflict of interest inherent in the DOE's decision.

As illustrated in your pull-quote, no one is denying the increase in the herds.  The quote also illustrates just how far corporations will go to accomodate reasonable environmental concerns.  Odd behavior, wouldn't you say, for some faceless greedy, evil entity whose only motivation is profit?

"Now what?"

Now, nothing.  Unless you can think of some way to force transparency on something that is fait accompli.  The only thing we can do is to monitor the progress of the study in an attempt to detect any manipulation of the results.  In the meanwhile, we can attempt to petition government (through our elected representatives) to more properly fulfill their oversight duties.  This is not to say that I automatically assume that there is a pre-ordained outcome to the study in favor of the project moving forward (although it's better than even money that the environmentalists will see it that way), but in these situations--as in all things involving the power of government--there needs to be an elimination of even the appearance of impropriety if there is to be any faith in the process.

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#8) On October 11, 2011 at 8:52 AM, devoish (78.10) wrote:


Fair enough. I do not believe you or at least most of us can afford the cost of adding CO2 to the atmosphere.


Infallible? no of course not. Better than Rush limbaugh, cetainly. Less self interest bias than the Koch brothers or XOM, also certainly. Climate scientists could get paid just as much Government money to do research that says the threat of climate change is that it cools the planet and we need to produce more CO2 into the atmosphere. But that is not what thye kearned and not what they say. But either way they could get paid just the same as they are now.

You brought up the caribou, as though environmentalist were wrong about the threat to their migration when in fact it was environmentalists that impacted preveting that threat. It was reasonable added costs, as you say, that protected the caribou's ability to migrate, but failed to acknowledge or possibly know that it was environmentalists that protected them. Instead your ignorance caused you to consider the environmentalists as having been wrong, and compared them to climate scientists of today to suggest that they are wrong.

But instead we now know that reasonable steps were taken at the urging of environmentalist and biologists top protect the caribou, just as climatologists are urging us to take the reasonable step of eliminating the practice of dumping CO2 into the atmosphere.

While in 1970 the scientists assessed a risk to caribou populations, which they mitigated. Now scientists are assessing a risk to American populations.

In 1970 the oil industry complained about the added cost of mitigating the risk to caribou which the oil industry said was overblown. Now the energy industry is complaining about the added costs of eliminating risks to Americans.

This was a very appropriate comparison that you brought into the convesation.

Putting spills aside, the intended result of this pipeline is to put CO2 into the atmosphere. CO2 which cimate scientists say is warming our planet and biologists say threatens our well being.

I find your comment about "faceless greedy etc" irrelevant to the subject matter and an emotional distraction.

Best wishes,



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#9) On October 11, 2011 at 9:37 AM, VExplorer (29.05) wrote:


Shutdown vulcanos and etc. if you want reduce CO2 ;) Can you explain me why you worry about it? Not about all these propaganda, but why YOU are worring? Why YOU are worring about warming on few degrees in YOUR area? Do you worry about GLOBE or aboutYOUR FAMILY? I've lived in few areas around the globe. No local issues related to warming. If people will shutdown global news (vulcanos they, probably, cannot), they will happier and healfier. :)

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#10) On October 27, 2011 at 8:38 AM, devoish (78.10) wrote:

I like getting my CO2 from volcanoes. I worry about getting CO2 from volcanoes and additional CO2 from burning fossil fuels. Kind of like the difference between a nice drink of water and drowning. 

I believe the "propoganda". I don't believe that scientists lie for grant money. I believe that scientists tell the truth for grant money. I grow food. Every grower on long island sees the effects of a locally warming climate in our fields. My thoughts can understand that we are local evidence of a bigger picture. Texas droughts are local evidence of a bigger picture, my family is there. Pakistan flooding is local evidence of a bigger picture. If I shutdown global news I would be ignorant. And while "ignorance is bliss" as the saying goes, it is still ignorance.


The condition of being uneducated, unaware, or uninformed.

The condition of being uneducated, unaware, or uninformed is unhealthy. Choosing to be that way is... I search for a word.

But you also asked why I worry, and this morning that answer escapes me. Maybe that is the wrong question to ask ourselves.

Best wishes,


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